Published on January 7, 2008
Precis of Post-Petroleum Energetics Including Seawater Agriculture: Precis of Post-Petroleum Energetics Including Seawater Agriculture Dennis Bushnell Chief Scientist NASA Langley Research Center Slide2: The (Economic) Ages of Humankind Hunter/Killer groups (~1 Million - ~5K BC) Agriculture (~5K BC - ~1850 AD) Industrial (~1850 AD - ~1950 AD) Information/BIO/NANO(~1950 AD - ~2030 AD) Virtual (~2030 - ?) Slide3: Hunter-Gatherer - “Nature Provided” Agriculture - Controlled Nature (Plants/Animals) Industrial - Mechanized Agriculture [1800-97% Farmers,Now-2%] IT/BIO/Nano - Automating Industry/Agriculture Virtual - Robotization of IT/Bio/Nano/Industry/Agriculture Technology MATTERS - For Both Good and ill……… Slide4: Humans Have “Taken Over” and Vastly Shortened “Evolution” [Human Engendered~E7 times “Natural”] Of the Planet Global Warming/Pollution/Deforestation Huge “Public Works” (e.g. 3 Gorges Dam) Of the Human Species Genomic Design and Repair “Mind Children” (Moravec) Products/Life Forms Cross Species Molecular Breeding “Directed Evolution” (Maxygen etc.) Slide5: Human Environment changing from “Natural” [before], to “Manmade” [Now] To VIRTUAL [Evolving Future] - CO2 levels are NOW greater than at any time in the last 650,000 Years………- Tundra Melting,Releasing huge amounts of Methane…….- European Gulf Stream Heating reduced by 30% [overlying fresh water from melting glaciers?]……. : - CO2 levels are NOW greater than at any time in the last 650,000 Years……… - Tundra Melting,Releasing huge amounts of Methane……. - European Gulf Stream Heating reduced by 30% [overlying fresh water from melting glaciers?]……. Slide7: “Prevention of collapse of the Ecosystem has now become the overwhelming issue” European Commission on Key Technologies for Europe,2005 Slide8: Rational[s] for “Going Green” Escalating Price of Petroleum “Warming” [ Including Acidic Oceans] National Security/Geo-Politics Economics/ Balance of Payments Personal Economics/ “Independence” Slide9: THE KEY TECHNOLOGIES (highly synergistic / at the frontiers of the small / in a “feeding frenzy” off each other) IT (comms/computing/sensors/electronics/machine intelligence) Bio (genomics/molecular biology/designer life forms) Nano (coatings/barriers/computers/sensors/materials/ “assemblers”) Energetics (HEDM (various)/revol. solar/biomass/explosives/propellants/storage) Quantum [crypto/computing/sensors/optics/Electronics] Societal Technological Systems (motivational asynchronous “distance learning,” immersive/virtual presence, “tele-everything,” “robotic everything,” digital earth/digital airspace) The [Major] Societal Problems: The [Major] Societal Problems Warming [Anthropogenic CO2-Induced, Attendant Arctic and Ocean Methane Release] Consequent “Green Energy” Requirement, Simultaneous Demise of “Cheap Oil” Shortages of Water & Arable Land An Increasing Food Shortage Current Worldwide Energy Usage: Current Worldwide Energy Usage Petroleum - 140 Exojoules Natural Gas - 85 Coal - 90 Biomass - 55 [ Potential to 4,000+ ] Nuclear Fission - 28 Hydroelectric - 9 Geothermal - 2 [ potential to 5,000 ] Solar - .2 [ Potential to 1,600+ ] Others [Wind, etc.] - ~7 Petroleum [Transportation Fuel] Outlook: Petroleum [Transportation Fuel] Outlook In General,”Cheap Oil” Production is peaking or has peaked.Residual supplies will have greater production costs.Increasing Petroleum demand,particularly from the developing world ,will ensure ever increasing oil prices and shifts,from purely economic drivers, to “Alternatives” [H2,Biomass] Demand Example - U.S. has 745 vehicles per 1,000 population.China,the second largest oil importer, has 3 vehicles per 1,000 population.If China goes to 5 Vehicles per 1,000 Population they will have to DOUBLE their Oil Imports to 10 Million Barrels/Day Energy and Warming: Energy and Warming 75% of Energy Usage is releasing climate-changing amounts of Fossil Carbon as CO2 This Fossil CO2 warming is releasing Fossil Methane from the Tundra and seabeds,Methane some 22X more of a warming gas than CO2,A Warming “Accelerant” Of the “Renewables”,only Solar [via Biomass and “Other Approaches] has the potential to provide the requisite “Capacity” [Wind,Hydro,Conv. Nuc cannot….] Biomass Produces Liquid Fuels and is less expensive than “other Solar” [Direct] Solar Energy Utilization Spectrum: [Direct] Solar Energy Utilization Spectrum Biomass PV [emerging Plastic/Nano PV,1/10th the cost…., to 70% efficiency?] H2 from Photosynthesis [Genomic Biologics and artificial Photosynthesis] Photo-Catalytic Disassociation of Water Solar Furnaces/Concentrators/Direct Heating [including Zn production for H2 “Storage”/ Generation..] Biomass Benefits: Biomass Benefits Renewable Nearly “CO2-Neutral” No New H2 infrastructure Required Minimal Sulfur Relatively Inexpensive Energy costs of biomass production/Processing up to an order of magnitude less than Energy “Yields” - Capacity/Tonnage Currently limited by “sweet” water and arable land “Bio-Refineries”: “Bio-Refineries” Bio-Chemical,Enzymatic Hydrolysis/Fermentation of Biomass into Sugars,Lignin,alcohol and Methane Thermochemical,Pyrolysis/gasification, Conversion to gas/liquid/solid mix,catalysis producing Biopolymers and Liquid or Gaseous Fuels Chemical,Biomass Oil conversion to “BioDiesel” etc. fuels - Due to costs of Biomass transportation, Bio-refineries should be “Distributed”/“Scalable”, Products largely delivered/deliverable via Pipelines Sampling - Biomass Utilization Archipelago: Sampling - Biomass Utilization Archipelago Transportation/Liquid Fuels [Distill/Refine it] Direct Heat Generation [Burn it] Direct Electricity Generation [Bio Fuel Cells] Food [via Genomics] “Petro-Chemical Feed-Stock [Plastics etc.] Direct H2 Production [e.g. Fermentation/Algae feeding] On Site Micro-Power/Co-[electricity] Generation Biomass Energy Potential[s]: Biomass Energy Potential[s] 6% of U.S. land mass producing Biomass could supply the U.S. with current Oil AND Natural Gas Usage Estimates indicate that Biomass grown on the Sahara [only] could supply the World’s Energy Requirement[s]… Slide19: “Water Scarcity is now the single greatest threat to Human Health,The Environment and the Global Food Supply” The Emerging Desert Mantra[Some 44% of land worldwide is “Wasteland”]: The Emerging Desert Mantra [Some 44% of land worldwide is “Wasteland”] Desert Area Characteristics - Sunlight - Brackish/Saline Ground Water - Many near/on seacoasts Utilize these “Resources” For: - Nano-Plastic PV - Saline-Seawater Agriculture for Biomass/Energy and Food Conventional/Historical “Wisdom” - Seawater/Saline incursions/occurance Detrimental-to-Disasterous for Agriculture: Conventional/Historical “Wisdom” - Seawater/Saline incursions/occurance Detrimental-to-Disasterous for Agriculture Unconventional - Saline/Salt water Agriculture a Viable-to-Desirable Alternative to Conventional Agriculture Saline/Seawater Agriculture: Saline/Seawater Agriculture Quasi-Conventional: - For Food & Fodder - “Reclaim”/Desalinate land via Biologics Unconventional - For Land,Water,Energy,Warming,Minerals,Food and Terra-Forming/enhanced Rainfall i.e. STRATEGIC Not Tactical, to Contribute to ALL the Major Problems,not just food Advantages of Seawater AG: Advantages of Seawater AG 97% of all water is seawater, will not “Run Out” Seawater Contains: - wide variety of important minerals - ~ 80% of Nutrients required for Agriculture [need to add Nitrogen,Phosphorus and Iron] In proximity to a number of Dry/Desert Areas Mineral Extraction from Seawater: Mineral Extraction from Seawater - “[Conventional] mining is one of the most environmentally damaging activities carried out by Humans” Seawater AG puts “missing/trace Minerals” back into Food Supply Current Seawater Mineral Extraction - Magnesium,Bromide,Salts,Phosphorites, Metallic Sulfides, “Seawater and Brines appear destined to replace Mineral Ores as the main source of Light Metals” Nascent [low cost/energy] Bio/Algae Extraction Approaches…. Alternative Seawater AG Employment Approaches: Alternative Seawater AG Employment Approaches Desalinization [in General,too expensive for Agriculture] Cold/deeper Ocean water to [via heat exchangers] precipitate moisture from the atmosphere Seawater Greenhouses [involve vaporization/re-precipitation] Direct Plant Seawater Irrigation Some Numbers: Some Numbers Sahara some 2E9 (2 billion) Acres 1.2 Acre Meters Required for Agriculture/Irrigation [per year] Average Sahara Elevation some 450 Meters ~ cost to pump 1.2 acre meters of Seawater to 450 Meters altitude [vertical lift only] some $1200/Acre 1 Acre produces 10-to-40 tons of dry Biomass per year I Ton of dry Biomass provides 16E6 BTU’s = 2.75 Barrels of Oil @ $60/Barrel of oil,1 ton of Biomass worth [after “refining”] ~ $165 [other estimates,which include Addit. Goodness factors [e.g. countering warming] are as high as $300-$700/ton] @ 20 Tons/Acre and $165/ton Value of an Acre of Biomass = $~3300 Irrigation Influences Upon Rainfall: Irrigation Influences Upon Rainfall “Irrigation can Represent an Enormous Perturbation of the Regional Atmospheric Water and Heat Balance” Cool,Wet Surface increases low level Atmospheric Instabilities,incites “Storms” Various Studies Indicate - - 18%-25% precipitation Increase [from only .4 acre meter Irrigation] - Irrigation increased Rainfall by 91% - Irrigation and Vegetation changes are clear dominating factors with direct influence upon atmospheric water content Halophyte [Salt-Plant] Utilization [Per Yensen]: Halophyte [Salt-Plant] Utilization [Per Yensen] Patents issued for Halophyte Crop[s] [Genetics,Genomics] 10,000+ “Natural” Halophyte Plants,250 of these are potential “Staple” crops Research ongoing on/for Halophilic [Salt-LOVING] Halophytes,The more salt the faster the growth… Huge areas worldwide are already salt-affected [1 B Hectares] and another Billion Hectares overlie Saline Aquifers. Over 100 halophyte plants now in “trials” for “Commercial” applications [Sample] Countries with Saline AG projects: [Sample] Countries with Saline AG projects China Mexico Eritria India Pakistan Israel Libya Jordan Tunisia - Current Status,Prototype Farms/Experiments for FOOD Egypt Iran Morocco U.S. Saudi Arabia Syria UAE Kuwait Australia Sudan Chinese Seawater AG Reporting: Chinese Seawater AG Reporting Genetically Modified [grown on “Beaches” using Seawater]: - Tomato - Eggplant - Pepper - Wheat - Rice - Rapeseed The Potential[s] for enhanced [Halophyte] Plant Growth via Nano/Bio Technology thought to be Large, 60% improvements thus far, “Only Beginning” - An Example Requisite Capability - Nitrogen Fixation [utilization/extraction from the air]: The Potential[s] for enhanced [Halophyte] Plant Growth via Nano/Bio Technology thought to be Large, 60% improvements thus far, “Only Beginning” - An Example Requisite Capability - Nitrogen Fixation [utilization/extraction from the air] On-going Research Areas: On-going Research Areas Enhanced Plant growth rates and enhanced “Salt-Loving” Reduced water/nutrient Requirements Irrigation Efficiency Improvements Plant /Lifeform tailoring for specific Bio-Conversion/Refining Processes ‘Safe”/’Contained” Saline/Seawater Irrigation Practices,Avoid-to-Obviate Fresh Aquifer Contamination Suggested Seawater Ag Biomass “Solution” Mix: Suggested Seawater Ag Biomass “Solution” Mix Seawater Irrigation near “dry” and flattish Coastal areas Saline irrigation where Saline Aquifers are available at Reasonable Pumping Depths Seawater Irrigation inland where Economics appear feasible Enhanced rainfall induced by Irrigation [the “Terraforming” aspect(s)] TerraForming -1: TerraForming -1 Altering a Planetary Surface to make it suitable for Terrestrial life Seawater AG for Biomass Energy can be of sufficient magnitude to qualify as Terra-Forming Humans have long practiced “Anti-Terraforming” with neither plan nor prediction It appears timely/necessary to attempt terraforming but with both Plan and Prediction… TerraForming -2 [Raddatz and Knom]: TerraForming -2 [Raddatz and Knom] The Biosphere/Surface vegetation plays a dominant role on climate Vegetation can affect continent-scale atmospheric motion[s]. The interaction between Atmosphere and land cover can be HIGHLY NON-LINEAR….. [Obvious] Terraforming Modeling/Computation Requirements/Inputs: [Obvious] Terraforming Modeling/Computation Requirements/Inputs Irrigated Land Area Type of Vegetation/Evaporation Rate Vegetation Coverage Atmospheric Particulate details [allow cloud formation at .1% super-saturation] Utilization of both “Boundary Layer Meteorology and Global Circulation/Earth System Models ETC…… Bottom Line Enablers/”Pull” - Saline/Seawater Biomass Irrigation: Bottom Line Enablers/”Pull” - Saline/Seawater Biomass Irrigation Oil Prices now high enough [and going higher] to make the economics worth looking into [again] H2 Infrastructure Costs & Storage issues Potential Halophyte Genomic improvements Global Warming,Green Energy Requirements Increasing shortages of Sweet water/”Arable Land” - Requires SERIOUS Forecasting…… Slide38: Advantages of Shallow Sea/Desert Production of Biomass (Via Seawater Irrigation - energy, warming, food,land, water) Closed CO2 Cycle (Obviates Global Warming) Food Petro-chemical feedstock [plastics etc.] ENERGY Terraforming, alter desertification etc. Preservation/Production of Fresh Water Rich Mineral source (Seawater) Utilization of “Wastelands” (Sahara, etc.) Seawater has 85% of plant nutrients Slide39: Frontier Energetics (Production/Storage) Biomass via saltwater agriculture Solar H2 production efficient visible light (vs. just ultraviolet) photocatalytic electrolysis of water CNT H2 storage, Zeolite H2 storage Direct plant and bacteria H2 production SMES/CNT magnets 2 to 20 X energy density of O2 - H2 fuel (in a battery) Efficient direct conversion (thermal to electric), “thermal diodes (~24%),Nano-Voids [~30%] Advanced Geothermal Slide40: Frontier Energetics (Production/Storage) LENRS and “nano-fusion” (ala G. Miley, DOE/NAVY),Muon-Catalyzed Fusion CNT Flywheels Isomers/Quantum nucleonics Several, ~105 X HE Offshore methane hydrate 106 greater than known natural gas reserves Hydrogen/Boron-11 Fusion - charged particle/Direct conversion,”Dense Plasma Focus fusion” Z-Pinch Fusion Slide41: Aneutronic H-B11 Fusion Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Fusion [QED,IEC,IEF] Produces Protons,Direct MHD Electricity Generation vice [Neutron] Thermalization Reduced Radiation Hazard[s]/Weight High Thrust-to-weight AND High Isp [via reduced shielding,magnetics,High Power Drivers] For SSTO,Payload Mass Fraction is ~ 14%,Launch Cost Estimate ~ $100/lb Slide42: Frontier Energetics (Production/Storage) Femto-second laser/other production of anti-matter/positrons Bose-Einstein condensate/Positronium storage of Positrons HEDM (MIC, SBER, nano-powders, cold silicon, solid H2, atomic C/B/H, cubanes, metastable He,Etc…) Bacteria-based fuel cells Plastic Nano PV,factor of 10 cost reduction,2X Efficiency [Nanocrystals] Piezo-Electric Energy Extraction [M-E] ZPE Deep Earth Prod.-Non-Bio Hydrocarbons Slide43: Antimatter Fuels/Propulsion Approaches Positrons - Stored as Positronium?,Gamma emission used for heating,also - via direct conversion could yield Electrical Energy for 2000 Sec. Isp High Thrust MHD Acceleration, negligible fuel fraction… Trigger Fission at 100% [vice < 5%] for fission “nuc” Propulsion Antihydrogen - Stored as Bose-Einstein Condensate,”Harvest” from Van Allen Belts Slide44: Energetics in the “Post-Petroleum” Age BioMass via Seawater Agriculture on Wastelands[Land,water,food.energy,warming] Plastic Nano PV Advanced Geothermal Genomic Bacteria H2 Production Artificial Photo-Synthesis H2 Production Photo-Catalytic Electrolysis of H2O H-B11 Fusion,LENR’s Wildcard - ZPE Conservation via “Light Diodes”,Thermal Diodes,CNT Computing,”Tele-Everything”, Fuel Cells,CNT-enabled weight reductions Slide45: Worldwide IT Revolution Comms/Computing/Sensors/Electronics Factor of E07 since ’59 [Moores’ Law] Factor of E08 to E12 further improvement [Silicon,Molecular/CNT, Quantum, Bio, Optical] Beyond Human Machine Intelligence? Automatics/Robotics “in the large” Immersive multi-sensory VR/”Holodecks” Ubiquitous multi physics/hyperspectral sensors [land/sea/air/space] Slide46: IMPACTS OF ONGOING IT REVOLUTION UPON SOCIETY Work (at home telecommuting, reduced local/corporal travel) Shopping (at home web based, (robotic?) delivery) Entertainment/leisure (at home immersive 3-D interactive/multi-sensory via VR/holographic projection) Travel (3-D/interactive/multi-sensory tele-travel) Education (at home low cost asynchronous, web based on-demand, highly motivational, life-long distance learning, .edu) Health (at home interactive tele-medicine) Politics (increased real-time virtual involvement of the body politic) Commerce (tele-commerce already ubiquitous) Tele-Socialization, Tele -[onsite] Manufacturing Slide47: SOME IT “PREDICTIONS” Quantum computing initially available in 5 years 15% of all power today is used by computers, will reach 60% by 2020? Wearable/implantable (on-person) electronics--comms, computing, sensory augmentation, health monitoring, brain stimulation Slide48: Global Warming “Solutions” Green Energy Conservation Genomic Biologics w/greatly increased CO2 Uptake Trigger Calderas [Nascent Volcanoes],Put massive amounts of dust in the Atmosphere Nano-Particulates spread on the monolayer of surfactant on the Oceans’ Surface to alter Albedo Gigantic reflective films/membranes in orbit Seed Oceans with iron to provoke/enable Phytoplankton Blooms Slide49: Nominal Power Densities ZPE……………………..E108 X Chemical Anti-Matter/Positrons….. E10 X Chemical Fission/Fusion………….. E6 X Chemical Isomers…………………. E5 X Chemical SBER…………………… E2 X Chemical Hydrogen……………..……..38 KWH/Kg HC…………………………..14 “ Advanced Flywheels………. .9 - 20? “ Batteries………….. ………. .04 - 10? “ SMES……………………… .0015 - ~100? “ Super/ultra Capacitors……… .0007 -8? “ Slide50: Energetics “Wild Cards” Being Worked Solitons for Low Divergence Power Beaming Positron Storage as Positronium High Efficiency Plastic Nano PV 30%+ Thermo-Electrics High Efficiency [KW/KG] Fuel Cells “On-Site” H2 Generation vice Storage [Zinc,….] Room Temperature S-C Tapping ZPE Controlled Nuclear Isomer Release SMES with CNT Magnets Lithium Tantalate Crystals Slide51: Soliton Energy Transfer….. Solitons are waves in non-linear systems which are non-dispersive,”maintain amplitude” Utilized in optical communications [information transfer],up to 1,000,000 Km thus far Physics evidently allows utilization for Energy Transfer,Not yet accomplished - Would change Energetics MUCH [DE weaponry, SPSats, Beamed Energy Propulsion,……] Slide52: First-Order Impacts of Nano upon Energetics [Improved Performance/Cost & Requirement Reductions] Fuel Cells Photovoltaics H2 Storage [Casimir Forces?] Supercapacitors Batteries Structural dry weight reductions [1/3rd-1/8th] Slide53: Hydrogen Sources Genomic Bio Photosynthesis “Artificial” Photosynthesis Electrolysis: - Direct visible light Photo-Catalysis - Plastic Nano PV Energy - Bio Mass [Incl.Seawater Agric.] Energy - Ocean Thermal,Wind Energy - “Usual” Energy Sources [Hydro,Nuc,….] Reformation [JP,Methane,Ammonia….] Coal Gasification[w/H20] Sulfur-iodine Thermo-chemical Cycle [w/H2O] Slide54: Hydrogen Storage Cryo [incl. Slush, Solid] CNT’s/Zeolites [Casimir Force Optimization,Doping]] , CNT Structure CNT Pressure Vessels, Lithium Nitride,Graphite Nanofibers Ammonia,Ammonia Borane [PNNL] Methane,Gas Hydrates Porous Magnesium Alloys Titanium doped Hydrides Glass/Polymer Microspheres Metal/Organic Frameworks [An] Outlook for H2: [An] Outlook for H2 Biologic H2 sources could provide a “Green” H2 Supply H2 Infrastructure would take too long to put in place [ compared to warming/petroleum problem[s] time scales] and is exceedingly expensive Hydrogen Storage is still nascent, Nano Tech including Casimir Force Engineering could “help” - Bottom Line[s]……Biofuel[s] [ using existing infrastructures] are/will be the Green transportation fuel of choice. Suggested Green Energy Best Bets/“Ways Forward”: Suggested Green Energy Best Bets/“Ways Forward” Seawater Ag, Aquaculture - Biofuels Nano Plastic PV Advanced Geothermal 20%-30% Efficient Thermoelectrics [ “Harvesting”, cycle efficiency ] SMES w/CNT Magnets [ 10X Chem storage?] Positron storage as Positronium? BTW - “Conventional Nuc Fission Fuel Cycle Waste a Serious ”Problem” [near term waste storage approach is casks on an open parking lot at an Indian Reservation……] Physics Outlook/Issues: Physics Outlook/Issues Quantum and Relativity do not “Merge” They do not explain “Dark Energy” They do not explain “Dark Matter” They do not provide an “understanding” of “Non-Locality” Where did the Anti-Matter Go?…… Many other “Unsolved Problems”….. The Great Unsolved Problems in Physics [ Smolin]: The Great Unsolved Problems in Physics [ Smolin] Combine Relativity and Quantum into a single, complete theory Resolve the problems in the foundations of Quantum Explain Dark Matter and Energy Explain the values of the some 20 constants in the Standard Model Unification of the Particles and Forces [ including gravity] Extant “Explanation” Approaches [Samples,Additional Degrees of Freedom, Experimental Verification TBD..]: Extant “Explanation” Approaches [Samples,Additional Degrees of Freedom, Experimental Verification TBD..] Time Reversals/Retrocausation Extra [Spatial] Dimensions - Many Worlds/Multiverses - String/M/Brane Theories [ to 11 Dim.] - 5 Dim. Larger Universe/ “The Bulk” “Larger Constructs” - Bohm Quantum Potential - Holographic Universe - Puthoff ZPAether - The “Bulk” What is Sought are “Explanations” for Dark Matter/Energy and Non-Locality Etc. which satisfy Occam’s Razor. Once Found/Determined the Ensuing/Enabled Technologies should be Seriously Revolutionary,including wrt Energy, Stay Tuned…….: What is Sought are “Explanations” for Dark Matter/Energy and Non-Locality Etc. which satisfy Occam’s Razor. Once Found/Determined the Ensuing/Enabled Technologies should be Seriously Revolutionary,including wrt Energy, Stay Tuned…….