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Fusion Breakthrough for all these heat pumps and EV's?

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  • CLamb
    CLamb Member Posts: 290
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    It's a breakthrough--not something ready for production. It has to go from science to engineering to bureaucratic approval to production and market acceptance.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,899
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    100% support nuclear if it can compete. Will be interesting to see the timeline to market as solar/wind continue to steamroll.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,477
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    I thought that 2 University of Utah scientists already developed a Fusion reactor??? Maybe not.
    I say stick with a proven technology, a Fission reactor. A Fission reactor in every home, I say.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,544
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    I'm not sure I'd describe it as a breakthrough as much as I'd describe it as a major milestone achieved. The science of fusion power is actually very well understood. The difficulty has been in getting the engineering -- not the science -- to figure out how to get positive power output from controlled fusion, which is what this is all about. Granted, at this point the efficiency is really horrible -- but for the first time it is positive. If anything even approaching the funding and effort now going into solar and wind and the like is given to it, practical applications may be available remarkably quickly -- and when that happens, we will see that almost all of the current fads in renewable energy really are misleading dead ends.

    Whether that kind of effort and funding can be found is a largely political matter, and I'm not going there on The Wall!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    GGross
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,899
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    It'll come down to dollars and cents. Right now, wind and solar have the edge. We'll see!
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,401
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    @Jamie Hall I'll agree that wind maybe a dead end in the face of fusion power, but solar is nothing but collection of the energy output of the fusion reactor already burning in the sky. Why not harness that power on surfaces that it would already be wasted such as roofs? 

    It's now December, with how cloudy it's been the panels on my house will produce anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of the energy usage of my house for the next two months. But I'm still ahead for the year by over 4mwh's. And almost 15mwh's for the year. That is 15mwh's that didn't need to be produced somewhere else. 
    CLambronbugg
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,544
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    Partial agreement, @Jakek . But only partial. First, so long as solar panels are placed on otherwise unproductive places, such as rooves and parking lots, fine. When they are placed on agricultural or forest land or other "waste" spaces, no. And then there is the minor problem of the resources to build the panels and the batteries to make them even vaguely useful at grid scale. Huge environmental impacts there. And then you have to get rid of them when they are done -- 20 years or so.

    Hmm... not a fan.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    CLamb
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,353
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    Maybe we will see more of the DC super grids.
    The the bigger challenge link seems to be moving the energy around, modulating efficiently to demands. The grid.

    https://opusenergy.com/blog/the-european-super-grid/
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,899
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    Some land and farmers are just unproductive. If the land can be better used, it should be! 
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,859
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    Some land and farmers are just unproductive. If the land can be better used, it should be! 
    Who will decide that?
    If someone owns land isn't it their business if they're unproductive?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    HomerJSmith
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,899
    edited December 2022
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    Who will decide that?
    If someone owns land isn't it their business if they're unproductive?
    If it’s their land, they’ll decide obviously! Plenty of people once farmed land and now don’t. If solar is better for them, then I support their decision. If it’s not their land, then a bank might decide for them. Happens all the time. 
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,353
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    May of the wind farms in Kansas, other areas have cattle grazing below them, or crops right up to the towers. PV farms around me get built on the old toxic waste dump areas, old mine tailing dump sites. Plenty of them in western Utah and into Nevada.
    Really no different than gas and oil rights that property owners have across PA.

    A rep friend has an energy deal as do most of his neighbors in PA. The drillers build a pad in the neighborhood and directional bored in 8 directions under all the homes

    It’s up to the landowner to decide the risk/ reward

    I didn’t have any other plans for the roof on my home, seemed like a good place for PV and thermal collectors.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Sal Santamaura
    Sal Santamaura Member Posts: 532
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    Back to the fusion news item, I expect it'll be a decade or more before anything commercial comes of it. That dovetails nicely with the pace of increasing grid load due to transportation and cooking/heating appliance mandates. Patience, and optimism, are in order.
    Hot_water_fan
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
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    JakeCK said:

    @Jamie Hall I'll agree that wind maybe a dead end in the face of fusion power, but solar is nothing but collection of the energy output of the fusion reactor already burning in the sky. Why not harness that power on surfaces that it would already be wasted such as roofs? 

    It's now December, with how cloudy it's been the panels on my house will produce anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of the energy usage of my house for the next two months. But I'm still ahead for the year by over 4mwh's. And almost 15mwh's for the year. That is 15mwh's that didn't need to be produced somewhere else. 

    I can only guess that you are all electric or in a very hot climate with A/C. 15 MWH's per year is about what my 17,000 sq ft church uses. I only use about 3.5 MWH per year in my home, including summer cooling in Chicago. Standard 15 year old refrigerator, 10 year old 10 SEER A/C, gas stove, dryer and Cast iron hot water boiler with a standard compact circulator. I also have my office in my home and am doing some light renovation work, so power saws etc.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,859
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    @JakeCK How much did the panels cost, and how long until they have paid themselves off? What's the system's expected life and can you mix other types of panels in if they stop selling the ones you have down the road?

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 1,899
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    It’s also easy for some to buy utility solar. Mines a bit cheaper than the regular juice. No maintenance required. 
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,401
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    @Jamie Hall I'll agree that wind maybe a dead end in the face of fusion power, but solar is nothing but collection of the energy output of the fusion reactor already burning in the sky. Why not harness that power on surfaces that it would already be wasted such as roofs? 

    It's now December, with how cloudy it's been the panels on my house will produce anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of the energy usage of my house for the next two months. But I'm still ahead for the year by over 4mwh's. And almost 15mwh's for the year. That is 15mwh's that didn't need to be produced somewhere else. 
    I can only guess that you are all electric or in a very hot climate with A/C. 15 MWH's per year is about what my 17,000 sq ft church uses. I only use about 3.5 MWH per year in my home, including summer cooling in Chicago. Standard 15 year old refrigerator, 10 year old 10 SEER A/C, gas stove, dryer and Cast iron hot water boiler with a standard compact circulator. I also have my office in my home and am doing some light renovation work, so power saws etc.
    15mwh is about what the solar panels will produce by the end of the year. I just broke 10mwh today for the year in energy usage.

    Boiler and dryer are the only gas appliances left. Electric stove, window AC's, hpwh, dehumidifier, side by side fridge, very large deep freezer, built in microwave and of course a dish washer and clothes washer. Also a large aquarium and lots of computers, servers, and electronics in general as well. I once overloaded my desktop PC's UPS while running folding@home on it a few years ago. I lol'd

    At this exact moment the power usage is right about 1300 watts, none of the major appliances are running. If it's a busy weekend with lots of laundry, dishes, and cooking it will be averaging 6-8k watts easily. I make it a habit to try to balance the load. If I purposely pegged everything I don't want to know what it would look like. If I shut everything down that doesn't have some reason to stay on I can get it down to about 300 to 400watts, but with the Christmas lights I haven't seen under 700 for a few weeks. 

    Right now I'm in a room with nothing in it making noise and I can hear this very low frequency hum of things running through out the house, almost can liken it to the sound of a spaceship on star trek.


  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,401
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    ChrisJ said:
    @JakeCK How much did the panels cost, and how long until they have paid themselves off? What's the system's expected life and can you mix other types of panels in if they stop selling the ones you have down the road?
    $25k after tax credits. 

    Originally the estimated payoff time was less than 17 years at "normal" inflation rates. That is no longer true. Our rates here, as well as just everywhere else are going to go up, by a lot in the not to distant future. I just read that the price First Energy paid at  auction was nearly double what it was. Our NOPEC aggregate supplier dropped everyone a few months ago because the rate they were offering was higher then then first energy's rate. Basically get ready to bend over and have the lube handy. 

    The warranty for the panels are 25 years. They are considered end of life around that time as well. They are Hanwha Q Cells. It is a Korean company that has been in business for nearly 25 years. They are considered a top tier solar panel producer. They are paired with enphase microinverters to combat shading problems. They are a relatively new entrant to the solar industry but have had good reliability so far. Microinverters also means if an individual inverter or panel fails it does not affect the whole system. More components to fail compared to a string inverter system but much more resilience to failures. Honestly you would have to destroy every single panel and inverter to knock the system entirely offline. 42 panels and 42 inverters, plus the "combiner box" and the microcontroller used to communicate between my lan, the cloud, and the micros. The combiner box is nothing but a plastic box with Eaton breakers and that controller. The controller isn't even needed to function.

    And yes you can mix and match panels as long as the dimensions are the same so they at least fit together. Worse case scenario if I had a panel fail on the front of the house and couldn't get a matching new panel is to steal one from the back of the garage which can't even be seen from my property and put the new non matching on there.

    If I had to do a repair on the part of the system on my garage I could do it my self if out of warranty. That roof is easy, I could dance across it. The roof over my house... No. I'd hire that out. I don't do heights with 10/12 roofs. 

  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,401
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    I also want to add that just because a solar panel is end of life doesn't mean it needs to tossed out. Even if it's only producing 80% of what originally could, it's still producing power. If I'm still here in 25 years and it's time to replace the solar panels it could very well be possible to just replace half of the 42 panels and still end up producing more energy then this current system is now at only a year old. And I could still leave the old panels on the garage.
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
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    JakeCK said:



    @Jamie Hall I'll agree that wind maybe a dead end in the face of fusion power, but solar is nothing but collection of the energy output of the fusion reactor already burning in the sky. Why not harness that power on surfaces that it would already be wasted such as roofs? 

    It's now December, with how cloudy it's been the panels on my house will produce anywhere from 1/2 to 2/3 of the energy usage of my house for the next two months. But I'm still ahead for the year by over 4mwh's. And almost 15mwh's for the year. That is 15mwh's that didn't need to be produced somewhere else. 
    I can only guess that you are all electric or in a very hot climate with A/C. 15 MWH's per year is about what my 17,000 sq ft church uses. I only use about 3.5 MWH per year in my home, including summer cooling in Chicago. Standard 15 year old refrigerator, 10 year old 10 SEER A/C, gas stove, dryer and Cast iron hot water boiler with a standard compact circulator. I also have my office in my home and am doing some light renovation work, so power saws etc.

    15mwh is about what the solar panels will produce by the end of the year. I just broke 10mwh today for the year in energy usage.

    Boiler and dryer are the only gas appliances left. Electric stove, window AC's, hpwh, dehumidifier, side by side fridge, very large deep freezer, built in microwave and of course a dish washer and clothes washer. Also a large aquarium and lots of computers, servers, and electronics in general as well. I once overloaded my desktop PC's UPS while running folding@home on it a few years ago. I lol'd

    At this exact moment the power usage is right about 1300 watts, none of the major appliances are running. If it's a busy weekend with lots of laundry, dishes, and cooking it will be averaging 6-8k watts easily. I make it a habit to try to balance the load. If I purposely pegged everything I don't want to know what it would look like. If I shut everything down that doesn't have some reason to stay on I can get it down to about 300 to 400watts, but with the Christmas lights I haven't seen under 700 for a few weeks. 

    Right now I'm in a room with nothing in it making noise and I can hear this very low frequency hum of things running through out the house, almost can liken it to the sound of a spaceship on star trek.




    I wonder how much savings you can get through more efficient usage. I run all LED's with couple of Compact flourescents which I haven't found replacements for. Single computer (server) running all the time, we were able to get rid of our dehumifier when I installed a sump pump to provide sub soil drainage. That saved me a bunch of electricity as did replacing the old wooden storms with Low E storms on 5 of the 6 original 1903 windows on the west side that get full western sun until very late. Bills run about $45.00 in winter and about $90.00 in summer.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,401
    edited December 2022
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    Already have all LED's, started that transition almost a decade ago. Already replaced all my storms with low e this past summer. Still working on insulating the basement with foam board. About 2/3rd done. Can't finish until I rebuild my rickety old basement steps and replumb laundry in the basement. 

    I used to run just one PC as both my file server and my desktop. It was a nightmare. There is something to be said about running dedicated hardware for various services. NAS for files, NVR for security cameras, security gateway, actual wifi AP's mounted in optimum locations, etc...

    And my dehumidifier... Well it isn't soil moisture that is the culprit. It is the outside air that infiltrates. In the fall and winter it shuts down and stays below 40% down there all on its own. 

    Now while I use a good bit of electricity, my gas usage, at least in the summer is nothing. Around 2 ccf for 4-5 months of the year. I could eliminate that too if I went to an electric dryer.
  • FStephenMasek
    FStephenMasek Member Posts: 88
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    Did you see the net output - just a bit under 3 kilowatt hours. For how much money, especially since that money could have been used for many other things.
    Author of Illustrated Practical Asbestos: For Consultants, Contractors, Property Managers & Regulators
  • ArthurPeabody
    ArthurPeabody Member Posts: 32
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    'Although the latest experiment produced a net energy gain compared to the energy of the 2.05 megajoules in the incoming laser beams, NIF needed to pull 300 megajoules of energy from the electrical grid in order to generate the brief laser pulse.'
    Canucker
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,675
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    TANSTAAFL
  • Sal Santamaura
    Sal Santamaura Member Posts: 532
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    ratio said:

    TANSTAAFL

    No, there ain't. Slowing the rate of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) won't be free. It'll cost everyone. And everyone will benefit from slowing AGW. And it'll be money well spent.
  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,218
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    Did you see the net output - just a bit under 3 kilowatt hours. For how much money, especially since that money could have been used for many other things.

    If we are thinking along the same lines....the money could be spent on improved efficiency that would give many times more reduction in energy usage and emissions. New tech needs to be developed, but I believe we can respond much quicker and much greater scale by simply using old tech to get much better results. Spending $1000.00 on new tech to eliminate 1 ton of emissions per year doesn't make much sense if you can spend that same $1000.00 and eliminate 10 tons per hour by upgrading using old tech.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    CLamb
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,542
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    How can this reconcile with the laws of conservation of energy? In a fission reaction, the energy to sustain the reaction is contained in the atoms. This needs a constant energy input?
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,859
    edited December 2022
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    How can this reconcile with the laws of conservation of energy? In a fission reaction, the energy to sustain the reaction is contained in the atoms. This needs a constant energy input?

    Typically nuclear reactors are cooled by water which turns to steam and then is then used to power turbines etc.

    But you need power to run pumps to feed water to the reactor (boiler) and power for controls etc. It doesn't just sit there self sufficient without any input outside of the reactor core. Fission reactors get very ugly without a "constant energy input" as you said.

    Obviously a working fusion setup would generate power to control it self as well as have output to feed other things like houses, factories etc. Whether or not it will ever be practical here on Earth I have no clue, that's above my pay grade.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,544
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    How can this reconcile with the laws of conservation of energy? In a fission reaction, the energy to sustain the reaction is contained in the atoms. This needs a constant energy input?

    In fusion, like fission, the energy comes from the small reduction in mass between the "fuel" atoms and the product atoms. In the case of fission the total mass of the fission products is less than the mass of the uranium or plutonium nucleus which fissions. In the case of fusion, the total mass of the fusion product -- a helium nucleus, either He3 or He4 -- is less than the mass of the fusion nuclei (usually H2,deuterium or H3, tritium and often Lithium, depending on the fusion path chosen). The difference in mass -- in either fission or fusion -- is, in absolute terms, not all that large -- but when you multiply it by the square of the speed of light, you get a very large number indeed. Fusion produces several orders of magnitude as much power, for a given mass of reactant, than fission.

    The problem with fusion is that in order to persuade the reactants to fuse you need to get them up to very high temperatures and pressures to begin with. In a star, such as the sun, those temperatures and pressures are provided by plain old gravity. In a thermonuclear weapon -- a hydrogen bomb -- those temperatures and pressures are provided by detonating a fission ""bomb" with very precise geometry. For realistic power, other means must be provided. Neither approach works well for a device intended to produce useful power! Up until this experiment no experiment had managed to get more energy out of the reaction than was expended in trying to get the reaction to go; this one did that and now it is a matter of rather intensely applied engineering.

    The beauty of fusion as a power source is very simple. The "fuel", deuterium, is a natural component of water. Not a very large fraction, but there's a lot of water. The only significant "waste" product is Tritium (H3), which has a short half life (about 12 years) and decays by beta decay to He3, which is harmless. Beta decay is easily shielded against, and Tritium is used in a wide variety of commercial applications. It can also be returned to the reactant stream and "used" again. Thus no hazardous waste of any kind. There is no radiation, other than beta, released beyond the reactor (you cold have one in your living room, if it weren't a bit large). Further, a fusion reactor cannot explode -- if containment is lost, the reaction stops instantly.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    In_New_EnglandSuperTechJakeCK
  • nde
    nde Member Posts: 86
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    Great news, look forward to the day the Saudis, Iranians and Russians can sell oil to each other at pennies on the dollar. The key is net gain which is first time ever achieved, the amount of energy it takes to start the reaction does not matter so long as net positive and continuous. I watched a very brief announcement and it was ended with the same labor shortage mantra we all hear across all labor pools "we're hiring!"
  • In_New_England
    In_New_England Member Posts: 130
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    @Jamie Hall there is a contrarian opinion here, though it may be specific to Tokamak type reactors.
    https://thebulletin.org/2017/04/fusion-reactors-not-what-theyre-cracked-up-to-be/
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,544
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    Many of the comments are specific to Tokamaks. However, he does have some reasonable arguments -- none of which, however, are insurmountable with further development. Had the detractors of Mr Watt spent as much ink on pointing out the problems of constructing and deploying steam engines as he does on this, we'd still all be using horses.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    In_New_EnglandJakeCKGGross
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,859
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    Many of the comments are specific to Tokamaks. However, he does have some reasonable arguments -- none of which, however, are insurmountable with further development. Had the detractors of Mr Watt spent as much ink on pointing out the problems of constructing and deploying steam engines as he does on this, we'd still all be using horses.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Waher
    Waher Member Posts: 256
    edited December 2022
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    If electricity becomes cheap maybe there will be a market for residential sized electric resistance heated steam boilers.
  • Sal Santamaura
    Sal Santamaura Member Posts: 532
    edited December 2022
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    Waher said:

    If electricity becomes cheap maybe there will be a market for residential sized electric resistance heated steam boilers.

    Almost three decades ago, my late mother, who was looking after the affairs of my late aunt by then suffering from Alzheimer's and who lived in a house in the Bronx my late father had built three decades before that, had to deal with a roof leak which damaged the ceiling in one room. A distant relative who had worked in construction visited. She asked him "where can I find a good plasterer?" His reply was "Woodlawn Cemetery." I suspect that, by the time fusion plants make electricity "cheap," most residential steam experts will be in similar places.
    CLamb
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,859
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    Waher said:

    If electricity becomes cheap maybe there will be a market for residential sized electric resistance heated steam boilers.

    Almost three decades ago, my late mother, who was looking after the affairs of my late aunt by then suffering from Alzheimer's and who lived in a house in the Bronx my late father had built three decades before that, had to deal with a roof leak which damaged the ceiling in one room. A distant relative who had worked in construction visited. She asked him "where can I find a good plasterer?" His reply was "Woodlawn Cemetery." I suspect that, by the time fusion plants make electricity "cheap," most residential steam experts will all be in similar places.

    Of course, there are good plasterers out there even today.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,544
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    ChrisJ said:

    Waher said:

    If electricity becomes cheap maybe there will be a market for residential sized electric resistance heated steam boilers.

    Almost three decades ago, my late mother, who was looking after the affairs of my late aunt by then suffering from Alzheimer's and who lived in a house in the Bronx my late father had built three decades before that, had to deal with a roof leak which damaged the ceiling in one room. A distant relative who had worked in construction visited. She asked him "where can I find a good plasterer?" His reply was "Woodlawn Cemetery." I suspect that, by the time fusion plants make electricity "cheap," most residential steam experts will all be in similar places.

    Of course, there are good plasterers out there even today.
    But, like good steam men, they are mighty thin on the ground and very had to find!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England