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Switch to Forum Live View Alternative Fuel Question for Eadler
6 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 4:10PM #1
Whisperingal
Posts: 25,009
Eadler--hi--I have a question for you--for anyone who has shown an interest in alternative fuels.

Richard Branson was on "Charlie Rose" last night (February 12.2008) and he mentioned a fuel that is on the Moon that a relatively small amount of could fuel the US for one year.

It sounded something like "Erm"--that was all I heard.(I was walking out of the room at the time.)

Are you familiar with this fuel? I'd never heard of any fuel being present on the Moon.


Thanks in advance for any info on this.
WGal

A video of the interview (the comment comes in the last 5 or so minutes of the interview) can be seen at

www.charlierose.com
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 5:57PM #2
eadler
Posts: 4,449
didn't get to hear the Charlie Rose program because the sound on my computer is not working.
I don't think we will be importing  fuel in tankers from the moon ever.
The only thing I know about Branson's alternative fuel is it is made from cellulosic ethanol derived from plant waste:
http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-138819756.html
That is an environmentally friendly source, unlike corn and soy.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 6:01PM #3
Whisperingal
Posts: 25,009
He did talk about that a bit--about the differences between that and corn sources.

Also he spoke about using sugar as a fuel source?

About how America should import sugar from Brazil and Africa--how that would help those areas of the world and also help us with our fuel sources.

He's an interesting guy with a lot of intersting ideas.

Thanks so much for your reply. I'm going to try to do more research on this too.

WGal
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 6:04PM #4
nnsecu
Posts: 1,449
I did not see the interview but from what you have explained it sounds like he was talking about Helium 3.  This is an old articale from Space.com but i think it may help you out.

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/h … 00630.html
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 6:08PM #5
johndavid23
Posts: 4,324
yes, the helium 3 isotope is predicted to be abundant on the moon.
The Chinese and Russians also want it, not to mention everyone else when they hear about it.
A basketball sized reactor yields a continuous millawatt of energy. See:

http://www.wired.com/science/space/news/2006/12/72276
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 6:12PM #6
Whisperingal
Posts: 25,009
From nnsecu's source--

"Scientists estimate there are about1 million tons of helium 3 on the moon, enough to power the world for thousands of years.

The equivalent of a single space shuttle load or roughly 25 tonscould supply the entire United States' energy needs for a year, accordingto Apollo17 astronaut and FTI researcher Harrison Schmitt"


That's what Branson said.



From JD's source--

"Helium-3 is considered a safe, environmentally friendly fuel candidate for these generators, and while it is scarce on Earth it is plentiful on the moon.

As a result, scientists have begun to consider the practicality of mining lunar Helium-3 as a replacement for fossil fuels.

"After four-and-half-billion years, there should be large amounts of helium-3 on the moon," said Gerald Kulcinski, a professor who leads the Fusion Technology Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison."



It's an interesting idea.

WGal

thanks to both nnsecu and JD for sources!
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 13, 2008 - 7:16PM #7
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,219
This is a nuclear fusion fuel.

As the United States is reducing its space funding, you could ask the Chinese to get it for you.

The United States unfortunately has dropped out of serious nuclear fusion research. You had better ask the French to try out the fuel in their new semi-commercial fusion reactor.
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 17, 2008 - 12:06AM #8
eadler
Posts: 4,449
[QUOTE=Whisperingal;286855]From nnsecu's source--

"Scientists estimate there are about1 million tons of helium 3 on the moon, enough to power the world for thousands of years.

The equivalent of a single space shuttle load or roughly 25 tonscould supply the entire United States' energy needs for a year, accordingto Apollo17 astronaut and FTI researcher Harrison Schmitt"


That's what Branson said.



From JD's source--

"Helium-3 is considered a safe, environmentally friendly fuel candidate for these generators, and while it is scarce on Earth it is plentiful on the moon.

As a result, scientists have begun to consider the practicality of mining lunar Helium-3 as a replacement for fossil fuels.

"After four-and-half-billion years, there should be large amounts of helium-3 on the moon," said Gerald Kulcinski, a professor who leads the Fusion Technology Institute at the University of Wisconsin at Madison."



It's an interesting idea.

WGal

thanks to both nnsecu and JD for sources![/QUOTE]

An interesting idea, but a long way off, if it ever materializes. In the same link the skeptics say:

"Economically unfeasible

Indeed for now, the economics of extractingand transporting helium 3 from the moon are also problematic. Even if scientistssolved the physics of helium 3 fusion, "it would be economically unfeasible,"asserted Jim Benson, chairman of SpaceDev in Poway, California, which strivesto be one of the first commercial space-exploration companies. "UnlessI'm mistaken, you'd have to strip-mine large surfaces of the moon."

While it's true that to produce roughly70 tons of helium 3, for example, a million tons of lunar soil would needto be heated to 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit (800 degrees Celsius) to liberatethe gas, proponents say lunar strip mining is not the goal. "There's enoughin the Mare Tranquillitatis alone to last for several hundred years," Schmittsaid. The moon would be a stepping stone to other helium 3-rich sources,such as the atmospheres of Saturn and Uranus.

Benson agreed that finding fuel sourcesin space is the way to go. But for him, H2O and not helium 3 is the idealfuel source. His personal goal is to create gas stations in space by miningasteroids for water. The water can be electrolyzed into hydrogen or oxygenfuel or used straight as a propellant by superheating with solar arrays."Water is more practical and believable in the short run," he said.

But proponents believe only helium3 can pay its own way.

"Water just isn't that valuable," Schmittsaid. Besides the helium, a mining process would produce water and oxygenas by-products, he says. '
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6 years ago  ::  Feb 17, 2008 - 4:47AM #9
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,219
How do you propose freeing space from conflict?

[QUOTE]space borne weapons are designed to jam, sabotage, and outright destroy enemy satellites[/QUOTE]~Wikipedia~
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