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I always wonder whether the next step will show they really need an additional $40 billion dollars and 20 years to actually make a commercial fusion reactor in line with the conventional ITER approach. Still TAE, Commonwealth Fusion, General Fusion and Helion all have ball-park 1$ billion dollar funding scenarios and 10 year time-lines. Helion is the most optimistic with a goal of net-electricity production with their 2024 reactor. From this far away it is really hard to know how realistic the cost and time-lines of these start-ups except the observation that they defy conventional wisom.
Very interesting analysis. Clearly "proved reserves" are a function of how much investment is needed to make them. "Proved reserves" are an economic construct not a geological one.
Agreed E-P. It's great to see Intel investing in both Physical capital and in human expertise in the USA. I expect there are some government insentives at work here too.
mahonj: "Any you can be sure that if you try to do it, every treehugger in a hundred km radius will try to stop it by finding a sub-species of snail or butterfly to protect." You are absolutely right. There is a very good project here in Australia to significantly expand our pump-hydro capacity, called Snowy 2.0. It provides 2 GW of instantaneous power and several hundred GWHr of storage. It would also significantly expand the power connectivity between the two largest States in Australia. I follow a lot of renewable energy sites here and you would think this great proposal was invented by the devil himself! Anyway the project will likely go ahead over the moans of objectors who otherwise want to save the earth.
Hooray! Finally we're seeing advanced chemistries go into commercial production. It will be interesting to see if they can translate their theoretically better chemistry into a commercially viable product.
Harvey, I believe most of the costs are capital purchases to buy the equipment and expertise to build automated factories. Low cost, unskilled labour is definitely not needed.
Very interesting indeed. One weeks worth of water from fracking gives enough lithium for 200 EVs. Given that 1 barrel/day of crude oil supports about 7.5 cars and assuming the well supplies 1000 barrels/day this implies the well supports 7500 cars. So over the course of a year the well supplies enough lithium to make 10,000 EV's, more than replacing the gasoline cars that need the oil. So fracking could turnout to be a very sustainable form of mining!
I wonder if the US Navy are interested in this? They have all these nuclear powered aircraft carriers and need fuel for their planes. If this technology works at scale they may not need support tankers.
Davemart they've used their insane stock price to generate and spend cash like crazy to actually build > 500,000 BEV's/year. No other company is within an order of magnitude of that. Succeed or fail there's no doubt in my mind they've been influential.
Some but not that much (maybe 3-4 cents out of the 30 cents). It's mostly rent-seekers taking advantage of poor government market models. Self generation and local storage is about the only way consumers can push back against them.
Actually, retail electricity prices in Australia are so high (> 30 cents/KWhr) that PV+battery storage makes financial sense in many parts of the country. 6 KW PV + Powerwall 2 costs around $16K fully installed. The battery system is 10K$ of that. Although the payback is marginal, many people are so sick of the electricity retailers they're already willing to pay. A further 30% reduction in a 14 KWhr battery would see large scale adoption in the home storage market and even greater PV penetration. Over 15% of households have some PV installed already.
Herman, I was really worried about peak oil between 2006 and 2010. Now I only worry about global warming. There are more than enough fossil fuels to triple or quadruple our current atmospheric CO2 concentration.I suspect the price of oil will drop in the 2020's as fuel efficiencies continuously improve. Hopefully petroleum will go the way of whale oil as its uses are replaced with better technology.
Dr. Strange, actually I've been a bono-fide member of the open-source community since 1994. I run Linux on all my servers and use it on laptops and PC's where-ever possible. However many of the most useful PC programs don't have a Linux version. Linux on the PC could have been like Android and now AGL. Free and a first class citizen of as a target for 3rd part developers. Oh well, at least it's a much smaller target for hackers and malware authors :-)
This is what the Personal Computer Industry should have done! Congratulations to the AGL members. This will enable rapid advances for in-car computer systems.
Roger: The assumed utilization rate is 70%. Most European wind sites are lucky to get 25%. The best middle-East solar sites get 30% for their sub-3 cent per KWHr production. So that doubles the cost of the renewable generated H2. I think the economics would stack up in places like Texas, Quebec and the Pacific-NorthWest where electricity prices are stably low for long periods of time.
Roger, you neglect the capital cost of the electrolyser. This kills the economics of renewable generated H2. This is particularly the case since you can't run the electrolyser 24/7 because of the intermittent electricity source. On the hand, interest on the capital accumulates all the time. On the other hand the economics of thermally enhanced H2 production using high temperature nuclear reactors looks good, except for the problem of proving the long term safety of the new class of reactors needed (and their capital cost!). Nothing is easy.
The USA consumes around 140 billion gallons of gasoline each year. This 19 Billion gallons is getting to be an interesting number. At 6% compound growth, biofuels will amount to around 30% of liquid fuel consumption by 2030. In combination with increased fuel economy standards and EV take-up, the USA could well be on a steep downward trajectory in liquid fossil-fuel consumption by 2030.
This is quite impressive. Tesla are now a 100,000 cars per year company with ~$10 Billion/year in revenue. This is not insignificant. With this track record, a further factor 2-5 increase in capacity with the release of the model 3 seems not impossible.
Actually, I think this is seriously encouraging. They have a genuinely new chemistry Li-S, with a real product targeting a genuinely interesting energy density of 300 Wh/Kg. The ceiling on this technology is much higher than 300 Wh/Kg. This is a real company to watch.
Thanks for the link Nick Lyons BTW its: I'll check them out in detail. Another very interesting company developing Molten Salt technology is TransAtomic It looks like transatomic biggest issue is corrosion from their LiF salt coolant. It's one of the big issues listed in the ARPA-E request for information.
Henrik, thanks for the numbers on the ratio of input cost of raw Lithium compared to the cost of the batteries made by them. BTW I used to be worried about "Peak-Oil" but I don't anymore. Compared to that, Lithium is no concern whatsoever. It's not like it's consumed. It can be endlessly recycled.
This article is a good example of why Biofuels cannot be the main energy source of propulsion for travel. British Columbia has probably the world's greatest ratio of forests to people. Yet even it's forests are projected to only meet 10% of the Provinces needs via forest waste. To get a larger share they'd have to use whole trees. So in B.C. its a choice between wood or fuel...
Havey, your statement is just not true. If it was, people would be investing like crazy in it and making money as they undercut the fossil fuel/nuke companies. Here we read about new advances in technology on a weekly basis with very few, (actually none so far) who actually get to market their factor 2 - 10 improvements. That said, I think there is a good chance Tesla will actually succeed at making batteries good enough to get a non-trivial fraction (> 10%) of home PV's generating electricity without government subsidies. My personal hope is that numerous molten-salt nuclear reactor concepts get a good chance of actually building working technology with funds like this. For example if the vision of is full-filled the energy problems of humans will be substantially changed. Their technology is truly scalable and sustainable into the very long term (> 10^6 years on Earth). Likely needs a few billion dollars though and so far they've received about 4 million.
I used to be a believer in "Peak Oil" where resource constraints will push the price of Oil to a point where the world economy could no longer grow. I no longer think this will happen. Now I think a substantial increase in Oil price will push a greater fraction of the world's auto transport to various types of EV's at a higher rate than would otherwise occur. There is no doubt at all that there is more than enough lithium to supply the EV's, especially since it can all be recycled at the end of battery life.
Kalendjay, sd, Lets hope the private sector comes through... Burns nuclear waste or runs through all the Uranium inventory starting from 1.8% U235 enrichment. If they pull it off its CO2-free Energy forever and our next challenge will be how to regulate the waste-heat from 9 billion humans living "Western" lifestyles.. I haven't kept track of all the various Molten-salt reactor proposals around the world. I guess it's close to a dozen, some of them with very large state funding (like China). I think there's reasonable chance of one them coming though. Meanwhile better PV's means more demand for high performance batteries which we need for transportation. Here in Australia its now obvious that we need batteries to continue to scale PV. Utilities now buy electricity back at genuine wholesale prices (4 cents per KWHr) so people want to use their solar power to reduce their purchases of retail electricity (which often costs over 30 cents per KWHr). Hence, batteries! There's plenty of room for good ideas in different technologies.