[ExI] Wash post comment

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Tue May 8 13:39:45 UTC 2012

On Tue, May 8, 2012 at 6:34 AM, Eugen Leitl <eugen at leitl.org> wrote:
> On Tue, May 08, 2012 at 01:29:20PM +0100, BillK wrote:
>> The main problem I see is that it is a sink hole for money for many
>> years with no return until successful completion.
> I see no possibility at all for public funding. We're
> already firefighting on too many fronts. Keith's best
> chance would be a pitch with people like Thiel, Bezos et al.

Maybe Gates... if you can make a great pitch.

> If you have 10 gigabucks, I would spend it on renewable
> energy and resource base.

The thing that I can't get past is that if it is easy enough to do in
space, it's even easier to do on the ground. Apparently Kleiner
Perkins (VCs) agrees with me. They are funding Primus Power and Aquion
Energy, both of whom are designing and building extremely large
battery systems. These battery systems (and a few more years of cost
cutting) are the primary thing standing between earth based solar and
profitability. Aquion Energy's battery uses sodium and water, no rare
earth materials, which is particularly exciting. According to Bill
Joy, they should be able to store and retrieve a kilowatt-hour for
about 1 cent when they are done.


Coal plants may be maintained as emergency backup, but not run on a
normal basis.

With massive electricity storage soon becoming a solved problem, I see
absolutely no reason to go to space to get solar energy. The
technical, political and economic challenges of space seem far larger
to me than the technical, political, ecological and economic
challenges of earth based solar with building sized batteries. Just my
opinion, mind you, but having lived off the grid for a few years
myself, there are difficulties inherent in living 20 miles from the
nearest Walmart. Multiply for outer space.

I appreciate that you are passionate about this Keith, but have you
run the numbers for ground based solar lately? I think it has gotten
way more competitive, especially with some of the new technologies
that are just around the corner. You can't say you don't have to
develop new technologies to do space too... perhaps even more


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