The Great Energy Transition: A Sun in a Coffee Cup

August 2, 2016 6:32 PM0 comments

The Mill’s organization, Brilliant Light Power, continues to report progress in its efforts to find a replacement for fossil fuels. Whether you are or are not convinced that Randell Mill’s has discovered and is on the verge of commercializing the holy grail of energy, the story of his progress is well worth following. The implications of a technology that converts the hydrogen in water into virtually unlimited amounts of energy would be unlike anything the world has ever seen. The disruption to existing energy sources, which happen to be destroying our atmosphere, and have become so expensive they are dragging down the global economy, would have implications beyond measure.

There are two things to remember about Mill’s claims. The first is that our only source of information on his technology comes from what he chooses to release on his website. The site, however, includes a smattering of “verifications” – mostly by academics specializing in the field who have had access to his laboratory and say as far as they can tell his claims are true. Thus far the technology has not been tested by any outside government agency or university – which does not mean it does not work, only that it has not been widely verified.

Given that the foundation of Mill’s technology appears to violate several accepted “laws” of physics and chemistry, naturally the scientific and academic communities have been rejecting his claims sight-unseen for the past 25 years. This basically accounts for the lack of mainstream media coverage of the technology despite the civilization shaking implications should it work as advertised.

The second point to remember is that nobody has yet proved that Mill’s claimed additions to scientific knowledge are not valid. People have simply rejected his claims off the top of their heads based on the current understanding of how the universe works. However, scientific experiments always trump scientific theory. When and if working devices that produce commercial quantities of electrical energy become available for outside testing and verification – and Mills says this could come as early as the first half of 2017 – then it could be game over for his detractors unless they come up with alternative theories, and a lot of textbooks are going to have to be rewritten.

The new development in the “hydrino” saga was a demonstration and briefing that Mills gave on July 20 to a select group of investors, industry representatives, and academics at an unnamed engineering firm in Boston that is helping him develop the prototypes. The PowerPoints, videos of the more spectacular parts of the demonstration, and a description of the event recently were posted on the Brilliant Light website.

The most interesting news from the briefing, aside from the planned meltdown of a refractory pipe that melts at 4,700o F., was the announcement that the project is still on track to develop working prototypes in the first half of next year. This was confirmed by the Chief Technology Officer of the engineering firm that hosted the event and the Business Development Manager of the solar voltaic firm that is developing the concentrated solar cells that will be used in the prototypes. It was also announced that Brilliant Light Power and the unnamed engineering firm will be setting up a permanent demonstration facility and presumably will be conducting demonstrations of the technology for the media and other interested parties.

The PowerPoints that were used at the Boston demonstration start with the controversial assertion that some or perhaps most of the energy emanating from the Sun comes from the conversion of hydrogen into hydrinos in the sun’s corona.

Before the discussion of the commercialization plans for Brilliant Light’s SunCell, there was a demonstration of the incredible amounts of energy the technology is capable of producing. A section of refractory molybdenum-lined pipe was burned through in a matter of seconds by a reaction producing millions of watts and reaching 11,000o F. which would have been impossible with any known technology.

So far Mills and his hydrinos have been a laboratory phenomenon; the real question is whether, when, and how the reaction can be commercialized. The design of Mills’ SunCell has changed little since the briefing given in late June. The PowerPoints still say that there will be field testing in the first half of next year and that there will be a commercial launch in the second half. The first business model is still to lease the devices to electricity-consuming users at a flat charge of $.05 cents per kWh. The only “fuel” will be the small amount of water that supplies the hydrogen for the reaction.

In contrast with earlier thinking, the business plan now envisions starting with stationary devices for commercial buildings before tackling the more difficult mobile applications.

The final PowerPoint of the presentation, which was aimed at investors, asserts that the aim of this technology is to replace all electrification on earth with “completely off the grid personal power” that eventually will sell unmetered at a flat per diem charge. Using redundant SunCells at critical locations would be much cheaper than maintaining an electric grid from central power plants for reliability. There would be need for government regulation of this source of power.

So what happens from here? Assuming that Mills can come up with working prototypes in the foreseeable future there obviously has to be media, government, and public recognition that change is coming no matter what conventional science says. The disruptive potential of this technology, such as rendering obsolete much of the global fossil fuel industry, means that there likely will be an industry-sponsored backlash such as we have never seen. Most of the backlash will focus on charging that the technology is unsafe. However, there is more to the world than claims by the US fossil fuel industry to which China’s politburo pays zero attention.

For now all we have to do is wait to see how fast this technology progresses, whether it will save us from global warming, and provide enough useful jobs for everybody.

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