Sunday, February 7, 2016

Energy: the challenge of new technologies – Counterpoint

By Jean-Pierre Riou

The ad remained discreet, at COP 21, the Tokamak Energy British firm had announced last December, his hope before reaching 5 years Holy Grail that is to artificially reproduce the sun’s energy and provide electricity to the network before 2030. Already in May, scientists from the University of Washington, unveiled the configuration reactor “Dynomak” supposed to be smaller, cheaper and more effective than the ITER Tokamak global project, developed at Cadarache. Just after Lockheed Martin had sparked disbelief by announcing its planes to nuclear fusion. Even technology still considered science fiction, such as cold fusion, now appear the target of huge investments. While Bill Gates spends heavily in its reactor project 4th Terra Power generation.

In late December, the Chicago Tribune noted, indeed, that this energy revolution now seemed to be promised by private companies. And reported that the Secretary-General of the UN, Ban Ki Moon, would have said at the Cop 21:

“The fusion research has a reputation of requiring time, the money and personnel in huge quantities while producing a lot of hype and not much progress in the way of actual merger. This reputation has been earned many times. “

It is actually surprising that not a word has evoked the world premiere of German stellarator success on December 10 when even this large mass of low-carbon energy. This success of the Max Planck Institute have been permitted by the incredible progress of upercalculateurs.

According to Hartmut Neven, head of the Quantum Artificial Intelligence branch at Google “is a D-Wave Machine done in a second would take 10,000 years to a conventional computer. “
now its applications open up unimaginable prospects yesterday in all areas.

The energy is no exception, despite the bureaucratic framework of commitments European who watches religiously adhere to the commitments from the last century. To meet its commitments, France heavily subsidizes a German skills, often built by the Chinese, for a production which will intermittently main consequence the collapse of the jewel industry in what was French EDF, while France is one of the largest exporters in the world of electricity it sells at a loss!

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But Germany wakes Angela Merkel has put the spotlight on the stellarator Wendelstein 7-X, in inaugurating this February 3.

the Huffington Post article does also not mention that this is an opportunity for a breakthrough since 10 December as the stellarator has just produced its 1 ° hydrogen carrying the plasma at 80 million degrees for a quarter of a second.

now that hydrogen plasma for 102 seconds, however, China has taken a slight lead in this quest Grail.

the exponential progress of technology are not provided to the liking of everyone. Nor indeed necessarily desirable. But it is difficult to imagine that the apostles of decay, as they are estimable, can reverse this trend that the doctrinaire affecting disapproval but whose stake wonderful promises now crystallized private investment.

Can we honestly assume that the field of energy will be an exception to the revolutions permitted by technology and will accommodate long intermittency of production gigantic windmills imposed by our European commitments, or promised to the industrial sector

At the same time, do not promote their “renewable energy” now would be a sure political suicide. The health scandal concerning their effects on the health of residents will not fail, however, to accompany their announcement disgrace. That of their responsibility for the crisis of the European electricity system and their environmental killing also.

And to govern is to foresee.


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