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Sent:                               Tuesday, October 28, 2014 8:39 PM


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 October 2014



With winter approaching, our magnetic EM Pulser is becoming more popular perhaps since more aches and pains happen with the changing seasons. We just had an emailed testimonial of a client lowering his chronically high heart rate to under 100 bpm with the EM Pulser strapped to his chest, which reminds me of EMpulse inventor Dr. Glen Gordon's experience. Dr. Gordon regarded it as a "first aid" for any injury that normally leads to inflammation. During November, you may obtain a 10% discount ($30) by mentioning "Future Energy eNews" in the Comment section when you place your order online .


Science magazine this month has a short news flash below about restoring the US to a global leader in innovation. We at IRI are dedicated to innovating in energy, propulsion, and bioenergetics without big budget subsidies. Soon, many of the proposed papers for our "Call for Abstracts" will be coming in for the next COFE7, which often represent the future of energy innovation. We plan to publish the best papers in a peer-reviewed proceedings.


Our first #1 story this month is a longer one discussing a surprising development toward the first "net-zero energy" district and city in the US. What an exciting article detailing the mix of renewable and combined-cycle turbines that are now being used to bring about this revolution. The important part of the article also addresses the effects that can be expected on the grid when Personal Power Plants become the norm for society. IRI certainly advocates and predicts this trend to be a growing and sustaining trend destined to replace a majority of the centralized electrical demand. What a relief there will be in our lifetime when the next catastrophe hits and very few people are without electrical power as a result of distributed power right in their neigborhood or homes.


Story #2 is pretty controversial, as compact nuclear fusion always is. Now both Lockheed Martin Skunk Works and Mr. Rossi are reporting developments in compact fusion. Also the competing impetus is the European Commission which just announced a $1 billion investment in nuclear fusion as well. Check out the short 4-minute video from Lockheed  on "Restarting the Atomic Age".


Story #3 promotes and explains the new startups that are using NO fuel and just waste heat, similar to what Lockheed mentions in its video, to generate electricity. This is a great way to avoid creating any more greenhouse gases than already are used in whatever process that Alphabet Energy attaches its thermoelectric generators to. Save companies millions recovering 40 to 80% of its wasted energy and generate a megawatt of electricity in the process. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.


Story #4 gives our readers just a sample of the many breakthroughs that bioenergetics has witnessed recently. This new microscope is a first to offer a glimpse of living cells in action (see 40-second video online) without interfering with any biological process.


Story #5 updates our space enthusiasts about the latest SpaceX development to recover and reuse their rockets by landing them on an ocean platform.  Of course we also look forward to the "Space Taxi" promised in a previous Future Energy eNews as well!


Does science suffer an 'innovation deficit'?

Jeffrey Mervis

U.S. science lobbyists coined the phrase "innovation deficit" last year to help make an economic argument for increasing federal funding of basic research, namely, that the current spending levels are too low for the United States to remain a global leader in innovation. Given political and budget realities, erasing this "deficit" anytime soon will take a minor miracle. But the phrase seems to be catching on, despite the fact that a one-time surge of funds could create its own problems. The chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee used it three times in her opening remarks at a hearing last spring on how to spur U.S. innovation by boosting science budgets. Lawmakers have also embraced its logic in pending legislation to pump up the budget of the National Institutes of Health.      -- Science


Onward and Upward,


Thomas Valone, PhD, PE.



















EM Pulser 

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1) The Rise of the Personal Power Plant 

By Jean Kumagai   IEEE  Spectrum  October 2014

Smart and agile power systems will let every home and business generate, store, and share electricity

At first glance, downtown Fort Collins, Colorado, looks like a sweet anachronism. Beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings beckon from leafy streets. A restored trolley car ding-dings its way along Mountain Avenue. It's safe and spotless, vibrant and unrushed.


And yet this quaint district is ground zero for one of the most ambitious energy agendas of any municipality in the United States. Fort Collins, population 150 000, is trying to do something that no other community of its size has ever done: transform its downtown into a net-zero-energy district, meaning it will consume no more energy in a given year than it generates. And the city as a whole is aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030, on the way to being carbon neutral by midcentury. To make all that happen, engineers there are preparing to aggressively deploy an array of advanced energy technologies, including combined-cycle gas turbines to replace aging coal-fired plants, as well as rooftop solar photovoltaics, community-supported solar gardens, wind turbines, thermal and electricity storage, microgrids, and energy-efficiency schemes.


It's an audacious plan. But for Fort Collins Utilities, the local electric company, the less daring options were unacceptable. Like utilities all over the world, it is grappling with the dissolution of the traditional regulated-monopoly model of electricity production, with its single, centralized decision maker. The costs of solar and wind electricity generation have fallen to the point that countless consumers in many countries now produce their own electricity, often (but not always) with the blessing of regulators and policymakers.


The question now is, how far do we want to go? In the coming decades, technology will let us radically decentralize the grid, enabling businesses, factories, campuses, and households to provide their own electricity for much of the day and most of the year. Solar energy, fuel cells, and wind turbines will all be cheaper than they are now. Power requirements will also be reduced, because heating, cooling, appliances, and lighting will all be more efficient. Advances in batteries and other forms of energy storage will make it easier to ride out the inevitable variations in solar and wind power and the reactive-power challenges that will arise. And smart grids, microgrids, and other technologies will knit these many microgenerators together in nimble networks that will let people sell excess energy and capacity while drawing from the main grid as needed.


Taken together, these advances will underpin a more sustainable energy future, in which nuclear and fossil fuels play a gradually declining role and the effects of pollution, greenhouse gases, and nuclear waste are reduced. But large-scale changes to the power system can take decades to put into place. So now is the time to envision what the grid should look like in 2030 and beyond.


Such a future won't happen-in Fort Collins or anywhere else-without overcoming significant challenges. These include not just technological but also political and regulatory issues. Today, every time a homeowner installs photovoltaic panels on the roof and begins spinning the household electricity meter backward, every time a plug-in hybrid owner decides to charge up the car batteries, and every time a new wind turbine starts to turn, it perturbs the grid. Though those individual perturbations may be slight, as they begin numbering in the hundreds of thousands or even millions, the strain on a grid not designed to handle them will become potentially disastrous.



More Beer, Fewer Watts: Solar panels at the New Belgium Brewing Co. in Fort Collins, Colo., supply 3 percent of the plant's electricity. The brewery is participating in the city's long-term plans to create a net-zero-energy downtown district and to become carbon neutral by midcentury.



The electricity industry is undergoing the same sort of fundamental change that has already transformed telecommunications and computing, says Clark Gellings, a fellow at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), in Palo Alto, Calif. Recall the heyday of the telephone landline, when a monopoly provided reliable service, with few bells and no whistles. Today, a multitude of telecom providers offer more wired and wireless options and services than most people, frankly, care to contemplate. Computers, similarly, used to mean giant mainframes accessed via remote terminals. But when CPUs and memory became cheap enough and powerful enough, people could own their own computers, access and exchange information via the Internet, and leverage the power of distributed computation in the cloud.


Gellings envisions an analogue for electricity that he calls the ElectriNet: a highly interconnected and interactive network of power systems that also combines telecommunications, the Internet, and e-commerce. (Gellings first unveiled the then-heretical notion of electricity customers managing their own usage-a concept he called "demand-side load management"-in the December 1981 issue of IEEE Spectrum.) Such a network will allow traditional utilities to intelligently connect with individual households, service providers, and as yet unforeseen electricity players, fostering the billions of daily electricity "transactions" that will take place between generators and consumers. Smart appliances in the home will be able to respond to changes in electricity prices automatically by, for instance, turning themselves off or on as prices rise or fall. The ElectriNet will also allow for home security, data and communication services, and the like. [Listen to a podcast interview withGellings on the future of the power grid.]


In addition, Gellings says, advanced sensors deployed throughout the network will let grid operators visualize the power system in real time, a key capability for detecting faults, physical attacks, and cyberattacks and for preventing or at least mitigating outages.

While distributed generation is already taking hold in many places, Gellings notes, "we have to move toward a truly integrated power system. That's a system that makes the best use of distributed and central resources-because central power generation is not going to go away, although it may change in shape and form." [For more on the undesirability of grid defection, see the sidebar, "The Slow Death of the Grid."]


A highly intelligent and agile network that can handle the myriad transactions taking place among hundreds of thousands or even millions of individual energy producers and consumers isn't just desirable, say experts. It has to happen, because the alternative would be grim.

Just ask the Germans. Generous subsidies, called feed-in tariffs, for renewable energy resulted in the country adding 30 gigawatts of solar and 30 gigawatts of wind power in just a few years. On a bright breezy day at noon,renewables can account for more than half of Germany's generated electricity.


"That sounds like a good thing, but to the utility, it looked like a huge negative load," notes Benjamin Kroposki, director of energy systems integration at theNational Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. When a large amount of renewable power is being generated, the output of conventional central power plants is correspondingly reduced to keep the system balanced. But if a local outage or a voltage spike or some other grid disturbance occurs, protective circuitry quickly shuts down the photovoltaics' inverters. (Inverters are semiconductor-based systems that convert the direct current from the solar cells to alternating current.) And that in turn can lead to cascading systemwide instabilities.


"If you lose 30 gigawatts in just 10 cycles"-two-tenths of a second, that is-"you can't ramp up conventional generators quickly enough to compensate," Kroposki notes. So the Germans had to spend the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars on smarter inverters and communication links that would allow the PV arrays to automatically ride through any disturbances rather than simply shut down.


Customers are paying dearly for those upgrades: Electricity rates in Germany have doubled since 2002, to about 40 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour. That's more than four times the price of electricity in Illinois. Many other countries are now learning from these experiences, Kroposki adds, "to make sure that solar and wind systems integrate with the grid in ways that help overall system stability."


A sizable Japanese experiment is taking such an integrated approach. At a site 30 minutes by train from central Tokyo, a real estate developer is turning an old golf course into a planned smart city called Kashiwanoha. Energy, water, and other public services for an eventual population of 26 000 are being intelligently managed at every scale, from individual households to businesses and factories to citywide networks.


The smart-city concept has been kicking around for a while. But it didn't really take hold in Japan until the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, says Akihiko Tobe, general manager of Hitachi's smart-city project division, which is furnishing the energy management systems for Kashiwanoha. "The earthquake changed everything," Tobe says. "Many cities suffered great damage, with power breakdowns and water shutdowns. In tall buildings, elderly people were trapped on high floors because the elevators stopped working."


And so Kashiwanoha's electricity system is designed to provide uninterrupted service to critical systems like elevators, water pumps, and hospitals in the event of an emergency. To do that, it relies on several battery storage sites as well as a microgrid, which facilitates the sharing of electricity and can operate in isolation of the main grid. A command center on the second floor of a hotel and apartment building oversees the microgrid and tracks exactly where electricity is being consumed and generated. During normal operation, customers are also encouraged to track their own energy usage through touch-screen monitors in their homes and businesses. Those who do an especially good job of reducing their consumption are awarded "eco points,"which they can exchange for goods and services at the local LaLaPort shopping center.


Eventually, says Tobe, more home automation will be added, like sensors that automatically turn off lights when the curtains are opened. Health-care monitoring will also be offered, to track things like how much exercise you get and how many calories you eat. People who move to Kashiwanoha realize that the city represents a break with the past, says Tobe. "Their mind-set is that they're establishing a new culture, and they're highly motivated to participate in making life better."


Assuming that forward-looking cities like Fort Collins and Kashiwanoha reach their energy goals, can that success be replicated? "A good electricity future will depend on every new technology you can think of," says EPRI's Gellings. "Energy storage, device efficiency, better ways to mine coal and extract natural gas, grid sensors, more advanced generation." Should any one of these technologies not progress in the way that experts now assume they will, it could throw a wrench in the works, he says. Regulators and policymakers will also need to be convinced to make the hefty investments in infrastructure that a smarter integrated grid will require.


Even if all these changes come to pass, the grid in 2064 will still look a lot like today's grid in some key ways. Big coal plants, for instance, will remain a large part of the energy mix. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's International Energy Outlook 2013, the United States,Australia, and many other countries will retire their aging coal plants, butother countries will continue to build new ones. China, already the world's leading coal user, will add about 530 gigawatts of coal-fired power capacity by 2040, the report projects. And so coal's share of electricity generation worldwide in 2040 will likely be just a few percentage points below what it was in 2010.


And once those new plants come on line, they'll be hard to budge. "This is a very inertial field," says Vaclav Smil, who's studied the slow pace of change in the power industry. "A single power plant costs like a billion dollars to build. Once you put it in place, you don't want to tear it out and start again. So innovation will happen mainly at the margins."


Innovation at the margins could still lead to profound changes in the future grid, if cities like Fort Collins and Kashiwanoha get it right. Fifty years from now, says Steve Catanach, manager of light and power at Fort Collins Utilities, the two coal-fired plants from which the city draws 80 percent of its electricity will no longer be active. Taking their place will be new combined-cycle gas turbines but also a larger share of distributed generation. These days, the utility is actively encouraging investments in wind and solar through a new feed-in tariff, which will let customers sell their electricity back to the grid at a guaranteed rate. Greater use of demand-response mechanisms will allow customers to curtail their usage during times of peak demand. And when energy storage becomes affordable, Catanach adds, "we'll use that to balance the variability of the renewables."


While some industry experts are wringing their hands over the looming "death spiral" for today's utilities, Catanach manages to sound optimistic about what's to come. "Fort Collins is a great place to live, and the lights are always on," he says. He's pretty sure that 50 years from now, people will still be able to say the same thing. 




Zero Energy Homes


Micropower's quiet Takeover


Is Wearable Tech the Next Frontier for Energy Saving




 back to table of contents 



2) Nuclear Fusion Energy in a Decade?

 October 15,2014


What if the nuclear reaction that heats the sun could be replicated to power cities on earth?


Lockheed Martin is betting that it can be done - and within a decade. The defense giant said Wednesday it is building a compact nuclear fusion reactor.


The key term here is "compact." Although nuclear fusion has been studied for decades, Lockheed is hoping to build a reactor small enough to fit on the back of a truck and ship around the globe.


"Many of the approaches [to nuclear fusion] right now have significant drawbacks," Tom McGuire, compact fusion lead for Lockheed's California-based "Skunk Works" team, said in a phone interview. Some of those drawbacks include instability associated with the reaction, he said, or scaling problems, which means the reactor needs to be very large in order for fusion to work.


"What's different about our physics is it's inherently small and stable," McGuire said. The Skunk Works Group's first step is proving that its model works, he said. Eventually, the company hopes that "instead of a construction project, we can make them in a factory," he said.


With the announcement, Lockheed joins a host of ongoing global efforts to study the potential of nuclear fusion. For example, the European Commission last week announced a $1 billion (850 million euro) initiative to develop nuclear fusion as an energy source by 2020.

Here's how nuclear fusion works: When two extremely hot atoms collide, their nuclei combine to form one, releasing massive amounts of energy. Unlike nuclear fission, which powers the world's reactors today, nuclear fusion does not release harmful radioactive material, making it a clean form of energy.


This Lockheed video explains how scientists want to harness the energy released in the fusion reaction, to potentially fuel airplanes or power cities: 

Lockheed Martin: Compact Fusion Research & Development

Lockheed Martin: Compact Fusion Research & Development


Why talk about the effort now?


"We've strategically chosen this time because of our technical progress and exposure to our patents pending," a Lockheed spokeswoman said in an e-mailed statement. "We are also looking for partners to work with us on the project, plus we think it is important for the public and decision makers to understand the real promise that compact fusion has for our nation and the world as a near-term solution to our energy needs."


Lockheed said it would look for partners in industry as well as the academic community, McGuire said. The team at Lockheed is made up of about 10 people, he said.


Lockheed Martin didn't say how much money it will invest in the project. But as with many defense contractors, the company has ramped up its investment in energy projects such as wind, solar and tidal energy over the last few years.


For the nuclear fusion project, the company hopes to take a cue from the venture capitalist world, McGuire said. That means the team will seek additional funding after successful technology demonstrations at every stage, he said.


Most recently, the company acquired a Massachusetts energy start-up that developed a low-cost rechargeable battery.

This post has been updated with additional comments from Skunk Works.




Follow up On Rossi.   


Lockheed Martin announces it's working on a compact fusion reactor

Lockheed Martin announces it's working on a compact fusion reactor

Nuclear Fusion By 2017!?!

Nuclear Fusion By 2017!?!





3) Industrial Size Generator that Runs on Waste Heat, Using No Fuel    

Kevin Bullis, MIT Technology Review, October 2014


Startup Alphabet Energy has its first product: what it says is the world's largest thermoelectric generator.



Power plants waste huge amounts of energy as heat-about 40 to 80 percent of the total in the fuel they burn. A new device could reduce that waste, cutting fuel consumption and carbon emissions by as much as 3 percent and saving companies millions of dollars. (Three percent might not seem like much, but for context, air travel accounts for 2 percent of worldwide carbon dioxide emissions.)


The generator makes use of a novel, highly efficient thermoelectric material discovered recently at the University of Michigan (see "Thermoelectric Material to Hit Market Later this Year"). Thermoelectric materials, which convert heat into electricity, have been around for decades, but they have always been too expensive to use outside extreme situations-in spacecraft, for example.


Matt Scullin, the CEO of Alphabet Energy, the startup that developed the new device, says connecting it to the exhaust pipe of a 1,000-kilowatt generator will yield enough electricity to save 52,500 liters of diesel fuel a year, for a reduction of about 2.5 percent. For smaller engines, the savings would be slightly higher, Scullin says.


The first customers will probably be oil, gas, and mining companies that use large generators to produce power in remote areas. The generator could save those companies millions in fuel, Scullin says. "There aren't many levers these companies can pull to reduce costs that much," he adds.


Ali Shakouri, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, says the cost savings sound plausible given the material being used, although he hasn't had a chance to evaluate the technology.

Alphabet Energy's system is modular, meaning it could be scaled up to make use of larger amounts of waste heat. The company is also developing another thermoelectric material, based on silicon nanowires, that could convert a higher percentage of the energy in waste heat to electricity.


Even improved thermoelectric materials, however, are unlikely to reduce fuel consumption by more than 5 or 10 percent. Other options for making use of waste heat include heating (and even cooling) nearby buildings in cities.




4) New Microscope Sees Bioenergetics 

By  Meghan Rosen, Science News  October 24 2014



A new microscope sweeps lattices of light over samples to give scientists sneak peeks inside living cells without hurting them.




Scientists have previously devised ways to glimpse the hidden machinery of cells, but spying the tiny nuts and bolts in action is tricky. Shining light on cells for too long can bleach their color and even kill them.

So 2014 chemistry Nobel Prize-winner Eric Betzig of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Va., and colleagues tweaked a technique to see cells' innards (SN Online: 10/8/14). Instead of shooting a focused beam of light at a developing embryo or a virus infecting a cell, the scientists spread the beam out into a grid.


Breaking up the beam dials down the light's intensity and protects cells,the researchers report in the Oct. 24 Science. Using the scope, the scientists watched as a cancer cell navigated through a sticky thicket of protein and as an immune cell (shown in orange) stretched out and glommed on to another cell (blue-green).



Cancer-cell squeeze | Science News

Cancer-cell squeeze | Science News

TIGHT FIT  A human leukemia cell (marked with a fluorescent green tag) squeezes through a spiny tangle of gel-like protein (orange) in a movie scientists made using a new microscopy technique. Credit: Betzig Lab/HHMI





5) Spacex Will Try Rocket Landing on Floating Ocean Platform 

Miriam Kramer,  October 24, 2014







The private spaceflight company SpaceX is hoping to bring a rocket back from space and land it on a giant, floating in the middle of the ocean, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Friday (Oct. 24).

The company is expecting to try to land the booster on the platform as part of their next launch to space. Musk explained that landing a reusable rocketon the floating platform - which measures about 300 feet long by 170 feet wide (91 by 52 meters) - is a big step toward bringing the company's Falcon 9 rocket back to dry land. Musk and SpaceX hope to develop reusable rocket systems and capsules in order to decrease the cost ofaccess to space, which could even make a colony on Mars a viable option at some point.


SpaceX has already successfully flown boost stages of the Falcon 9 back to Earth, landing in the ocean after delivering various payloads to space, but the company has not attempted to land the rocket back on a floating platform before. According to publicly released schedules, SpaceX's next Falcon 9 launch is currently scheduled for December, when the California-based company is expected to launch its fifth official robotic cargo mission for NASA to the  Space Station using the Dragon spacecraft. [SpaceX Reusable Rocket Re-entry Caught by Chase Plane (Video)]


"We're going to try to land on [the floating landing platform] on the next flight," Musk said today  during a discussion here at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AeroAstro 100 conference. "If we land on that flight, I think we'll be able to re-fly that booster."


Musk doesn't necessarily think that this first attempt will be , however. The landing platform will be floating in the Atlantic Ocean with engines that can be used to keep it in position; however, it could still be "tricky" to land on top of it, Musk said.


Musk expects that SpaceX has about a 50 percent or less chance of succeeding in landing on the next flyback, but future launches and landing could have more chance of success.

"There are a lot of launches that will occur over the next year," Musk said. "I think it's quite likely that one of those , we'll be able to land and re-fly, so I think we're quite close."


In July, SpaceX successfully brought its Falcon 9 booster in for a soft landing in the ocean after launching to space, but they weren't able to recover the rocket stage. After landing in the Atlantic, the Falcon 9 toppled over as planned, but, according to a Twitter post from Musk at the time, the boost stage broke apart shortly after the soft landing. Other than that, the July test appeared to go as planned.




Flying Like George Jetson




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