Re: Casimir effect energy extraction

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Sun Jan 30 2000 - 20:50:23 MST

> Most solar tech doesn't
> > quite get it, yet, but some people are rich enough to do it anyway. This
> > is where fuel cells are for the time being, but not much longer, we hope.
> Solar tech is not affordable because it is made unaffordable. Do you
> really believes that an Intel Pentium III 500 Mhz is cheaper to mass-produce
> than a square meter of solar cells?

Unn. I don't have time to fight this one. But I'm not going to talk
apples and oranges. I have no hard figures for all the costs of either,
nor the actual lifetime of either, but solar cells suck as general
purpose power sources for people who spend half their time in the dark.

The economics of energy production are tricky, depending on where you
decide to stop counting. "Photovoltaic" is not synonymous with "solar"
is not synonymous with "renewable".

But the general form of my intent was, if you burn fossil fuel of total
energy yield X to run your "green" farm to produce methanol with a net
energy yield of Y, but you have received a subsidy of Z so you'll turn a
profit... well, you're not quite there yet.

> > 4) the second hard one: what will the impact be, both of the MEMS
> > manufacturing (probably manageable) and of massive tapping of the
> > Casimir force, should it take place? And other typically unaccounted for
> > costs, if any. Dilithium crystal Superfund site, anyone?
> So sorry, what is MEMS? Maybe I missed something on this thread?

Micro Electro Mechanical Systems. A catch all for small-scale mechano
tech too often mistaken for nano. They use it to make accelerometers for
automobile airbag systems now, and the "light valve" tv/computer/movie
projectors. The web site (which I suggest you visit) implies strongly
that that's the approach they're going o be using in the short term.

Imagine making little mechanical things with silicon chip deposition and
photolithography. Build up, etch out. Etch *under* some things to
produce 3D structures such as plates suspended by tiny vias over a tiny
canyon (looking a bit like a trampoline). Theory says that a pair of
perfectly conductive planes of infinite extent, separated by 10 nm (100
Angstrom, for you classicists) ought to experience an inward force of
about one atmosphere. The site does point out that the cycles currently
envisioned do no net work.

> > MMB
> Daniel

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