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Freshwater and Energy
Both, freshwater and energy are needed in abundance to maintain a civilization, and both are available in abundance.
Freshwater can be drawn from the outflow of the world's great rivers, especially the tropical rivers.
The outflow of the rivers can be distributed worldwide in large-volume arteries placed in the oceans, connected to submerged reservoirs.
Freshwater can also be drawn directly from the oceans by deep-ocean reverse osmosis desalination.
And for a boundless energy resource we need to look no further than the ionosphere that surrounds the Earth. It already serves as our interface to the electric plasma in space that powers the Sun, and also powers some of the large natural systems.
As for freshwater, it can be drawn directly from the outflow of the Amazon River, the Orinoco River, the Parana River, and also the Congo River, the four largest tropical rivers in flow volume. Together, they discharge roughly 300,000 cubic meters of freshwater per second, unused into the Pacific Ocean.
There is enough water flowing from these four rivers by themselves to feed a worldwide water distribution system, including the World Bridge. The movement of water through arteries floating in water, requires little effort as no elevation difference need to be overcome. This type of worldwide water management and distribution systems become critically important during Ice Age conditions that will be our future climate from the 2050s onward..
Ice core measurements tell us that the climate will then be 40 times colder in relative terms that the Little Ice Age had been.
The same measurements also tell us that the colder Sun will produce 80% less precipitation, by which many regions become deserts, unless water can be brought to them, primarily from the tropics.
The tropics receive the strongest rainfall in the world. It is unknown, however, how much precipitation the tropics will loose during Ice Age conditions.
The loss of precipitation may be far less in the tropics than the 80% reduction measured in ice core samples from Greenland. Under present conditions, the worldwide air circulation system converges in the tropics, near the equator.
Here the northern and southern circulation systems flow into each other and are lifted up to higher altitudes whereby they loose their moisture as rain. It is highly unlikely that this principle will change during Ice Age conditions.
The tropical rivers will thereby become the world's main source for freshwater in the harsh times to come, even during times of reduced precipitation.
Should the loss of precipitation affect the tropics more extensively than expected, so that additional freshwater becomes needed, large-scale ocean-water desalination offers a supplemental solution. But for this, improvements are needed.
The modern desalination process is inefficient. It is highly energy intensive. The reason is that extremely high water pressure is required against the filter membranes, in order to overcome the seawater's inherent osmosis pressure. And still more pressure is needed to achieve a high rate of water throughput. The combination of the two makes the process energy costly and low in output volume.
The leading edge designs are expected to produce in the near future upwards to 15 cubic meters per second at over 600 psi pressure.
The produced volume is minuscule in comparison with the current flow-volume of major rivers, but may be big when the rivers diminish or dry up up, for which desalination would become essential.
The energy cost for desalination is currently being reduced somewhat by energy-recovery technologies. It could be further reduced when the desalination filters are located in deep oceans, such as in the 5,000 meter range, where the 3% weight differential between saltwater and freshwater adds up to a pressure differential that helps the reverse osmosis significantly.
270 meters deep
(396 psi osmotic pressure)
minus pressure differential
(150 psi for 5000 meters)
The first 270 feet of the submerged filter's depth would be required to overcome the natural osmosis pressure of the seawater. In this case, a resulting freshwater well would be 270 meters deep, and the flow rate would be extremely low. However, if the filter membrane was placed 5,000 meters deep, so that the weight differential plays a role, the well depth would be raised 100 meters, to about 170 meters. Thus, the only energy cost that would remain, would be to draw the water from the effective 170 meter deep well, with high rate of flow.
But if the filters were placed 9,000 meters deep, the resulting freshwater well would be raised by the increased weight differential, to only 80 meters below the ocean surface. It would be comparable to groundwater wells. The pump-lift would then require a mere 120 PSI pressure.
In addition, the potential does theoretically exist, that the inhibiting osmosis pressure in seawater can be completely neutralized, electrically, because the osmosis pressure is the result of an electric effect.
Water has a slight dipole electric property. By this electric property it becomes electrically attached to the natrium atoms of the salt dissolved in water.
By the electric effect, water is drawn into a salt solution, towards the salt. When dissolved in water, the sodium chloride framework disintegrates. The positive natrium or sodium ions, and the negative chlorine ions become surrounded in solution by the electrically polar water molecules, which, with their electric polarity compete with the ionic bonds of the sodium chloride. The resulting electric interaction breaks down the tight framework of the sodium chloride crystals and dissolves them.
The electric attraction of the water (which is the solvent) towards the soluble (the salt), creates a tendency for attraction, and if unequal, for the attraction to equalize. If a barrier stands in the way that blocks the salt, but does not block the water, the attracted water is drawn through the filter towards the salt. It lifts the salt column until equalization is achieved.
In order for us to get the water to flow backwards, to flow out of the solution, a large amount of pressure needs to be applied for this reversal to happen. The needed reverse pressure for total separation, is termed the osmotic pressure. It forces the water to move contrary to its attraction. It forces it to break its ionic connection with the salt. Desalination is thereby, presently, a brute force process. And the force isn't trivial.
For seawater, the osmotic pressure is 396 PSI, or 27 atmospheres, the equivalent of a 270 meter tall column of water. This large osmotic pressure must be overcome before anything happens on the desalination front, unless the electric attraction can be neutralized at the point of the filter.
Since the electric neutralization has not yet been achieved, desalination plants typically operate with pressures from 600 PSI to 1,200 PSI to overcome the strong osmosis pressure and to achieve a large enough rate of flow.
While the theoretically possible potential to break the osmotic connection, electrically, has not yet been achieved; research is ongoing and is promising.
The use of carbon nanotubes as filter elements is being explored. The nanotubes have a unique electric quality.
Another promising new type of filter for desalination would utilize the recent advances in the manufacturing of graphene sheets. A graphene sheet is a sheet of graphite atoms linked together into a tight lateral lattice one atom thick. If the technology can be worked out that cuts the right size of holes through the sheet of graphene, a more than 100-fold increase in the desalination efficiency is deemed to be possible, according to research done at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
If the osmotic pressure could thereby be neutralized, the the deep-ocean-desalination well head would be 270 feet higher - high enough to reach the surface. We could then have rivers of freshwater flowing out of the oceans. The principle for this to be possible may exist.
Ultimately, desalination shouldn't be needed at the present stage, and wouldn't have been pursued if the worldwide water distribution system had been built. Desalination is inefficient. A large modern desalination plant can produce a million cubic meters of freshwater a day. The Amazon River drains this volume into the Pacific Ocean very 5 seconds. Desalination would only become important when the rivers were to run dry during Ice Age conditions, or were reduced to low volumes of flow. For this potentially exceptional case, desalination technology needs to be developed to the utmost as a fall-back option, even if it won't ever be needed. We must make these types of extraordinary scientific, technological, and economic efforts without fail, because, if we don't make the efforts, and we find us later in need of their products in times of crisis, our failing to move today may cause the demise of civilization in future times.
The principles apparently do exist that make a secure future possible, and for those principles that are not yet known, we must surge ahead in scientific discovery and discover them, and not allow us to be deterred if we fail at times and chase after ghosts.
One of the ghosts of pure illusion, that has been pursued as real, is nuclear-fusion power. The dream of harvesting nuclear fusion energy is a dream that will never come true. This is so, for the simple reason that no principle exists that would make this possible. It doesn't happen, not anywhere in the universe. It can't happen for the simple reason that nuclear fusion is an energy consuming process. The Joint European Tokomak experiment achieved fusion for one second with a 10-fold energy loss..
It took scientists decades of dreaming, and billions of dollars for building experiments, struggling to make the impossible happen, to recognize that the process isn't possible. Scientists had said to each other that if the Sun can do it, so can we. Except, they didn't realize that the Sun doesn't work the way they had imagined; that it isn't powered by nuclear fusion.
The giant National Ignition Facility, a facility the size of a stadium, has never, in all its years, achieved the once hoped-for fusion ignition. It now serves a different purpose. To judge the effort by its size, note the worker in the target chamber, in the lower-left image.
So, where do we go from here, after the dream has failed? Should we have never pursued advanced energy systems?
Scientists had an idea that this tiny pellet of fuel forced into fusion could unlock an energy-rich future for mankind. This energy-rich goal is still valid. Without an energy rich potential, we have no hope to meet the Ice Age Challenge.
During the 2.5 million years since the dawn of humanity, civilization began only 6,000 years ago, and large-scale energy utilization only a few hundred years ago. During this short time we have depleted our energy resources so intensively that we have only 60 to 200 years of these depletable resources left. How can we even hope to survive the next 90,000 years of the near Ice Age with that, and for millions of years thereafter.
The answer is that we must develop new energy platforms that provide more energy from a type of source that cannot be depleted, but is self-renewing.
We see examples of this type of a massive energy resource that cannot be depleted, manifesting itself as large-scale natural events. And we find that conditions exist for us to tap into this resource, since this resource is used almost daily by natural systems.
The source for this resource is cosmic, and the interface on Earth is the ionosphere. Sometimes big red sprites appear high above major storm regions that carry moisture to high altitudes.
NASA has been able to photograph two electric plasma bands encircling the Earth, which appear to be a part of the ionosphere. It even appears that the densest hurricane zones are located where the electric jet streams are situated directly overhead. In short, we are dealing with a cosmically generated energy resource that appears to be a part of the cosmic system of plasma that powers our Sun. As such, it can never be depleted. It may well become stronger the more we draw from it.
The natural systems appear to use this resource liberally, and evidently have so for a very long time. I would like to suggest that the time may not be far off when humanity taps into the system as the latest addition on the list. We desperately need an anti-entropic energy resource, and we need it fast, before the Ice Age begins, because the Ice Age will render all northern oil and gas fields inaccessible, and likewise most, if not all, hydroelectric systems.
The barrier that prevents the recognition of this near infinite energy resource is the false belief that our Sun is a self-powered nuclear-fusion furnace. According to this theory, plasma streams in space do not exist. The greatest energy potential in human history, remains thereby blocked, and humanity's future, if not its future existence, remains blocked with it.
Another very-large energy resource is available through the liquid-fluoride nuclear power reactor. When nuclear fuel is dissolved in molten salt, a simple self-breeding, nuclear reactor becomes possible that operates at high temperatures without a pressure vessel, and with passive safety features.
All conventional nuclear power systems utilize only a half a percent of the nuclear fuel. The rest becomes nuclear waste that piles up and becomes a headache, or is used in bombs for war.
The molten salt reactor, in contrast, utilizes nearly all of its fuel. It renders all of it fissionable. It typically burns thorium as fuel, of which large quantities exist in known deposits. It is also able to burn up the large stores of nuclear waste products, that are fast becoming a problem. In addition it can burn up plutonium from decommissioned nuclear weapons, which may soon become available in large quantities. And best of all, this reactor type is able to operate at extremely high temperature, in the range of a thousand degrees, which can be easily pumped to generate the process heat for melting basalt for the fabrication of the World Bridge infrastructures, and the World Water Distribution system. Without this immensely efficient high-temperature reactor, the World Bridge and the water system, will likely not be built. And best of all, the liquid fuel reactor has the theoretical potential to deliver from a single ton of its fuel, the equivalent amount of energy of burning 50 million tons of coal. Even if only 1/10th of the theoretical potential was realized, we would have an energy-rich future to look forward to, with a fuel resource to last us 10,000 years, which would become obsolete long before this time, by cosmic energy utilization.
This revolutionary reactor type, which would bridge us into the cosmic age, was pioneered in the USA 50 years ago. It was put on the shelf for the simple reason that it didn't produce anything useful for making nuclear bombs. With its re-implementation, the World Bridge will be built, and likewise the World Water system will be built, and in addition, it would bridge us over till cosmic cosmic electric-energy technology becomes available.
The bottom line is, there exists no physical reason for humanity to be choked into an energy-lean future, which only a scant few would survive, if any.