On 01/18/2011 11:00 AM, Jed Rothwell wrote:
> Stephen A. Lawrence <sa...@pobox.com <mailto:sa...@pobox.com>> wrote:
>     So if they need some electricity to control it, why don't they use
>     the output to run a generator, and close the loop?  At 10:1, they
>     ought to be able to turn the heat output into enough electricity
>     to drive the thing with a good bit left over.
> Designing or purchasing a heat engine for this would be expensive and
> time consuming. In the first round of installations it makes more
> sense to use AC power for the control current
>     And at that point they'd be off the grid, and they'd be completely
>     shut of the old "Well are you /sure/ it's OU?" question.  And
>     wouldn't /that/ make a whizzy demo!
> It would make a great demo, and I would love to see it, but anyone not
> convinced by 0.4 kW in and 12 kW out will not be convinced by
> anything. At this stage, engineering a heat engine just to close the
> loop would be a distraction.

Sure.  But the quote from PW makes it sound like they have had this in
place for some time.  Seems like it would have been an obvious thing to
do back when they were setting up to heat the factory with a reactor --
unless, of course, the "factory" is one room and the "heating" is done
just by running the generator and letting it warm up its surroundings a
bit.  (Depending on where they are in Italy, the heat required might be
pretty minimal, come to think of it.)

And as to "not being convinced by anything" ... as long as the
conclusions are based on precise heat measurements there is room for
doubt.  Once the loop is closed there is no more room for doubt.  This
issue has come up time and again with perpetual motion machine
claimants, along with rumors of a factory powered by a magic motor. 
There *is* a good reason for closing the loop, and their assertion that
they could run with no electrical input, but just don't want to, sounds

I do not need to take measurements to be sure the furnace in this house
really works.  All I need to do is step in the front door, and my senses
give me a conclusive, albeit qualitative, answer.

Here is a truism:  /As long as you need calorimetry to determine if a
heater works, it doesn't work well enough to be interesting./  Their
device works well enough that they could dispense with the calorimetry,
just by running it /unplugged/ and showing that it still gets hot.  But
they prefer not to.  Errrmmmmm.....

> If the control current were 1000 times smaller than the output, you
> could use thermoelectric chips which require little engineering and
> work over a broad range of temperature. The Russians have some for
> camping and remote villages, which can be used with burning wood. In
> the U.S. there are some for small yachts which use burning natural
> gas, I think.
> - Jed

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