Nuclear Fusion Reaction?

Nuclear Fission Reaction?

Anti-Matter Matter Collision?

Hydrogen Fuel Cells?

Magnetic Perpetual Motion Generators?

Fossil Fuels?



Solar Energy?

Wind Energy?

Biomass Combustion?

Tidal Power?

Any Other Power Source?



Argue For Your Favorite.

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Replies to This Discussion

That's right. The only true Perpetual Motion Generators use butter and cats.
My favorite take on that paradox is that the cat-toast combination simply does not fall. Adding butter or scraping some off adjusts lift. For directionality, you create a ring of white shirts around the cat-toast ship, then attach to the ship a jar of spaghetti sauce with a small opening. Aim the opening in the direction you want to go. As spaghetti sauce is attracted to the white shirts, the pull steers the ship.
so mabye not perpetual, but a permanent magnet would theoretically get 400-500 years before losing its charge.
Nuclear Fusion: if we can get it working it will be a great boon. However, we do have limited amounts of heavy hydrogen down here on Earth, and I have yet to see what might be the effects of pulling all the heavy hydrogen out of the world's oceans. Heavy water has a different absorption spectrum than conventional water, so it might change how much and what kind of light penetrates the depths. Probably not significantly, but I'd like to know that first.

Fission: Currently useful if we can find a place to put the waste. France has shown it to be damn safe too.

Anti-matter: really not a source of energy at all currently. More like a super-high yield battery. It takes way too much effort to make anti-matter.

Hydrogen fuel cells: again, a battery not an energy source. It could be useful for small and medium sized electronics, but I think fancy batteries like lithium air might beat it out.

Perpetual motion generators: I think physics itself will stop this unless we can find a way to capture something crazy like zero-point energy.

Fossil fuels: great energy source until it runs out. The CO2 is of course the huge concern, along with dealing with the nations that have access to the reserves.

Geothermal: great in certain areas, useless in others. We should use it everywhere that is feasible. There is some worry about causing earthquakes, but I find that dubious.

Hydroelectric: every damn we have should be making electricity. In the end though, this can only make a relatively small amount of power.

Solar: again, everywhere it is workable, we should do it. The deserts could power everyone if we are willing to invest.

Wind: where applicable, it is awesome. We should see them offshore instead of oil rigs. That would solve a LOT of problems.

Biomass: if we can find a way to make artificial fossil fuels or alcohol from waste biomass it could be useful, but we shouldn't depend on our farmland for our power unless we want to be hungry.

Tidal: possibly useful, but I'm worried about disrupting ecologies.

I'd say we should be looking at nuclear fusion and solar for long term, and solar, wind, hydroelectric, fission and fossil fuels for the short term.
Concentrated Solar collectors are also a proven technology. As the heat produced is vary high they have the advantage of being able to store energy in the form of molten salts. They are currently being used in California. (molten salt storage could also be used to store excess wind power)
Geothermal energy is more available than one would think - it's a matter of depth and cost of exploiting the source.
It's also necessary to develop batteries that are not dependent on lithium as the supply is limited and the major deposits are in unstable and/or unfriendly nations (Afghanistan and Boliva)
There will never be a fusion reactor that really works.

Really? The stars seem to get by just fine. =P Seriously though, I'm all for being realistic, but I know of no scientific viewpoint that would support that...could you enlighten us?

Biomass - no (what's the point... we might as well burn coal as use biomass)

Biomass is not equivalent to coal. Burning biomass would create CO2 for sure, but the next round of producing biomass would remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The hurdle is fertilizer.
We will burn coal for the next 200 years and heat the earth very nicely.
John, I'm fully aware of your position on AGW and apparently no argument has been sufficient to sway you. So, putting aside the warming issue, I'm equally concerned that we are doing incredible damage to our environment in the extraction methods - Mountain top removal, and the ever growing disaster in the Gulf for two. And we are wasting a fortune in a none renewable resource that could very well have important value in the future for things other burning it up in an SUV to go out for a quart of milk. Currently a significant percent of oil is used for things other than fuel.
On the TV show Planet Mechanics there was a successful electricity generator that used wave action making air go up and down within a large tube. The air movement turned a turbine which could spin in either direction, so energy was generated by both the rise and fall of waves. the large tube was simply attached to the side of a pier. Anybody have a video link?

Biomass- there are various ways to use it, and some of them are indeed much cleaner than coal.
Okay, WHO repealed the Law of Conservation of Energy?!?
How about (almost) all of them! It is pretty clear (to me) that until we move towards more decentralized and local generation and distribution of power, we will remain beholden to whoever/whatever decides how, where, to whom, and at what environmental, economic, and moral cost that power will be generated and supplied. There may be a need, at least for now, for large centralized power generation, but the more diversity of power sources the better.
Every river of any size in the US has high concentrations of Mercury due to the use of coal as our primary fuel source for electricity. It could be cleaned up and the most of the Mercury removed but because the energy companies decide our nation's energy policy we won't make them do it, even though after the initial startup cost, it would reduce transportation cost and be have a long term positive ROI.

For what we've wasted on a tragic and useless war against Iraq we could have a hydrogen infrastructure in place. Yes, hydrogen is "just a battery", but if we used tidal power for electricity to create hydrogen from ocean water then hydrogen is a very clean and efficient "battery".

Wind power is good for local areas. Again the storage and transmission of that power from where it is produced to where it is used is a problem. Hydrogen is an efficient transmission method if the power source is remote but near water.
Again the storage and transmission of that power from where it is produced to where it is used is a problem

Which is why we need to rebuild our electrical distribution system into a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) system. Then we can transmit power from Nevada solar arrays or wind farms in Wyoming to the East coast with minimal transmission loss. And, we can balance demands and surpluses throughout the country.


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