From: Integrity Research Institute []
Sent: Friday, August 26, 2011 6:06 PM
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              August 2011


Dear Subscriber,


This month we are glad to present another breakthrough. This time it is in the realm of theoretical physics but directly affects how Casimir forces will be viewed from now on. The derivation of  "Spherical Casimir Pistons" (story #2) is best understood by the original work of Dr. Jordan Maclay who provides the historical, oscillating cantilever illustration for this article ( with his vision that it may be the basis for creating the smallest, self-powered motor in the world. In 2000, Prof. Maclay proposed to NASA that micron-sized surfaces might be custom designed to create either a push or a pull based on geometry, for "energy unlimited" (see COFE3 DVD). NASA awarded him the first zero-point energy grant in the US for the study. Now, a decade later, we find JS Dowker from the UK proving pistons can exist on a micron scale. To be honest, the "piston" oscillator is a popular area of study in the Casimir domain. In 2009, 108 scientists from more than 25 nations gathered to present papers on the Casimir forces, some of which were presented in a separate workshop on Casimir force pistons:( ). Another source of info is from MIT, which just released a comprehensive study on Applications of Casimir pistons in 2010 :( ).
To move onto more mundane future energy, it is gratifying to see story #1 review the latest IPCC finding that there is hope for 80% of the world's energy to come from renewables. Story #3 is also very hopeful since flywheels have been known to be a better energy storage medium than batteries (at least 20% better) and a better boost of power (at least 100% better). Also, with magnetic bearings and operating in a vacuum, the flywheel can outlast the application, such as a car. Now automakers like Volvo and Jaguar are finally getting the message. Along similar lines, we give KLM and Lufthansa a hearty congratulations for going green in the air (story #4), where pollution counts the most and has impact even the weather. Of course, it is great to keep tabs on wind power, which is now reaching for the 10 MW turbines with the help of the US DOE (story #5). A development of the direct-drive or gearless turbine looks like it will be the next breakthrough in that industry, which will allow higher speeds and power output.

  If you like having the best future energy developments delivered to your inbox, please visit our website to see how you can help us, either by donation, membership, or purchases. We are an all-volunteer, non-profit organization dedicated to scientific integrity in the energy arena. Thank you for your interest and support!



Thomas Valone, PhD, PE

1) COFE5 Joins Again SPESIF for Energy Breakthrough Conference
2) Advanced Reactor Gets Closer to Reality
3) Do EV's Create Jobs and Improve Economy
4)Venture Capitalist Back Away from Clean energy Manufacturers






1) COFE5  joins SPESIF Again for Energy Breakthrough Conference  Symposium 


Washington DC - Integrity Research Institute's Conference on Future Energy (COFE5) , is again teaming up with the prestigious Institute for Advanced Studies in the Space, Propulsion and Energy Sciences (IASSPES) from Madison AL to host a joint conference under the umbrella of Space, Propulsion & Energy Sciences International Forum (SPESIF) to be held in 2012 again at the University of Maryland. SPESIF peer review papers will now be published by Elsevier Science for publication in Physics Procedia.  Other exciting symposia that also are a part of SPESIF each year include the Symposium On New Frontiers In The Space Propulsion Sciences, the Symposium On High-Frequency Gravitational Waves, a Symposium on Astrosociology, and the Meeting On Future Directions In Space Science And Technology.


Conference on Future Energy Theme and Objective
The push for future sources of new energy is a long-term program and several Conferences on Future Energy (COFE) have been held in the past, with past Conference Proceedings available ( However, much of these new ideas, technologies, and concepts  have already been developed. Therefore COFE has the objective of being a venue to expose these worthwhile ideas while maintaining a flow of innovative theories and concepts and keeping the doors open for advances in more non-conventional approaches that could yield tremendous technological and economic dividends in both investment dollars and potential applications for future generations. The future energy umbrella includes energy, force production and bioenergetics.
Papers presented at the COFE section of SPESIF should deal with experiments, theories, and approaches that will help man achieve both a short-term and long-term solutions to fueless energy for electricity generation and travel, as well as drugless energy medicine. Short-term objectives support the near-term environmental initiative for humankind to live on the earth without burning fossil fuels and off the Earth, to the Moon and Mars. Long-term objectives will lay down the scientific foundation necessary for future generations to extend mankind's ability to survive in other parts of our solar system. These long-term objectives are more pronounced and designed to stretch the intellectual capabilities and imagination of mankind in advanced technical disciplines. This will broaden our understanding and usage of the space environment for communications, power generation/storage, and propulsion. Papers are invited in the following sessions:

D01. New Energy and Bioenergy Developments
D02. Hydrogen and Hydroxy Generators
D03. Alternative Electricity Generation
D04. Solar and Space Solar Power
D05. Advanced Nuclear Energy
D06. Bioelectromagnetics Developments   


The "Call for Papers" has been issued for the upcoming SPESIF-2012 joint conference of COFE and the other above-listed symposia, with abstracts due September 1, 2011 and draft manuscripts due a month later. Papers and presentations are invited in all technical areas of the SPESIF-2012, organized by IASSPES. SPESIF-2012  will be held February 29 - March 2, 2011, at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Papers approved by the Technical and Editorial Committees will be publishable in an American Institute of Physics (AIP) proceedings. Interested authors or presenters are invited to submit abstracts for approval by email through the technical chairs listed within the individual descriptions with a copy sent to the editorial chair at  for cataloging. The email submission should indicate in the SPESIF forum, number and title of the technical session in which they wish their abstracts to be considered. The general deadline for submission of abstracts for papers and presentation is August 15, 2010. After this date, approval will depend generally on space availability. The abstract guidelines/template can be found at : 

For More Information

Inquiries can be made by email to   or by calling (256) 694-7941.




2) Design of a Novel Electrostatic Microenergy Harvester  

Ambokar, Madhumita    Proquest Dissertations And Theses  2011.  Section 2502, Part 0652 128 pages; [M.S. dissertation].United States -- Texas: The University of Texas at Arlington; 2011. Publication Number: AAT 1493625.


Abstract (Summary)

The batteries have been a major source of energy for the electronic devices. However, the exhaustible nature of the batteries has encouraged the researchers to exploit the renewable energy sources for powering the electronics. Over the years, the researchers have tried to tap the stray energy provided by the ambient sources such as sun, wind, RF energy, vibration energy, etc. In the work presented here, an effort has been made to design a micro energy harvester, which would harness electric energy from the vibrations provided by the machine such as aircrafts, cars, engines, etc.


A variable capacitive device was designed such that the capacitance of the device changes with the change in the overlap area between the electrodes. The electrodes of the device were modified such that one of the electrodes was designed as a hollow cubic structure while the other electrode was inserted in it in the form of a stationary cantilever beam. A train of such modules was designed to obtain high capacitance values. Three device models were proposed where the number and the dimensions of cantilever beams were varied along with the dimensions of the cubic electrodes.


The devices were designed for the source acceleration of the range of 1.3-1.5g and the source frequency of 100 Hz. The displacement and the capacitance of the devices were determined by performing Finite Element Analysis (FEA) using the CoventorWare(TM) software. The capacitance values obtained from the simulations were then used to estimate the electrostatic energy that would be generated from the devices. The electrostatic energy was estimated for both charge-constrained and voltage-constrained conversion cycles. In the case of charge-constrained conversion cycle, the input voltage for the devices was assumed to be 10 V. On the other hand, in case of the voltage-constrained conversion cycle, a continuous input voltage of the 100 V was assumed to be supplied by an electrets material. The power generated was estimated by multiplying the energy with the frequency of vibrations (100 Hz). The device model number three named Model3_200CL203, was observed to be the best in terms of the amount of energy that would be generated. A volumetric power maximum of 1810 μW/cm 3 was estimated for a voltage-constrained conversion cycle, while the volumetric power of 21.64 μW/cm 3 was estimated for the charge-constrained conversion cycle.


A fabrication process flow was also proposed. The metal electrodes were proposed to be fabricated using the electroplating process. A eutectic bonding process was proposed for realizing the hollow cubic structure. However, a few fabrication issues, such as realization of high aspect ratios and unreliable bonding of narrow bonding sites of the width of 5 μm, were predicted. Hence, a few design modifications were suggested for all the devices so that the fabrication of the devices can be made less challenging. The effects of design modifications, on the displacement and capacitance of the devices, were also studied by simulating the modified devices in CoventorWare(TM).


  • References (56)

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3) Advanced Reactor Gets Closer to Reality 

 Kevin Bullis,  Technology Review July 2011.

Terrapower is pushing ahead with a reactor design that uses a nearly inexhaustible fuel source.


Terrapower, a startup funded in part by Nathan Myhrvold and Bill Gates, is moving closer to building a new type of nuclear reactor called a traveling wave reactor that runs on an abundant form of uranium. The company sees it as a possible alternative to fusion reactors, which are also valued for their potential to produce power from a nearly inexhaustible source of fuel.   


Work on Terrapower's reactor design began in 2006. Since then, the company has changed its original design to make the reactor look more like a conventional one. The changes would make the reactor easier to engineer and build. The company has also calculated precise dimensions and performance parameters for the reactor. Terrapower expects to begin construction of a 500-megawatt demonstration plant in 2016 and start it up in 2020. It's working with a consortium of national labs, universities, and corporations to overcome the primary technical challenge of the new reactor: developing new materials that can withstand use in the reactor core for decades at a time. It has yet to secure a site for an experimental plant-or the funding to build it.

The reactor is designed to be safer than conventional nuclear reactors because it doesn't require electricity to run cooling systems to prevent a meltdown. But the new reactor doesn't solve what is probably the biggest problem facing nuclear power today: the high cost of building them. John Gilleland, Terrapower's CEO, says the company expects the reactors to cost about as much to build as conventional ones, "but the jury is still not in on that."


Conventional reactors generate heat and electricity as a result of the fission of a rare form of uranium-uranium 235. In a traveling wave reactor, a small amount of uranium 235 is used to start up the reactor. The neutrons the reactor produces then convert the far more abundant uranium 238 into plutonium 239, a fissile material that can generate the heat needed for nuclear power. Uranium 238 is readily available in part because it's a waste product of the enrichment processes used to make conventional nuclear fuel. It may also be affordable in the future to extract uranium 238 from seawater if demand for nuclear fuel is high. Terrapower says there's enough of this fuel to supply the world with power for a million years, even if everyone were to use as much power as people in the United States do.


In the original Terrapower design, the reactor core was filled with a large collection of uranium 238. The process of converting it starts at one end, producing plutonium that's immediately split to generate heat and convert more uranium to plutonium. The reaction moves from one end to the other-in a "traveling wave"-until no more reactions can occur.  

In the new design, the reactions all take place near the reactor's center instead of starting at one end and moving to the other. To start, uranium 235 fuel rods are arranged in the center of the reactor. Surrounding these rods are ones made up of uranium 238. As the nuclear reactions proceed, the uranium 238 rods closest to the core are the first to be converted into plutonium, which is then used up in fission reactions that produce yet more plutonium in nearby fuel rods. As the innermost fuel rods are used up, they're taken out of the center using a remote-controlled mechanical device and moved to the periphery of the reactor. The remaining uranium 238 rods-including those that were close enough to the center that some of the uranium has been converted to plutonium-are then shuffled toward the center to take the place of the spent fuel.


In this system, the heat is always generated in about the same area within the reactor core-near the center. As a result, it's easier to engineer the systems to extract and use the heat to generate electricity.

One challenge with this design is ensuring that the steel cladding that contains the fuel in the fuel rods can survive exposure to decades of radiation. Current materials aren't good enough: for one thing, they start to swell, which would close off the spaces between the fuel rods through which coolant is supposed to flow. To last 40 years, the materials would need to be made two to three times more durable, Terrapower says.

The company is using computer models to anticipate how currently available materials would change over time, and is developing reactor designs that anticipate these changes. For example, if it's known that a material would swell in the conditions inside the reactor, the spaces between the fuel rods would be designed to accommodate this swelling, says Doug Adkisson, director of operations at Terrapower.


Terrapower has also developed designs for a passive cooling system. Like many other advanced reactor designs, Terrapower's uses molten sodium metal as the coolant. Sodium takes much longer to boil than water, which gives plant operators more time to respond to accidents. It would also be possible to use natural convection and air cooling in the event of a power outage-coolant wouldn't have to be continuously pumped into the reactor, as was the case at Fukushima. One danger of using sodium, however, is that it reacts violently when it's exposed to air or water.


Terrapower's next steps include finalizing the design and finding partners to build the plants. It's been in talks with organizations in China, Russia, and India. Gilleland says the company expects to have an announcement about partners within the next few months


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4) Do EV's Creat Jobs and Improve the Economy?  

RMI,  Matt Mattila and Justin Bellew
July 2011
While we may be in the midst of an economic recovery, many people are struggling due to high unemployment and the lack of job creation. This pain is not lost on the government, which has pushed for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for "pick and shovel ready" projects. One chunk of money went to the nascent electric vehicle (EV) industry-including companies such as American startup Tesla and foreign companies like Nissan- that are building manufacturing capacity in the U.S.

These funds are intended to promote the growth of an industry that will help the country shift away from fossil fuels and toward a cleaner transportation network. Will this investment also help to create jobs? The media and advocates on both sides of the debate have shouted their opinions, claiming everything from "Clean technology equals job destruction" to "EVs are a panacea for domestic employment." The answer lies somewhere in between.

RMI's interest in electric vehicles extends beyond transportation. The vision includes using them as a part of the electric system: to store power and deliver it back to a home or the grid during high-demand periods. With this additional capacity, EVs can help usher in an age of renewable energy and buildings with net-zero energy use.

As a way to support the EV industry, RMI and its partners have created Project Get Ready (PGR), a network of cities, utilities and industry players that shares best practices related to EV deployment. PGR regularly tracks partner cities' activities and the lessons learned. Data includes, among many elements, the cost and timing of charging station installation, utility efforts to encourage off- peak charging, and economic development.

Rather than review what the pundits claim about job creation versus job losses, PGR surveyed 20 utilities, cities, automakers and others on the frontline who deal with EV deployment. Respondents rated their agreement with statements on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is "strongly disagree" and 5 is "strongly agree."  In response to the statement "Vehicle electrification efforts in my area have been responsible for creating new jobs," the average score was 4.5, representing a very high level of agreement that vehicle electrification is creating new jobs.

However, the statement "It is well-established in my community that vehicle electrification efforts have had an impact on jobs" scored 3.2, only slightly better than neutral, suggesting a messaging or perception challenge rather than an actual job creation issue.

RMI's early findings are supported by some industry research. The Electrification Coalition (EC), which advocates for a large-scale EV deployment, claims that 1.9 million additional American jobs will be created by 2030 if we make a significant transition from gas-powered cars to EVs. While the EC plan is ambitious, some U.S. companies have already added real jobs. EnerDel added 1,400 jobs at its Indiana- based EV lithium-ion battery plant and plans to add another 3,000 to meet growing demand. California-based charging station manufacturers Coulomb Technologies has grown from two to 100 jobs over the early stages of vehicle electrification efforts, according to a company representative.

These are sustainable jobs, not only because they protect the environment but also because the industry won't disappear in the near term. To support EVs, you need additional local electricians and other contractors to install charging stations, jobs that cannot be sent overseas.

While we know jobs will be created for manufacturing, installing and supporting EVs, other valuable economic measures include net jobs, induced jobs and community multipliers. Net jobs are total jobs added minus jobs that are eliminated. Some suggest that with EVs, utilities would need to ramp up hiring to help accommodate this new component of the system, while others retort that with the advent of smart meters, many jobs, such as meter readers, will be phased out.

The community multiplier effect is the idea that buying products at locally owned businesses keeps money circulating closer to where it's spent, creating a ripple effect as those businesses pay their employees and spend locally. The argument here for EVs is two-fold.

First, a transition from oil to electricity as transportation energy offers an opportunity for domestic utilities to capture a share of the $224 billion that Americans spend on gasoline each year for their cars and light trucks. A significant percentage of this is spent on foreign oil, representing a large outflow from the U.S. economy. By contrast, spending on electricity would remain predominantly inside the U.S.

Second, the cost of electricity per mile is much lower than that of gas: A gas-powered vehicle costs on average around 10 cents a mile to operate (with gas at $3 per gallon), while an EV costs only about 2.5 cents. With gas at $4 or $5 per gallon, this difference is magnified, further contributing to the economic case for vehicle electrification.

An important consideration on the other side of the argument is that this cost advantage is accessible only to those who can afford the up-front price premium of EVs. In the larger context, however, EVs actually cost less. According to the Electrification Coalition, "Cumulatively, during the 2010-2030 period, households would experience an increase of $4.6 trillion (2008 dollars) in aggregate income, due to cost savings on fuel, if they switched to EVs-money that can be saved or spent on other goods and services."

While large-scale EV deployment is not guaranteed, many businesses and organizations are working hard to ensure that it becomes a reality. While it's difficult to argue against the environmental benefits, do you think EVs will help our economy as well?

Matt Mattila has been project manager for RMI's Project Get Ready. He is currently exploring opportunities in New York City.

Justin Lowell Bellew just completed an internship with Project Get Ready. He is in the 2012 MBA class at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is now working in sales at Pangea Organics.

5) Venture Capitalist Back Away from Clean Energy   

Kevin Bullis,  Technology Review .  August 2011

Their shift toward low-risk projects could strand innovative renewable-energy technology in the lab.
Solar Cities installed the solar panels in this house. Lately VC rather fund companies that install the roofs  instead of the makers of solar roofs.  


As governments around the world are scaling back support for renewable energy, venture capitalists are shifting their clean technology investment strategy. They're focusing less on high-risk technologies and more on ideas that could have a faster payoff but a smaller impact, such as technologies for improving energy efficiency. The shift is raising concerns about how innovative energy technologies will  be commercialized.


Venture capitalists have traditionally focused on companies with low capital requirements that can quickly get bought up or go public. Many Internet startups fall into this category. But in recent years, many venture capitalists have been enticed to risk longer-term, high-capital energy investments in clean energy, thanks to generous government subsidies in renewable energy markets. In particular, they spent hundreds of millions of dollars on solar-cell startups that need to build expensive equipment and factories to prove their technologies, and can take many years to generate a return on investment.


Now many venture-capital firms are going back to their roots. Dozens recently stopped making initial investments in clean technology companies, according to Dow Jones Venture Source. Many that continue to invest in clean technology are shifting to areas such as energy efficiency, which includes low-capital projects such as software for monitoring and reducing energy consumption, according to an analysis by the Cleantech Group.


The money that still goes to the solar industry is now directed to companies with small capital requirements. Rooftop solar panel installers are one example. (In June, Solar City got $280 million from Google to fund solar installations.) There's still some funding for solar-cell companies, such as for 1366 Technologies and Alta Devices, that are developing technology that the companies say can compete with fossil fuels. But "it's a harder place to raise funds for new ventures," says Sheeraz Haji, CEO of Cleantech Group.


The shift has been propelled by a number of factors. There are fewer good companies available. Many of the most promising companies-those based on technology developed over decades in labs-have already been funded. Large investments in conventional technologies, such as silicon solar cells, are also driving down prices and making it more difficult for new companies to enter the market.


And now government support is being cut, and some analysts doubt that the fast growth of the clean energy markets can be sustained. Germany, Italy, and Spain are cutting back subsidies for renewable energy. In the United States, funding for clean energy from the 2009 stimulus legislation  is running out. Next month is the deadline for projects to get funding from a loan-guarantee program worth tens of billions of dollars. The program is important for companies that want to build large-scale projects using technology that private investors would normally consider too risky. Budget cuts in the United States could also hurt funding for R&D and new energy technologies.


Globally, nearly seven-eighths of clean-energy funding-including financing for wind farms-goes to established  technologies, says David Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California, San Diego. "We're on the cusp of a severe challenge for energy innovation,"  he says.


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