Against a backdrop of dwindling fossil fuel reserves and climate change concerns, Daniel Nocera of MIT in 2006 wrote an article in Daedalus stating that in 2002 the world "burned energy at a rate of 13.3 TW…" (terawatts) with a projection that "if 9 billion people adopt the current standard of living for a US resident... the world would need an astronomical 102 TW of energy in 2050."
The challenge is to provide this energy in a cost effective and environmentally benign manner. The Dirigo (deer-uh-go, meaning "I Lead") Energy Institute, or DEI, (see www.lowearthorbitnow.org) is a Maine based research and development nonprofit corporation started in 2007 to respond to this challenge.
In order for DEI to select an energy source for investigation it must be available from now until the Sun expands into a Red Giant, it must not be under development by anyone else to the point of it already being a viable energy source, and all national governments must have unrestricted availability to use the source to provide power to their respective countries. This latter requirement led to the DEI motto of “Power without Borders.”
Given these ground rules, the projected DEI order of development is:
1. MIT is working on a concept study to build a pebble bed reactor that could be manufactured at some central location and then transported to a remote site and assembled on a modified LEGO modular basis. If their concept study, scheduled for completion by the end of March, proves to be cost effective, DEI will investigate an extension of this design such that the entire plant can be built in a shipyard and then barged in an essentially completed condition for final set up at the operating site. FYI, in the early 90s MIT was developing a nuclear power plant concept that is the precursor to this design, which I investigated for its volume production in shipyards. In that fuel can be derived from the four billion plus tons of uranium suspended in an equilibrium condition in the ocean, this falls within the above ground rules giving all countries equal access to this source, which will be available until the Sun expands into a Red Giant.
2. A wind-wave converter suitable for operation in the 40 to 50 degree Southern Latitudes sailors refer to as the "roaring forties." I worked briefly in the mid nineties with the now deceased inventor Dr. Edward Jay Schremp. It was obvious to many, or at least to the two of us, that his invention had the potential to solve all the world’s energy problems for all time. Unfortunately, he was never able to find the 50 million dollars I estimated it would require to develop a prototype which would prove, or disprove, its ability to do so in a cost effective manner.
3. There is enough potential in the temperature difference between hot surface water and deeper cold water at selected locations within 20 degrees of the equator to be a major source of the world’s energy. This potential can be recovered through an OTEC (ocean thermal energy conversion) process with Sea Solar Power being the leader in the industry for its development.
4. Solar power satellites in geostationary orbit have the inherent ability to solve all the world’s energy problems for all time. Space Solar Power Workshop has been working on this concept for many years and, in such capable hands, all DEI need do at this time is stand on the sidelines and cheer.
In addition to these programs, DEI will publicize the efforts of others to include solar power of Daniel Nocera, polywell fusion, and any wild cards (including but not limited to Blacklight Power and Zero Point Energy) that might appear on the scene.