Amen to that. Unless of course he meant governments responsibility to
keep terrorists and others from traipsing across our borders to blow
stuff up, or insuring that all business is on a level playing field,
taxed equally and not monopolizing markets or simply invading our
country to change it's capitalistic nature, or not printing money
whenever it feels like it needs to spend another trillion on stupid,
Somehow I think he is closer to thinking government should seize control
of business and decide for us what is best as private business and the
individual are too stupid to figure out whats works best.
I'm probably reading too much into it, what the heck...
It is worth noting Denmark's successful energy independence
program......following the original oil price shocks of the 70's they
embarked on a very serious plan to avoid foreign energy sources(a then 99%
dependency). With little doubt they succeeded in freeing from the grip of
the OPEC oil cartel......They now lead in windmill technology (20% of
domestic electricity production) and use other renewable including solar,
biomass and thermal ......Drilling for North sea oil did help just a little
since they now export oil and they do have the highest electric and
gasoline($10 gal) cost of western Europe. Houses have fewer appliances,
families have fewer cars and mass transit is very popular in their tiny
country. People there do a remarkable job of conserving energy, somehow with
that choice between heating ones home and eating......food usually wins.
It was very clearly successful....the are energy independent from foreign
sources of energy (by drilling ironically) and lead in renewable including
windmills.....that they have the most unaffordable energy in the western
world is a small price (apparently) to pay for this success. As the approx.
model of the Dems energy program (without the drilling) I think this on
going expensive "success" should be clearly explained<G>......I do
personally find it odd that the Dems solution to expensive gas/oil is more
expensive alternatives and a clear aversion to increasing said supply of
Cut me a little slack, Lew. I've been working for a little over six
years to help make it happen - first with solar heating panels to keep
people warm up here in "cold country", then with direct solar-powered
(non-electrical) stationary engines for pumping and (if I can get the
@!%# pump running the way I think it should), direct solar-powered
air-conditioning to keep people cool in "hot country". I'd have taken on
more but my resources were a bit on the thin side.
The government and industry don't appear to be interested in any
technology that doesn't produce ongoing revenues capable of providing
mega-salaries to top execs and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of
I don't believe that for a minute.
You talked to EPRI or responded to DARPA or DOE RFPs on Advanced
Technology? You sent concept proposals to the National Labs for
cooperative research? You talked w/ various research
centers/deans/department heads at State universities? Looked at the
various Foundations who sponsor advanced research? There are zillions
of options for funding but it does takes work to go find them.
Eh? I'm not in business to produce concepts. If I were, then your
suggestions would make sense.
The national labs want me to pay them. Hell - if I could afford to pay
them, then I wouldn't need them at all. :-)
I've already been the university route once. It cost $80K (in 1978
dollars), resulted in proprietary technology being leaked into the
public domain by people who wouldn't/couldn't respect intellectual
property, and never did produce the contracted- and paid-for result. I
guess I should mention that the project ran almost a year over the
promised schedule and terminated because there was no way to continue
funding the (unproductive) effort. Ugh - I'm not interested in repeating
that experience. It's a "doesn't work in the real world" because the
people involved don't have any skin in the game.
There /are/ a zillion options for donating both what I already have and
what I'm working on - and bloody few for promoting what's already
completed and for accelerating development of proven concepts into
finished (marketable) products.
My projects aren't the point though, it's the entire approach to the
alternative energy that's incredibly inadequate, and I've lost hope that
anything will change significantly until there is a bona fide crisis. We
just don't have enough Pickens-types to get the job done.
I'll keep at it until I burn out, then dumpster the works and enjoy the
retirement I should have started in July of 2007.
I haven't minded the work to find options, but finding is the easiest
part - it's the overhead they bring with them that's the killer.
I was talking the incubation centers more than paid research from
either...there are at least 30 new startups in the Oak Ridge, TN, area
that are a byproduct of guys w/ ideas w/ the UT/ORNL incubation process
that are going concerns.
Taking on a project as committee of one is like pushing on a rope.
It's a tough process.
Have you tried to seek out R&D funds from private foundations or gov't
Lots of digging req'd, but funds are out there.
Tell me about it! Still, I've managed to push a couple of pieces of this
rope farther than I expected when I started.
Private foundations - no. Government grants - yes, until it was made
clear that I'd need to spend more than half of my time providing proof
that I was sticking to a well-defined action/budget plan that had to be
nailed down before the funds would be made available - and until I
learned that any deviation (for example, shifting resources from an
activity that needed less to complete than budgeted to another that
needed more than budgeted) from that plan could land me in prison. Two
other items that couldn't be covered by the grant were construction
(necessary for testing) and advertising (essential to
commercialization). I said thanks and backed away.
I don't have a lot of time available for digging, but I'm sure you're
right. So far, the sources I've found have all had an associated
overhead that would slow, rather than accelerate, the work to be done. I
figure I'm already going slow enough.
 Produce an inexpensive, maintenance-free, extended-service,
multi-horsepower engine that performs direct conversion of solar
radiation to mechanical energy.
 Use that technology to implement an inexpensive, maintenance-free,
extended-service pump capable of moving air and/or fluids using only
direct conversion of solar radiation to mechanical energy.
 Use both of the above to implement an inexpensive, maintenance-free,
extended-service cooling/refrigeration system using only direct
conversion of solar radiation to mechanical energy.
The original goal was to identify practical ways to improve availability
and quality of food and shelter worldwide using already known technology
which did not depend on the existence of any energy infrastructure.
That goal diverged into two fairly broad 'sub-problems':
 Keeping dwelling temperatures within some reasonable temperature
 dealing with the problem that the food-supply depends highly on
water - and that the water is all too frequently in the 'wrong' place.
The only universal energy source I could identify was solar. The first
goal made the obvious split into:
[1a] Solar heating, and
[1b] Solar cooling.
The first of these has been solved with a passive solar panel that is so
efficient it could be labeled "stealthy" - it eats radiant energy at all
wavelengths from UV to HF radio (I don't have a way to test LF and VLF)
with a remarkable efficiency - and it'll do that without moving parts,
without electricity, and without fuel anywhere between the Arctic Circle
and the Tropic of Cancer, and between the Tropic of Capricorn and the
Interestingly [1b] and  appear to be so closely related that their
solutions can use not only the same technology, but much of the same
hardware. Anyone who's interested in getting a glimpse of how this stuff
is shaping up is invited to browse through the pages linked below.
Sounds like you need what we used to call a "Rabbi", AKA: Someone who
can give you air cover and tell you where the "bombs" are planted.
If you have put together a good game plan, somebody like P Allen
(Microsoft founder) might be interested.
He has been supporting Rutan and his companies space research here in
Just a thought.
Today, a private foundation might be the most productive.
Which was also one of those in previous sources of funding I gave... :)
I'll reiterate EPRI (their actual name these days but the entity
formerly known as the Electric Power Research Institute) is always
looking for good ideas to fund. They're self-funded by (mostly) member
electric utilities. Spent quite a number of years w/ them as primary
client altho my specialty was I&C-related as pertained to advanced
controls/instrumentation of interest to the utilities. Last project
before retiring back to the family farm after Dad died was pulverized
coal flow measurement via turbulent noise and unique signal processing.
The intent is to go from concept to the device--at the time I left
and passed the work to colleagues, DOE had just picked up a sizable
fraction of the next step to fund a series of tests at the coal flow
facility EPRI was building. All again to indicate there's $$ for ideas
w/ merit and that have an end payoff.
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