Energy Inventions News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on new energy inventions
Imagine being able to convert water into a boundless source of cheap energy. That's what BlackLight Power, a 25-employee firm in Cranbury, N.J., says it can do. The only problem: Most scientists say that company's technology violates the basic laws of physics. Such skepticism doesn't daunt Dr. Randell Mills, a Harvard-trained physician and founder of BlackLight, who recently claimed that he has created a working fuel cell using the world's most pervasive element: the hydrogen found in water. Mills says he has a market-ready product: a fuel cell that produces a chemical reaction to alter hydrogen atoms. The fuel cell releases heat that turns water into steam, which drives electric turbines. The working models in his lab generate 50 kilowatts of electricity - enough to power six or seven houses. But these, Mills says, can be scaled [up] to drive a large, electric power plant. The inventor claims this electricity will cost less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which compares to a national average of 8.9 cents. Mills developed the patented cocktail that enables the reaction - a solid fuel made of hydrogen and a sodium hydride catalyst - only a year ago. (He recently posted instructions on the company's Web site, blacklightpower.com). Now that the device is ready for commercialization, he says, BlackLight is negotiating with several utilities and architecture and engineering firms. The business, Mills says, has attracted $60 million in funding from wealthy individuals, investment firms ... and it is no longer seeking money. BlackLight's board of directors reads like a Who's Who of finance and energy leaders.
Note: For two New York Times articles showing the viability of this amazing technology, click here and here. And for the latest on this exciting technology, click here. For many other exciting major media news articles on new energy inventions, click here.
Twenty years ago it appeared, for a moment, that all our energy problems could be solved. It was the announcement of cold fusion - nuclear energy like that which powers the sun - but at room temperature on a table top. It promised to be cheap, limitless and clean. Cold fusion would end our dependence on the Middle East and stop those greenhouse gases blamed for global warming. It would change everything. But then, just as quickly as it was announced, it was discredited. So thoroughly, that cold fusion became a catch phrase for junk science. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to oblivion - for many scientists today, cold fusion is hot again. "We can yield the power of nuclear physics on a tabletop. The potential is unlimited. That is the most powerful energy source known to man," researcher Michael McKubre told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley. McKubre says he has seen that energy more than 50 times in cold fusion experiments he's doing at SRI International, a respected California lab that does extensive work for the government. McKubre is an electro-chemist who imagines, in 20 years, the creation of a clean nuclear battery. "For example, a laptop would come pre-charged with all of the energy that you would ever intend to use. You're now decoupled from your charger and the wall socket," he explained. The same would go for cars. "The potential is for an energy source that would run your car for three, four years, for example. And you'd take it in for service every four years and they'd give you a new power supply," McKubre told Pelley.
Note: To watch the full, revealing 12-minute video clip of this segment, click here.
Distance, not speed, was the goal this weekend on the track at the 2009 Shell Eco-marathon Americas(R), a challenge for students to design, build and test fuel-efficient vehicles that travel the farthest distance using the least amount of fuel. This year, more than 500 students from North and South America were on hand to stretch the boundaries of fuel efficiency. So who came out on top? The student team from Laval University, with an astonishing 2,757.1 miles per gallon, equivalent to 1,172.2 kilometres per liter, won the grand prize in the "Prototype" category. And in the "UrbanConcept" category - new to the Americas event this year - the team from Mater Dei High School took the grand prize by achieving 433.3 mpg, equivalent to 184.2 km/l. With 44 participating teams at track competition was steep. This year's challenge brought together a number of returning teams determined to beat the 2,843 mpg (1,208 km/l) record set by Mater Dei High School (Evansville, Ind.) in 2008, combined with a number of new teams adding fresh innovation and vehicle designs to the competition. "The Shell Eco-marathon is a platform for students to let their imaginations run wild," said Mark Singer, global project manager for the Shell Eco-marathon. "By encouraging these students to build vehicles with greater energy efficiency, we hope this will help inspire others; and together we can find solutions that will help meet the global energy challenge."
Note: CNBC removed this article for some reason. It was still available on the Shell website at this link for a while, but then strangely removed. Using the Internet Archive, you can still view the article at this link. Why so little media attention to this most exciting race for top gas mileage? And if high school students can build a car that gets over 2,500 mpg, what's up with Detroit? Could big business be suppressing, or at the very least ignoring these inspiring inventions?
Johnathan Goodwin walks to the back of his auto conversion shop in Wichita, Kan., and lifts up a gas nozzle connected to a huge cube-shaped container. The orange stuff he's pumping is the key to his company's mission: converting the worst gas-gulping SUVs into cleaner, meaner machines. "This is 100 percent canola oil, refined to biodiesel," Goodwin said. His well-maintained shop is a bit like a showroom for that much-maligned symbol of environmental ruin: the Hummer. The silver H-1 – which Goodwin says gets 60 miles per gallon – has already been modified to run on biodiesel, diesel, vegetable oil, gasoline, ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas and propane. On a standard gasoline-to-biodiesel conversion, Goodwin starts by taking a new nine-mile-per-gallon Hummer and removing the original gas engine. In goes an off-the-shelf GM Duramax engine that runs on diesel fuel. A few extra modifications and a tank full of biodiesel later, the Hummer – now boasting 500 horsepower and getting about 20 miles per gallon – is ready for the road. He offers a couple of lower-cost options, including a fuel vaporizer for $1,000 that he says boosts fuel economy by 30 percent, and a $500 software download that reprograms diesel engines to get up to an additional seven miles per gallon. His work has many wondering why the big automakers can't simply reconfigure their assembly lines to make their own cars run as efficiently as Goodwin does. "I don't know why GM hasn't done it," says Goodwin. "But I can tell you that all the parts that I use for the conversion – 95 percent – are all GM parts. I'm not reinventing anything."
Note: For lots more powerful and inspiring information on this breakthrough technology and kits you can order, click here. For many other revealing major media articles showing new energy inventions and breakthroughs which should be making headlines, click here.
Last winter, inventor John Kanzius was already attempting one seemingly impossible feat -- building a machine to cure cancer with radio waves -- when his device inadvertently succeeded in another: He made saltwater catch fire. TV footage of his bizarre discovery has been burning up the blogosphere ever since, drawing crackpots and Ph.D.s alike into a raging debate. Can water burn? And if so, what good can come of it? Some people gush over the invention's potential for desalinization or cheap energy. Briny seawater, after all, sloshes over most of the planet's surface, and harnessing its heat energy could power all sorts of things. Skeptics say Kanzius's radio generator is sucking up far more energy than it's creating, making it a carnival trick at best. For now, Kanzius is tuning out the hubbub. Diagnosed with leukemia in 2002, he began building his radio-wave blaster the next year, soon after a relapse. If he could seed a person's cancerous cells with nanoscopic metal particles and blast them with radio waves, perhaps he could kill off the cancer while sparing healthy tissue. The saltwater phenomenon happened by accident when an assistant was bombarding a saline-filled test tube with radio waves and bumped the tube, causing a small flash. Curious, Kanzius struck a match. "The water lit like a propane flame," he recalls. "People said, 'It's a crock. Look for hidden electrodes in the water,' " says Penn State University materials scientist Rustum Roy, who visited [Kanzius] in his lab in August after seeing the feat on Google Video. A demo made Roy a believer. "This is discovery science in the best tradition," he says. Meanwhile, researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have made progress using Kanzius's technology to fight cancer in animals. They published their findings last month in the journal Cancer.
Note: For other compelling articles on this fascinating invention, see recent articles in the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and especially Medical News Today. And for dozens of astounding major media articles showing clear suppression of potential cancer cures, click here.
The Plasma Converter ... can consume nearly any type of waste—from dirty diapers to chemical weapons—by annihilating toxic materials in a process ... called plasma gasification. A 650-volt current passing between two electrodes rips electrons from the air, converting the gas into plasma. The plasma arc is so powerful, it disintegrates trash into its constituent elements by tearing apart molecular bonds. The system is capable of breaking down pretty much anything except nuclear waste. The only by-products are an obsidian-like glass [and] a mixture of primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide that can be converted into a variety of marketable fuels, including ethanol, natural gas and hydrogen. Perhaps the most amazing part of the process is that it’s self-sustaining. Once the cycle is under way, the 2,200°F syngas is fed into a cooling system, generating steam that drives turbines to produce electricity. About two thirds of the power is siphoned off to run the converter; the rest can be used on-site for heating or electricity, or sold back to the utility grid. Even a blackout would not stop the operation of the facility. New York City is already paying an astronomical $90 a ton to get rid of its trash. According to Startech, a few 2,000-ton-per-day plasma-gasification plants could do it for $36. Sell the syngas and surplus electricity, and you’d actually net $15 a ton. But the decision-making bureaucracy can be slow, and it is hamstrung by the politically well-connected waste-disposal industry. Startech isn’t the only company using plasma to turn waste into a source of clean energy. A handful of start-ups—Geoplasma, Recovered Energy, PyroGenesis, EnviroArc and Plasco Energy, among others—have entered the market in the past decade.
Note: Why hasn't this amazing, proven machine and technology made front page headlines? Read the exciting article at the link above to find how it is already being used. For why you don't know about it, read this excellent article on how such inventions are suppressed.
Brazil's new generation of cars and trucks adapted to run on alcohol has just hit the two-million mark. "Flex-fuel" vehicles, which run on any combination of ethanol and petrol, now make up 77% of the Brazilian market. Brazil has pioneered the use of ethanol derived from sugar-cane as motor fuel. Ethanol-driven cars have been on sale there for 25 years, but they have been enjoying a revival since flex-fuel models first appeared in March 2003. Just 48,200 flex-fuel cars were sold in Brazil in 2003, but the total had reached 1.2 million by the end of last year and had since topped two million, the Brazilian motor manufacturers' association Anfavea said.
Note: With sky-high gasoline prices and the fear of depletion of global oil supplies, why don't such cars exist in the U.S.? Why are the trains of almost every other developed nation far advanced from trains in the U.S.? And why isn't the U.S. media reporting on this important development? For possible answers, click here. The excellent movie Who Killed the Electric Car is also incredibly revealing.
A car driven by a 10-year-old and built at a French school has set a new world record for fuel efficiency. The Microjoule team managed the equivalent of 9,845 miles per gallon while driving for 10 miles around Silverstone race track in the UK. More than 100 teams competed in the Shell Eco-Marathon. Their one goal was to see how far they can get these amazing machines to travel on a minuscule amount of fuel. While we might be delirious if we managed 40 miles (64 kilometres) to the gallon (4.5 litres) pottering about town in our super minis, these people are not happy until they have seen the mileometer click through the thousands. The teams have a choice of petrol or diesel, with solar assistance permitted for the first time this year. A car is allowed three 40-minute runs. It must average at least 15 mph (24 kph) after which the stewards at the meeting calculate the machine's fuel efficiency. "The top fuel teams do about 10 miles, which is six laps on the club circuit at Silverstone," says the event's fuel manager Geoff Houlbrook. "They do that on less than 10 millilitres which is just two teaspoons of fuel." The entries come from all over Europe. Some teams use advanced materials like titanium and carbon fibre. Some of the machines built by schoolchildren are made from parts of old sewing and washing machines. "It's fun but it's also science," says BBC Top Gear presenter and racing driver Tiff Needell. "It's like an experiment with people learning how to save energy."
Note: Some of these amazing vehicles built in 1999 were "built by schoolchildren," yet the auto industry still can't come up with a car that get's 100 mpg? Granted these cars are slow and small, but if they can get almost 10,000 mpg, don't you think similar technology could be used to get at least several hundred mpg in regular cars? For why car mileage hasn't increased much since the 1908 Model T got 25 mpg, click here and here.
Weren't we taught that radio was invented by an Italian named Guglielmo Marconi? And that the legendary Thomas Alva Edison devised today's electrical power system? "We were taught wrong," said Toby Grotz, president of the International Tesla Society. Two years before Marconi demonstrated his wireless radio transmission, [Nikola Tesla] performed an identical feat at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. On June 21, 1943, in the case of Marconi Wireless Telegraph Co. vs. the United States, the Supreme Court ruled that that Tesla's radio patents had predated those of the Italian genius. To be sure, Edison invented the incandesent light bulb. But he powered it and all of his other projects with inefficient direct current (DC) electricity. It was Tesla who discovered how to use the far more powerful phased form of alternating current (AC) electricity that is virtually the universal type of electricity employed by modern civilization. There are indications that Tesla also discovered many of the devices ... for the Pentagon's controversial Star Wars antimissile defense system. "Tesla dreamed of supplying limitless amounts of power freely and equally available to all persons on Earth," said Grotz. And he was convinced he could do so by broadcasting electrical power across large distances just as radio transmits far smaller amounts of energy. [Tesla's] tests ... caused lights to burn as much as 26 miles away, according to news reports of the time.
Note: Tesla was written out of history texts likely because he advocated providing methods for extremely cheap electricity available to everyone. He successfully transmitted electricity through the air to lights 26 miles away. Yet the rich energy power brokers of his time could not stand for this. Only the little known Supreme Court ruling mentioned above restored his claim as original inventor of the radio. For lots more on this most fascinating genius, click on the article link above and click here and here. For revealing major media articles showing the suppression of other energy inventions which could transform our world, click here.
Membranes based on the "miracle material" graphene can be used to distil alcohol, according to a new study in Science [magazine]. An international team created the membrane from graphene oxide - a chemical derivative of graphene. They have shown that the membrane blocks the passage of several gases and liquids, but lets water through. This joins a long list of fascinating and unusual properties associated with graphene and its derivatives. Graphene ... is a flat layer of carbon atoms tightly packed into a two-dimensional honeycomb arrangement. Because it is so thin, it is also practically transparent. As a conductor of electricity, it performs as well as copper; and as a conductor of heat, it outperforms all other known materials. The unusual electronic, mechanical and chemical properties of graphene at the molecular scale promise numerous applications. Andrei Geim and Konstantin Novoselov from the University of Manchester were awarded 2010's Nobel Prize in physics for their discovery [of graphene]. Geim and others have now developed a laminate made from thin sheets of graphene oxide. These films were hundreds of times thinner than a human hair but remained strong, flexible and easy to handle. In another study in Science journal, a different team reports the development of a membrane based on diamond-like carbon. This membrane has unique pore sizes that allow for the ultra-fast passage of oil through it. One expert said it could potentially be used for filtering toxic contaminants out of water or for purifying industrial chemicals.
Note: To read about the exciting potential of this miracle material to create fresh water from salt water, click here. For revealing media articles on amazing energy inventions, most of which are not getting nearly the attention they deserve, click here.
Ask nearly any physicist if it’s possible for a hydrogen atom to enter a lower energy state than the ground, or resting, state they hold in nature, and you’re likely to get an unequivocal “no”. But a tiny company in New Jersey called Blacklight Power has been disputing that assumption for over a decade, and of late, making gad-fly claims that its founder says will overturn the accepted scientific order. Blacklight’s claims have a special significance: If they’re true, there’s a source of cheap, clean energy that can be easily tapped anywhere in the world. Blacklight is now saying that it has physical proof of its energy generator, verified by an independent university lab. Its “hydrino” theory isn’t put forth by a single crackpot; instead, the company employs a good handful of high-level scientists who would presumably rebel if the idea was totally false. It has also taken over $60 million in venture funding. Despite a hearty rejection by the scientific mainstream, and being ignored for years on end, its founder, Randell Mills, has plugged on. Now an engineering team at Rowan University ...has come forward with results from its own tests of the Blacklight process. Tests conducted in sealed chambers, and measured with a device called a calorimeter, show a heat reaction from a substance provided by Blacklight far beyond anything anticipated. “We’ve been able to regularly reproduce these results and we believe any research lab could do the same,” Peter Jansson, the faculty member heading the experiments, [said].
BlackLight Power, the company that has pulled in $60 million for its seemingly physics-defying fuel cell, is back with an announcement about an independent validation of its technology. A team of engineers, headed by Dr. Peter Jansson at Rowan University, have tested BlackLight’s prototypes and found that the devices perform as BlackLight claims, ambiguously concluding that “there is a novel reaction of some type causing the large exotherm which is consistently produced.” To translate: There’s definitely lots of energy being produced. They’re just not sure why. BlackLight says its technology can push an electron closer to the nucleus by way of a catalytic reaction, resulting in a huge amount of clean energy. The company describes the reaction as “somewhere between a nuclear and a chemical reaction,” but without any of the messy fallout. The team at Rowan tested BlackLight’s 1,000- and 50,000-watt reactors over three months and were able to replicate BlackLight’s energy claims, saying that the energy produced “cannot be explained by other known sources like combustion or nuclear energy.” The company says a complete verification of the whole process will likely happen within a year. BlackLight tells us it is now in the process of licensing its technology to power producers. The company says it has enough capital to get through commercialization and plans to have its reactors in a power plant in the next two years.
The idea is deceptively simple. Forget about fancy batteries, regenerative braking, and alternative fuels. Instead, make a car that's elegant in its minimalism and efficiency. The Loremo's German designers revisited the basics — engine efficiency, low weight, and minimal drag — to create a car that offers fuel-efficiency in the neighborhood of 130 to 150 miles per gallon. The Loremo is likely to dazzle drivers not with its acceleration, but with its ability to drive from New York to L.A. with only three stops at the pump. Loremo stands for low resistance mobile, and its engineers have stuck obsessively to this idea. By building the car around a 2-cylinder turbodiesel engine, and cutting back on weight, drag, and other excess fat such as side-opening doors, the Loremo puffs out a mere 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer. This is about 40 grams less per kilometer than the tiny diesel smart. According to its creators, this will make the Loremo the most efficient production car ever sold. If the Loremo showed up as a concept on an auto show pedestal, it would certainly garner some attention. But the Loremo is not a car for dreamers; not only will it enter mass production next year, it will sport a base price attainable by mortal motorists: 15,000 euros (about U.S. $22,000). After its 2009 release in Europe, the Loremo will be redesigned to reach the North American market the following year. A $30,000, 3-cylinder GT model will also become available, offering better acceleration (0-60 in roughly 10 seconds, vs. 16 for the base model). Both hybrid and fully electric versions are also in the works.
Note: For many exciting, reliable reports on new energy and automobile technologies, click here.
Imagine a solar panel without the panel. Just a coating, thin as a layer of paint, that takes light and converts it to electricity. From there, you can picture roof shingles with solar cells built inside and window coatings that seem to suck power from the air. Consider solar-powered buildings stretching not just across sunny Southern California, but through China and India and Kenya as well, because even in those countries, going solar will be cheaper than burning coal. That’s the promise of thin-film solar cells: solar power that’s ubiquitous because it’s cheap. The basic technology has been around for decades, but this year, Silicon Valley–based Nanosolar created the manufacturing technology that could make that promise a reality. The company produces its PowerSheet solar cells with printing-press-style machines that set down a layer of solar-absorbing nano-ink onto metal sheets as thin as aluminum foil, so the panels can be made for about a tenth of what current panels cost and at a rate of several hundred feet per minute. Nanosolar’s first commercial cells rolled off the presses this year. Cost has always been one of solar’s biggest problems. Traditional solar cells require silicon, and silicon is an expensive commodity. That means even the cheapest solar panels cost about $3 per watt of energy they go on to produce. To compete with coal, that figure has to shrink to just $1 per watt. Nanosolar’s cells use no silicon, and the company’s manufacturing process allows it to create cells that are as efficient as most commercial cells for as little as 30 cents a watt. "It really is quite a big deal in terms of altering the way we think about solar and in inherently altering the economics of solar," says Dan Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley.
Note: For exciting reports of other new energy technologies, click here.
The star at last week's Philadelphia Auto Show wasn't a sports car or an economy car. It was a sports-economy car — one that combines performance and practicality under one hood. But as CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports in this week's Assignment America, the car that buyers have been waiting decades [for] comes from an unexpected source and runs on soybean bio-diesel fuel to boot. A car that can go from zero to 60 in four seconds and get more than 50 miles to the gallon would be enough to pique any driver's interest. So who do we have to thank for it. Ford? GM? Toyota? No — just Victor, David, Cheeseborough, Bruce, and Kosi, five kids from the auto shop program at West Philadelphia High School. The five kids ... built the soybean-fueled car as an after-school project. It took them more than a year — rummaging for parts, configuring wires and learning as they went. As teacher Simon Hauger notes, these kids weren't exactly the cream of the academic crop. "If you give kids that have been stereotyped as not being able to do anything an opportunity to do something great, they'll step up," he says. Stepping up is something the big automakers have yet to do. They're still in the early stages of marketing hybrid cars while playing catch-up to the Bad News Bears of auto shop. "We made this work," says Hauger. "We're not geniuses. So why aren't they doing it?" Kosi thinks he knows why. The answer, he says, is the big oil companies.
Note: So why isn't this remarkable engine design breakthrough making front page headlines in all major media? Why aren't the many other major energy breakthroughs that have been reported given the headlines they deserve? Could it be that those who are reaping huge profits from oil sales have much more political and media influence than you might imagine? For lots more reliable information on this, click here.
that can travel the world using a fraction of the electricity it takes to power
a light bulb has been unveiled by its British creators. The hydrogen-powered
Ech2o needs just 25 Watts -- the equivalent of less than two gallons of petrol
-- to complete the 25,000-mile global trip, while emitting nothing more hazardous
than water. But with a top speed of 30mph, the journey would take more than
a month to complete. Ech2o, built by British gas firm BOC, will
bid to smash the world fuel efficiency record of over 10,000 miles per gallon
at the Shell Eco Marathon. The record is currently ... 5,385 km/per liter [12,900
mpg!]. John Carolin, BOC global director sustainable energy: "It sounds
unbelievable how little power is used to keep the BOC Ech2o moving, but it demonstrates
the impact of careful design and is a valuable lesson for car makers in the
Note: If these small test cars get over 10,000 miles per gallon, why aren't new cars getting at least 100 mpg?
Tucked away on the Toyota stand you will find a cheeky little coupé that looks sporty but whose raison d’ętre is fuel economy, the lowest exhaust emissions and ease of recycling. The ES3 — the initials stand for Eco Spirit — achieves 104mpg in the official European fuel consumption tests, a record for a four-seat car. Some months ago I drove this prototype and not only is it even more economical than the special “3 litre” (three litres of fuel for every 100km travelled, or 94mpg) versions of the Audi A2 and VW Lupo that sell in Germany, but the Toyota is more lively and responsive and would be very acceptable as an everyday car. The ES3 has a 1.4 litre turbocharged diesel engine and CVT (continuously variable transmission).
Note: So what happened to this amazing car? Why haven't we heard anything about it since the article was published in 2002? Read the revealing WantToKnow.info article at this link to learn how this amazing car, which was the talk of the fuel economy car industry in 2002, eventually disappeared. And for an excellent essay which provides key information on this topic, including a detailed list of suppressed inventions which greatly improve gasoline mileage reported over the years in respected magazines, click here.
Troy, Mich., in the belly of the automobile industry, is an odd place to spark a revolution against the internal-combustion engine. But, then, Stanford Ovshinsky is no ordinary gearhead. Although he never went to college, he founded a new field of physics based on the superconductivity of certain alloys. The company he formed in 1960, Energy Conversion Devices, makes the photovoltaic cells used on the Mir space station to generate electricity from sunlight. In the '80s the Japanese licensed his patents to produce digital video discs. But what really revs him up these days is a car battery. How dull is that? Not at all, if it can "change the world," as he claims with a subversive glint in his eye. When Ovshinsky talked of scaling up his battery to run a car, he was ridiculed. "The auto companies said it wouldn't work," he recalls. "Then, after one car got 200 miles on a single charge, they said it couldn't be manufactured. Now that we are making them, they say it is too costly. But that is a red herring too." Ovshinsky's team of engineers and electrochemists has slashed the cost 40% in two years, they claim. If automakers would commit to buying tens of thousands, Ovshinsky says, the batteries would make electric cars as cheap as gasoline models.
Note: Ovshinsky, who has over 200 patents to his name, was censured for publicizing his amazing battery. GM refused to use his superior battery in the GM's EV-1 when it first came out. The inferior battery they used instead ensured the car would not be successful. Once Ovshinsky's battery became even more effective and looked sure to overtake conventional gasoline as the more effective way to run a car, his company was then sold by GM to Chevron Texaco, who shelved the project entirely. To see a three-minute clip from the excellent movie "Who Killed the Electric Car" on this, click here. For more on this remarkable man, click here.
The invention described herein was made in the course of, or under, a contract with the U. S. ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION. It relates ... to a method and apparatus for drilling, tunneling and shaft-sinking in rock with particular advantage at hitherto inaccessible depths. The present invention uses the basic apparatus and method disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,357,505 and in Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory of the University of California Report No. LA-3243 (1965) entitled "Rock Melting as a Drilling Technique." In the existing rock melting devices of the prior art, a major difficulty which limited performance was that of delivering a sufficiently large heat flux to the melting face of the drill or penetrator. The development of the heat pipe alleviates this problem in that the use of heat pipes enables the transfer of heat energy from a compact heat source to the extended melting surface of the penetrator at rates high enough to maintain the surface above the melting temperature of the rock. The extrapolation of a mechanism useful for forming large holes in the earth in accordance with the present invention uses the combination of a refractory rock-melting tool, an in situ heat source preferably a small nuclear reactor and an exceedingly efficient heat transfer mechanism such as a system of heat pipes to convey heat from the source to the walls of the drilling tool.
Note: This patent shows that government scientists at Los Alamos were using a "small nuclear reactor" to drill underground tunnels. Several of the inventors listed on the patent worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, including: McInteer, Berthus B.; Mills, Robert L.; Potter, Robert M.; Robinson, Eugene S.; Rowley, John C.; and Smith, Morton C.. For photos and more fascinating information on this most intriguing patent, click here.
What's at stake, they say, is no less than the future of automotive technology, a practical solution for driving fast and fun with no direct pollution whatsoever. GM agrees that the car in question, called the EV1, was a rousing feat of engineering that could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in under eight seconds with no harmful emissions. The market just wasn't big enough, the company says, for a car that traveled 140 miles or less on a charge before you had to plug it in like a toaster. Some 800 drivers once leased EV1s, mostly in California. After the last lease ran out in August, GM reclaimed every one of the cars, donating a few to universities and car museums but crushing many of the rest. Enthusiasts discovered a stash of about 77 surviving EV1s behind a GM training center in Burbank and last month decided to take a stand. Mobilized through Internet sites and word of mouth, nearly 100 people pledged $24,000 each for a chance to buy the cars from GM. On Feb. 16 the group set up a street-side outpost of folding chairs that they have staffed ever since in rotating shifts, through long nights and torrential rains, trying to draw attention to their cause. GM refuses to budge. Toyota is aware of a growing fad among do-it-yourselfers who put a new battery in their Prius so it can be plugged in at home and then travel about 20 miles on electric power alone.
Note: Why would GM simply crush cars for which people are willing to pay $24,000? For a possible answer to this important question, click here. To learn how to convert a Toyota Prius to get 100 mpg, click here.
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