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____________________ Thursday February 6, 2014 ___________________


Outside the Box

Disruptive Energy Generation

London - With ever-declining reliability in supply and escalating electricity costs, more Ontario manufacturers are moving south. Remaining employers are hesitant to expand or to hire. At the same time the government talks about reducing the number of regional distribution utilities in a desperate attempt to obtain economies of scale needed to attract investment for upgrading legacy infrastructure. Old nuclear and coal plants require expensive retro fits, and transmission lines need to be expanded. Meanwhile solar installations by major industries and big-box retailers cut into the traditional captive customer base. Such then are some of the background economic metrics as the specter of LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactors) suddenly replacing both fossil-fueled plants and nuclear ones appear. And, the new distributed technology ultimately makes redundant an extensive national and international electrical grid.

Many readers will say, “What the hell is LENR?” Basically it is a form of energy where hydrogen interacts with nickel to create excess heat. LENR is not radioactive and there are no waste products. Low Energy Nuclear Reactors were perfected over the last couple of years by Italian and by American experimenters. As soon as the portable units reached the manufacturing stage, a couple of aggressive Asian countries granted patents while the US Patent Office played domestic politics by declaring “Cold Fusion had no utility.” It is also likely the US government wanted to ensure that research protect research grants continued to support hot fusion. A South Korean company promptly secured rights to produce and market the Brillouin LENR boiler, and a Chinese firm did much the same with Rossi’s E-Cat. China will now move quickly with these cheap and clean units to fix its air pollution problem, and allow its energy intensive industries to become even more competitive in world markets.

So until another company, perhaps Defkalion (Can) or BackLight Power (US) get Canadian and/or US patents, North American countries have no alternative but to import a game-changing technology. If Canada does not get a US green light on critical pipeline proposals, it might consider an end-run by immediately granting Canadian LENR patents to all comers. Such action is inevitable anyway, so we might as well do it now. This fixes our unemployment problem. That however, is unlikely to happen because some of our ostrich-like policy makers have their heads stuck in the tar sands.
In fine tuning Ontario’s Long Term Energy Plan, the Minister in charge seemed to sense that just over the horizon was a cool solution to the energy mix quandary, and so he opted not to entrench nuclear in the plan. Surprisingly, he had the courage to quench coal-fired plants and to defer refurbishing of aged nuclear ones. Our astute visionary might have made funds available to universities for research and innovation on the means to replace dirty coal and dangerous nuclear

Submitted by Jim Sweeney, London, Ont.

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January/February 2014


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