Jess Parsons

Jess Parsons

Posted March 19, 2012

Published in Green

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Six Clean Energy Sources Need More Power - Mad Like Tesla Book Review

Read More: consumption, energy, environment, nuclear, solar, space, technology, wasteful

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2012 is the International Year of Sustainable Energy for AllMad Like Tesla, by Tyler Hamilton, salutes people dedicated to finding cleaner alternative energy sources.

Nikola Tesla
was an extremely quirky inventor full of mad ideas about the world - many of which eventually proved to work.  Tesla didn't stop what he was doing if others ridiculed him.  He invented the AC induction motor, radio, remote-control (teleautomation) and more.  In 1931, at age 75, he published a design for a geothermal power plant and a way to generate power from the ocean's temperature differential.

These new energy source developers follow in Tesla's footsteps. Most of them have left successful mainstream positions to pursue clean energy using ideas generally considered impractical in our time.

You don't have to be a geek to enjoy this book, but it helps.  The language is accessible, but even technology-lite can get a bit heavy.  But I felt genuinely educated by the end of it.

Mad Like Tesla presents mini-documentaries on real projects in:

Nuclear fusion MadLT nuclear-fusion-prototype.jpg

The dream big brother to dirty and dangerous nuclear fission power - the sun does it, so why can't we?  Fusion has a bad reputation from past false hopes - including the truly ideal cold fusion concept.

There are two main approaches to fusion, magnetic fusion and inertial fusion, and the US government oversees projects using each kind.  But Dr Michel Laberge believes his smaller and much nimbler General Fusion has a real chance (well, 50% and rising).  General Fusion has mixed the best of both worlds into magnetized target fusion - which notably removes the most expensive parts from the design.

Solar power from space MadLT solarspacerace.jpg

Asimov wrote about it in 1941 - huge amounts of solar energy could be generated in orbit and beamed down to us.  Technology (and demand) may again have caught up with Asimov's imagination. 

Get even more energy with the rest of the review...