[ExI] Energy options

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Sun Mar 13 15:44:57 UTC 2011

Hydrogen balloons would be cheaper but are they not dangerous? I
thought we always use helium (that I know is expensive and
increasingly rarer).

On Sun, Mar 13, 2011 at 10:15 AM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> Re the business of powering the world with nuclear reactors, there may
> be better and less expensive ideas.
> It's easy to make an engineering/economic case for low cost space
> based solar power *if* you have a way to get the cost into space down
> to around $100/kg (to GEO).
> That takes raising the exhaust velocity to~ 9 km/sec and the only way
> we know to do that is beamed energy.  It's not going to happen soon,
> but even Fox news has covered beamed energy proposals recently.
> First pass estimate ~$100 B to build the spacecraft and lasers to power them.
> After the day-night problem (except for SBSP) the big problem with
> solar is that it is dilute and often obscured by clouds.  So you need
> to spread out huge areas to capture it.
> StratoSolar is a proposal to take weightless (floated by hydrogen)
> collectors up above the clouds and most of the atmosphere.  I have
> been working on it for over a year.  It's a very difficult and wide
> ranging engineering problem, but there are some rather interesting
> concepts.  For example, a 150 year old technology allows the plants to
> run full time for an incremental cost of around 1/8 of a cent per kWh.
> To build a full scale unit (1 GW) would take on the order of 1 percent
> of the estimate to build the transport infrastructure to do SBSP.
> But even after a year and a dozen spread sheets I am not sure makes
> sense to build one.
> Keith
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