Be sure to watch the 4-minute video. Transatomic's "molten salt reactor can be fueled by existing nuclear waste ... a resource to be tapped rather than a liability that needs to be disposed of .... Transatomic employs uranium dissolved in liquid salt, which does not require active cooling. And, if the power fails, the nuclear material drains passively away from the core, making the reactor 'walk-away safe.'"
"Molten salt enables Transatomic to draw 92% more energy from the uranium -- thus its ability to reuse (270,000 tons) of spent fuel rods and to significantly reduce the burden of radioactive waste on the planet (while generating enough energy for the next 72 years."
Energy Produced from Fusion
This is by far the most revolutionary and promising approach to clean alternative energy production.
Lockheed Martin appears to have made a breakthrough in this technology, will have a working prototype fusion reactor in one year, and should be able to go into production in a decade.
Another small up-and-coming company. "TAE Technologies is committed to creating a sustainable future for us all. We began our research into fusion energy nearly 20 years ago, and built our company with commercialization in mind. Our solution is clean, compact, affordable – and safe in every way. In short: Friendly Fusion."
Energy Produced Without Use of Biomass, Arable Land, or Fresh Water
Be sure to watch the informative videos.
Uses sunlight and waste carbon dioxide to produce clean diesel fuel that can be used directly in existing infrastructure.
The process does not require biomass, agricultural land, or fresh water for crops.
From their website: "At full-scale production the company projects delivery of up to 15,000 gallons of diesel per acre annually, at costs as low as $20 per barrel equivalent including subsidies." See the following video explaining their process:
Uses waste gases (i.e., gases that contain carbon monoxide and are waste products of steel manufacturing, oil refining, or chemical production) to produce fuel and chemical products. Microbes developed by LanzaTech turn the gas into ethanol or other chemicals.
Biomass: Conversion of inedible agricultural waste into ethanol
Typical approaches focus on development of microorganisms that simplify and accelerate the process. Several companies are actively and independently pursuing approaches to these fundamental chemical problems. Most are funded from private sources. Some are in the process of completing pilot plants. There is tremendous potential here and it is inevitable that one or more of these companies will succeed in scaling up and becoming commercially and economically viable.
Uses a proprietary microorganism (the Q Microbe) to simplify and streamline production of ethanol from a large variety of (non-food) biomass sources.
Has developed industrial microorganisms that produce enzymes to ferment sugars liberated from biomass into end-products. Their consolidated bioprocessing, CBP, is capable of producing high yields under industrial conditions.
Construction has begun on their cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada: Nevada Plant
Uses synthetic biology to develop catalysts that enable simple one-step fermentation processes of biomass to fatty alcohols, specialty ester, and biodiesel.
Power from Waste
Has developed a process with the goal of attempting to convert 2 trillion pounds of plastic waste sitting in US landfills into energy. "The process converts 70-80% of plastic into oil plus 10-15% into hydrocarbon gas." PK Clean uses (the latter) as fuel for its operations."
Uses solid oxide fuel cell technology to produce clean, reliable and affordable electricity. It is manufactured from inexpensive materials (a sand-like powder), converts fuel to electricity at about twice the level of efficiency of other technologies, uses renewable or fossil fuels, and can generate or store electricity.
Their standard "energy servers" provide 100 kilowatts of power (equivalent to the needs of 100 homes). The modular system allows starting small and adding more units as more power is needed.
Most importantly, this process bypasses the electricity transmission grid and the massive expenses of maintaining the grid plus the power losses in transmitting energy through the grid. Current customers include Walmart, Staples, AT&T, Coca Cola, Adobe, Google, FedEx, Bank of America, and many more.
Solid-state batteries currently under development have the potential to reduce battery sizes by 80%. Toyota Motors is exploring this technology (i.e., to replace the liquid electrolyte in today's electric vehicle batteries with solid state materials.
Makes batteries that do not use flammable liquids that are currently employed in electric car batteries. Their solid state batteries make batteries safer, reduce battery weight, and result in improvements in energy density. This company has ties with General Motors and is currently producing prototypes for testing by potential customers
See also the following article on this technology:
Can synthesize 3000 unique materials per week and test them as electrodes in functional cells. This capability to quickly develop and test potential materials for batteries should help speed up the discovery of new battery technologies. Wildcat has already identified a pair of materials that could increase battery energy density by 25%.
Involves a simple and reliable use of wave energy. As a platform bobs up and down, a vertical piston drives a generator by using magnets and not the less reliable hydraulic devices. Underwater cables transmit the power to the shore.
One disadvantage of wind energy is that wind turbines must be located in remote, windy areas. The resulting variable power requires very expensive collection, storage, and transmission systems to be connected to the energy grid. Wind turbines from Windside can operate independently of the power grid and supply energy in a decentralized and efficient way. Energy produced from the larger Windside turbines can also be fed into the power grid where it is easily accessible.
Based on 30 years of research, Windside produces double helix vane turbines that are efficient, durable (50 year life span), quiet (under 5 dB), and do not harm birds. Power is generated from wind speeds of 1.5 to 60 meters per second.
Footnote About the Absurdity of Corn-Based Ethanol
In considering the usefulness of various alternative sources of energy, it is important to consider how much energy is required to produce the end product. In the case of corn-based ethanol, for one unit of energy that is required to plant, grow, harvest, and process the corn, the energy yield of the resulting ethanol is 1.3 units; so the "return on energy invested" to produce ethanol from corn is 1.3. For comparison, the return on energy invested to produce ethanol from switchgrass is about 5 (meaning, we get out 5 times the energy that is invested to produce the switchgrass-based ethanol). It should be obvious, then, that corn-based ethanol would not be viable without government subsidies.
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