Friday, May 15, 2020

Solar Cells on Steroids

Solar Cells on Steroids

Yes, it’s the Sustainable Futures Report, I’m Anthony Day and it’s Friday 15th May. Welcome!

The Fusion Interview
This week’s theme is fusion - clean energy from nuclear fusion. I spoke to Michl Binderbauer, CEO of TAE Technologies, ( about the particular angle of research that his organisation is following. I call this episode ‘solar cells on steroids’ - you’ll see why.

No transcript is available of the interview this time, but here's a summary.
Michl spoke about his research into hydrogen-boron fusion, whereas most researchers are working on the deuterium-tritium reaction. The advantage of his approach is that it uses hydrogen and boron, both widely and cheaply available, unlike tritium, which is extremely scarce. The downside is that while the deuterium-tritium reaction starts at 150,000,000℃, hydrogen-boron needs 1,000,000,000℃. He believes that a breakthrough is now only some 10 years off. After that, the possibility exists to transform the heat directly into electricity: hence “solar cells on steroids”. If this is ever achieved it means we can move on from the Victorian engineering of boiler-turbine-generator which every conventional power station uses - even the nuclear ones.

It’s quite weird. You wait around for ages for a fusion physicist and then two come along at once. I’d just finished this interview with Michl Binderbauer, CEO of TAE Technologies when I got an invitation to a lecture by Dr Kate Lancaster of York University on the same topic. She’s following a different path. I believe there was a recording and I’ll pass on the link when I get it.
And finally…

Will sustainability remain a corporate priority after COVID19? According to ADWEEK, yes for some brands, maybe for others. Here's a link to the article.
And that’s it…
…for this week. The Sustainable Futures Report’s reach is increasing all the time and I’m frequently being approached to carry interviews like the one you’ve just heard. In fact I’ve got three more lined up and I may have to run extra episodes just so the topic is current. So, as usual, there will be another Sustainable Futures Report next week. You might even get two! 
Have a look at if you’re not already a patron and maybe give me a little something for my trouble.
I’m Anthony Day.
That was the Sustainable Futures Report.
Until next time.

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