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17 minutes ago, HvP said:

The difficulty is choosing additives that are economical, sustainable, non-toxic, and aren't themselves sourced from petrochemicals

And that makes total sense, especially the not sourced from petrochemicals part.  I feel like it was 2015-16 time frame is when I saw that article.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The thing is, I don't see why the petrochemical industry has to die completely simply because the petrofuel industry does. Extraction will drop drastically, certainly, but there will always be a niche for ICE of one fuel or another (H2, lol). More importantly, the value of "black gold" will be based more on using that chemical cocktail as feedstocks for industry..

Unless we're going to synth everything up from vegetable oils and animal fats...

Oh right, SPS.... Those microwave power beams could be useful for staying warm in the polar regions, or if there's an ice age...

Edited by StrandedonEarth
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1 hour ago, StrandedonEarth said:

The thing is, I don't see why the petrochemical industry has to die completely simply because the petrofuel industry does. Extraction will drop drastically, certainly, but there will always be a niche for ICE of one fuel or another (H2, lol). More importantly, the value of "black gold" will be based more on using that chemical cocktail as feedstocks for industry..

It won’t really. Even in the IEA’s most aggressive net-neutral-by-2050 forecasts there will still be daily production of roughly 24 million barrels of oil per day, down from a peak of ~104 sometime mid 2020s.

However, electricity, transport, and heating are three enormous sources of emissions that can be transformed by renewable energy sources and different technologies. All of those sectors transitioning will put enormous downward pressure on the petrochemical industry.

 

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10 hours ago, Terwin said:

According to This Article we currently know about roughly 230 years worth of uranium fuel at current usage, and further exploration is likely to double this.(not including things like sea-water extraction)

This means, we should spend it completely long before we can utilize it many times more effectively.

 

10 hours ago, Terwin said:

But Uranium is not the only option for fission, Thorium is more common than Uranium and roughly 100% of Thorium is useable as nuclear fuel(as opposed to 0.7% of uranium).

The induced decay makes 100% of uranium usable. Even nothing to compare. The fission energetics is a loss of limited fuel.

 

10 hours ago, Terwin said:

But Uranium is not the only option for fission, Thorium is more common than Uranium

"how much uranium"

Quote

As of 2017, identified uranium reserves recoverable at US$130/kg were 6.14 million tons (compared to 5.72 million tons in 2015). At the rate of consumption in 2017, these reserves are sufficient for slightly over 130 years of supply.

"how much thorium"

Quote
Thorium is found in small amounts in most rocks and soils. Soil commonly contains an average of around 6 parts per million (ppm) of thorium. Thorium occurs in several minerals including thorite (ThSiO4), thorianite (ThO2 + UO2) and mopedantte.
...
Thorium resource estimates.
Country Reserves
World Total 1,200,000
Quote
USGS Estimates in tonnes (1999)[18]
Country Reserves
Australia 300,000
India 290,000
Norway 170,000
United States 160,000
Canada 100,000
South Africa 35,000
Brazil 16,000
Other Countries 95,000
World Total 1,200,000

 

USGS Estimates in tonnes (2011)
Country Reserves
India 963,000
United States 440,000
Australia 300,000
Canada 100,000
South Africa 35,000
Brazil 16,000
Malaysia 4,500
Other Countries 90,000
World Total 1,913,000

6 > 2

 

10 hours ago, Terwin said:

Fusion will be great if/when we can get it to produce power in an economic fashion, but we are not there yet, and there are a lot of hurdles yet to pass to get there. 

Quote

Renewables made up 17.1 percent of electricity generation in 2018, with hydro, wind, and biomass making up the majority. That's expected to rise to 24 percent by 2030. Most of the increase is expected to come from wind and solar

and minus the hydroenergetics we can say that

10 hours ago, Terwin said:

Fusion  Green energetics will be great if/when we can get it to produce power in an economic fashion, but we are not there yet, and there are a lot of hurdles yet to pass to get there.

 

1 hour ago, southernplain said:

However, electricity, transport, and heating are three enormous sources of emissions that can be transformed by renewable energy sources and different technologies. All of those sectors transitioning will put enormous downward pressure on the petrochemical industry.

Much more realistic is to equip the CO2 manufacturers with deoxidization equipment, that bet on windmills.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 6/4/2021 at 11:25 PM, benzman said:

Possibly not, but economics is certain to.  Nuclear power stations are horrendously expensive to build, take many years to build and are horrendously expensive to decommission at the end of their life. Not to mention the problem of safely disposing of a waste  the remains highly dangerous for literally millennia. Solar farms, wind farms, wave power, geothermal and batteries are all vastly cheaper. As a point of interest, Scotland in 2020 produced 97.4 % of its energy from renewables.  They would have probably reached 100% had they not exported some to England.

  Nuclear power may have sounded like a good idea back in the nineteen-fifties but history has shown otherwise.

 

the problem is that you can't get a good amount of renewable energy everywhere on earth, and a small nuclear reactor (for example for sience stations) is really good

and just because humans can be stupid when it comes to handling dumb reactors and mediocre reactors with a bad location doesn't mean that we should damn fission

On 6/8/2021 at 6:55 AM, kerbiloid said:

 

 

"how much uranium"

"how much thorium"

 

yeah, many/most critics completely miss thorium, which is just better in like every way (except in one) than uranium as a fission fuel

and thorium is much more ambundant

and much easier to mine

and doesn't need refinement basically

and gives more energy

and leaves less nuclear waste

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9 minutes ago, Starhelperdude said:

and thorium is much more ambundant

Please, reread that post.

 

identified uranium reserves recoverable at US$130/kg were 6.14 million tons

 

Thorium resource estimates.
Country Reserves
World Total 1,200,000
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1 minute ago, kerbiloid said:

Please, reread that post.

 

identified uranium reserves recoverable at US$130/kg were 6.14 million tons

 

Thorium resource estimates.
Country Reserves
World Total 1,200,000

still, thorium is easier to get and only needs minimal refinement

and it yields more

and it creates less waist

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1 hour ago, Starhelperdude said:

and it creates less waist

From the makers of Uranium™, comes Thorium™. Same great taste, less filling!

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21 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Please, reread that post.

That's odd, because generally they say thorium is ~3X more abundant than uranium in concentration—but in the realm of economically extractable Th, they are apparently about the same.

The different cycles used probably matter here. What % of the mined Th is immediately useful compared to U which is mostly 238, and needs to be 235.

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20 minutes ago, tater said:

What % of the mined Th is immediately useful compared to U which is mostly 238, and needs to be 235.

It doesn't need. The fuel uranium is just several percent rich..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spent_nuclear_fuel#Uranium

So, in sense of usability in reactor they don't differ much. Just Th needs U or Pu because it can't support the chain reaction on its own.

But anyway, as the "depleted fuel" consists mostly of poisoned but unused fuel, it's a good way to waste most part of both uranium and thorium.

The thorium is not currently widely used. Mostly to produce 233U for nukes.

And there is a lot of uranium in sea water.

So, no. Thorium is a good spice for future hybrid fusion-fission reactors, but not now, and not as main fuel.

As well, the current fission reactors is a wasting of precious actinides in highly ineffective manner.

Let them stay in ground till the fusion rise. There is a lot of carbon to extract, burn, deoxidize, and turn into plastic bags.

The nuka time will come in a century.

Edited by kerbiloid
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11 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

So, in sense of usability in reactor they don't differ much. Just Th needs U or Pu because it can't support the chain reaction on its own.

Th produces U233 which then splits and turns more Th into U233.

You need some neutrons to start, but after that it is self-sustaining.

11 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

But anyway, as the "depleted fuel" consists mostly of poisoned but unused fuel, it's a good way to waste most part of both uranium and thorium.

Liquid Salt is the preferred design for Thorium reactors, this includes a fuel reprocessing step that separates out the U233 to send into the core and the used/poison fuel which can be dumped.

As we are dealing with liquids instead of specifically designed fuel pellets, it is a lot easier to keep using the 'unburned' fuel, as you need to chemically separate out the U233 already, so removing the depleted fuel at the same time is not a big addition.

 

11 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

The thorium is not currently widely used. Mostly to produce 233U for nukes.

Not being able to afford to dispose of the Thorium ore as 'radioactive waste' is a big part of why rare earth mining in the US could not compete with rare earth mining in china.  Turning that cost center into a profit center might well help resume rare earth mining in the US.

11 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Let them stay in ground till the fusion rise. There is a lot of carbon to extract, burn, deoxidize, and turn into plastic bags.

The nuka time will come in a century.

Outside of nuclear bombs, I am not aware of any fusion designs that utilize fission for ... anything.

When you say we need to reserve fission fuel to use for fusion reactors, to me it sounds a bit like saying we need to reserve horse-feed for use in automobiles.

(Or that you want to scour the earth clean of complex life using fission pumped fusion bombs)

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1 hour ago, Terwin said:

Th produces U233 which then splits and turns more Th into U233.

Th produces something under the neutron flow from U or Pu.

It can't produce enough neutrons to run chain reactions on its own.

There are no Th reactors. Only U/Pu reactors with Th as passive element.

1 hour ago, Terwin said:

Liquid Salt is the preferred design for Thorium reactors, this includes a fuel reprocessing step that separates out the U233 to send into the core and the used/poison fuel which can be dumped.

Exactly. The design. Any working powerplant?

And anyway any fission reactor can't burn more fission fuel than it's required to support the chain reactions.
I.e. several percent in the best case. Then you need to extract and reprocess the highly radioactive and chemically active substance.
Irl just bury it underground.

A hybrid fusion-fission reactor does not need critical density to run, because its fission reaction is not self-supporting, but induced.

So, while a fission reactor is mostly a wasting of fuel, the hybrid fusion-fission reactor can burn it totally.

The same amount of uranium can provide tens times more enertgy from the same piece of ore.

1 hour ago, Terwin said:

As we are dealing with liquids instead of specifically designed fuel pellets

we face problems with highly radioactive liquids flowing in pipes, while the traditional one at least keeps the fuel solid and encapsulated.

Any leakage is a little Chernobyl, can it have more chances to be implemented irl rather than in projects?

1 hour ago, Terwin said:

rare earth mining

Rare earth are lantanoids. Thorium just presents in their ore.
The lantanoids have much wider use than thorium, and there is always a lack of them, as most of them are mined in China. Thorium is their by-product.

1 hour ago, Terwin said:

I am not aware of any fusion designs that utilize fission for ... anything.

Then have more read on this topic. Since 1980s one of main designs of fusion reactors was a fission envelope with low-power fusion core, producing neutrons and inducing the fission.

1 hour ago, Terwin said:

When you say we need to reserve fission fuel to use for fusion reactors, to me it sounds a bit like saying we need to reserve horse-feed for use in automobiles.

Horses can reproduce, uranium can't.

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18 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Th produces something under the neutron flow from U or Pu.

It can't produce enough neutrons to run chain reactions on its own.

There are no Th reactors. Only U/Pu reactors with Th as passive element.

neutron+Th232-> Th233 (hl 21 min)-> Pa233(hl 26 days)-> U233

U233 produces 2.38 neutrons per neutron capture, allowing this process to be self-sustaining.  (Ref: https://www.radioactivity.eu.com/site/pages/Thorium_Fuels.htm )

I find it odd that you would classify the fertile fuel source to be a passive element.

Sure the easiest way to kick-start a thorium reactor is using either plutonium or previously produced U233, but that is just the kick-start.

 

18 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Exactly. The design. Any working powerplant?

There was a research device where they omitted the breeding blanket in favor of taking neutron measurements where the concept was proven to work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten-Salt_Reactor_Experiment

 

18 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Then have more read on this topic. Since 1980s one of main designs of fusion reactors was a fission envelope with low-power fusion core, producing neutrons and inducing the fission.

I did a quick check of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_power and it only lists Hydrogen(including duterium and tritium), helium, and boron as potential fuels.  Would you care to provide a link where fission provides anything more direct than providing the electricity to run the lasers to initiate fusion?  Unless I missed it, it seems that no one has bothered to update Wikipedia with this approach that you claim has been the best option for fusion power for the last 40 years.

 

19 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

And anyway any fission reactor can't burn more fission fuel than it's required to support the chain reactions.
I.e. several percent in the best case. Then you need to extract and reprocess the highly radioactive and chemically active substance.
Irl just bury it underground.

A hybrid fusion-fission reactor does not need critical density to run, because its fission reaction is not self-supporting, but induced.

So, while a fission reactor is mostly a wasting of fuel, the hybrid fusion-fission reactor can burn it totally.

The same amount of uranium can provide tens times more enertgy from the same piece of ore.

we face problems with highly radioactive liquids flowing in pipes, while the traditional one at least keeps the fuel solid and encapsulated.

Any leakage is a little Chernobyl, can it have more chances to be implemented irl rather than in projects?

The molten salt reactor design should be able to most if not all of the thorium.

The only hybrid fission-fusion devices I have ever heard of are nuclear bombs, not reactors, there is a *big* difference.

Not all reactors waste fuel the same way, the reasons fuel pellets are not re-processed to extract the remaining useable fuel are cost and politics, short term it is cheaper to just discard them, long term is it more expensive, but balance sheets are reported quarterly, not per decade.

Those 'highly radioactive  fluids' are molten, and would quickly solidify if exposed to an uncontrolled environment, basically containing themselves.

 

 

If you wish for me to consider any additional replies, please include references to support your claims, in particular that 'hybrid fusion-fission reactor' design that you have been touting as the cure-all for the world's future power problems.

 

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https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=ru&tl=en&u=https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ториевый_топливный_цикл

Quote

HistoryEdit

Initial interest in the thorium cycle was motivated by concerns about the limited world's uranium resources. It was assumed that after the depletion of uranium reserves, thorium would be used as an additive to uranium as a fissile material. However, since uranium reserves are relatively large in many countries, interest in the thorium fuel cycle has faded. The notable exception was India's three-stage nuclear power program. [5] In the 21st century, thorium's potential for nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear waste reduction has led to renewed interest in the thorium fuel cycle. [6] [7] [8]

In the 1960s , part of the thorium fuel cycle was demonstrated in Oak Ridge National Laboratory experiments with  a molten salt reactor fueled by the isotope U-233. Experiments with molten salt reactor (MSR or Molten salt reactor, MSR) necessary for estimating capacity thorium, thorium fluoride used (IV) as melt, eliminating the need for production of fuel cells. The WSR program was closed in 1976 after its patron, Alvin Weinberg, was fired. [nine]

In 2006, Carlo Rubbia proposed the concept of an accelerator driven system (ADS), which he saw as a new and safe way to generate nuclear power using existing accelerator technologies. The Rubbia concept provides an opportunity to avoid the accumulation of high-level nuclear waste by producing energy from natural thorium and depleted uranium . [10] [11]

Kirk Sorensen, former NASA scientist and chief technologist Flibe Energy for a long time is the promoter of the thorium fuel cycle and particularly molten salt reactor thorium fluoride (liquid fluoride thorium reactor, LFTR) . During his time at NASA, he first explored thorium reactors as an option for providing energy to lunar colonies. Sorensen founded energyfromthorium.com in 2006 to promote and disseminate information about this technology. [12]

In 2011, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that while there are no major technical barriers to using the thorium fuel cycle, the existence of light water reactors leaves little incentive for any significant market penetration of this technology. Therefore, there is little chance that the thorium cycle will replace conventional uranium in the nuclear power market, despite its potential benefits. [13]

Quote

disadvantagesEdit

There are several difficulties in using thorium as a nuclear fuel, in particular for solid fuel reactors:

Unlike uranium, natural thorium contains only one isotope and has no fissile isotopes, so fissile materials such as U-233 or U-235 must be added to it for a chain reaction . This, together with the high sintering temperature of thorium oxide, complicates the manufacture of the fuel. At Oakridge National Laboratory in 1964-1969 experiments were carried out with thorium tetrafluoride as the fuel of a molten salt reactor , in which, as expected, it would be easier to separate impurities that slow down or stop the chain reaction.

In an open fuel cycle (i.e. using U-233 in situ), a high burnup is required to achieve a favorable neutron balance. Although thoria shows the degree of burn-170,000 megawatt-hours / ton and 150,000 megawatt-hours / ton power Fort Saint Vrain and ABP accordingly, it is difficult to catch up with respect to this parameter light water reactors (LWR), which constitute the vast majority of existing reactors.

In the open thorium fuel cycle, the residual long-lived isotope U-233 is wasted.

Another problem with the thorium fuel cycle is the relatively long time it takes for Th-232 to convert to U-233. The half-life of Pa-233 is about 27 days, which is an order of magnitude longer than that of Np-239. As a consequence, the existing Pa-233 is converted to thorium fuel. Pa-233 is a good neutron absorber and although it ultimately produces the fissile isotope U-235, it requires the absorption of two neutrons, which degrades the neutron balance and increases the likelihood of transuraniums being produced .

In addition, if solid thorium is used in a closed fuel cycle in which U-233 is recycled, remote control is required in fuel fabrication due to the high radiation level of the U-233 fission products. This is also true for secondary thorium due to the presence of Th-228, which is part of the U-232 decay chain. Further, unlike proven technologies for the disposal of uranium fuel waste (for example, PUREX ), technologies for processing thorium (for example, THOREX) are only at the stage of development.

While the presence of U-232 complicates matters, there are published documents showing that U-233 was used once in a nuclear test . The United States tested a composite U-233-plutonium bomb during Operation Teapot in 1955, albeit with a much weaker effect than expected. [21]

Although thorium fuel produces far fewer long-lived transuranium elements than uranium, some long-lived actinides have long-term radiological effects, especially Pa-231.

Advocates for liquid nuclear and molten salt reactors such as the LFTR argue that these technologies offset the thorium deficiencies present in solid fuel reactors. Since only two liquid fluoride reactors (ORNL ARE and MSRE) have been built and none of them used thorium, it is difficult to judge the real benefits of these reactors.

Quote

List of thorium reactorsEdit

Information source: IAEA TECDOC-1450 “Thorium Fuel Cycle - Potential Benefits and Challenges”, Table 1: Thorium utilization in different experimental and power reactors. [17] The table does not show the Dresden 1 reactor (USA), where “thorium oxide angle rods” were used. [23]

Name Country Reactor type Power Fuel Years of work
AVR FRG HTGR, experimental (pebble bed reactor) 15 MW (e) Th + U-235 Driver fuel, coated fuel particles, oxide & dicarbides 1967-1988
THTR-300 FRG HTGR, power (pebble type) 300 MW (e) Th + U-235, Driver fuel, coated fuel particles, oxide & dicarbides 1985-1989
Lingen FRG BWR irradiation-testing 60 MW (e) Test fuel (Th, Pu) O 2 pellets 1968-1973
Dragon ( OECD - Euratom ) UK, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland HTGR, Experimental (pin-in-block design) 20 MW Th + U-235 Driver fuel, coated fuel particles, oxide & dicarbides 1966-1973
Peach bottom USA HTGR, Experimental (prismatic block) 40 MW (e) Th + U-235 Driver fuel, coated fuel particles, oxide & dicarbides 1966-1972
Fort st vrain USA HTGR, Power (prismatic block) 330 MW (e) Th + U-235 Driver fuel, coated fuel particles, Dicarbide 1976-1989
MSRE ORNL USA MSR 7.5 MW U-233 molten fluorides 1964-1969
BORAX-IV & Elk River Station USA BWR (pin assemblies) 2.4 MW (e)
24 MW (e)
Th + U-235 Driver fuel oxide pellets 1963-1968
Shippingport USA LWBR , PWR , (pin assemblies) 100 MW (e) Th + U-233 Driver fuel, oxide pellets 1977-1982
Indian point 1 USA LWBR , PWR , (pin assemblies) 285 MW (e) Th + U-233 Driver fuel, oxide pellets 1962-1980
SUSPOP / KSTR KEMA Netherlands Aqueous homogenous suspension (pin assemblies) 1 MW Th + HEU, oxide pellets 1974-1977
NRX & NRU Canada MTR (pin assemblies) 20 MW; 200 MW Th + U-235, Test Fuel 1947 (NRX) + 1957 (NRU); Irradiation-testing of few fuel elements
CIRUS; DHRUVA; & KAMINI India MTR thermal 40 MW; 100 MW; 30 kW (low power, research) Al + U-233 Driver fuel, 'J' rod of Th & ThO2, 'J' rod of ThO 2 1960-2010 (CIRUS); others in operation
KAPS 1 & 2 ; KGS 1 & 2; RAPS 2, 3 & 4 India PHWR , (pin assemblies) 220 MW (e) ThO 2 pellets (for neutron flux flattening of initial core after start-up) 1980 (RAPS 2) +; continuing in all new PHWRs
FBTR India LMFBR, (pin assemblies) 40 MW (t) ThO 2 blanket 1985; in service

(See the Years of work column. They tried, a half century ago.
And the Power column, too. Looks like not so much enthusiasm from the nuclear energetics, just small scientific plants, no real gigawatt-class plants
).

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1 hour ago, kerbiloid said:

Looks like not so much enthusiasm from the nuclear energetics, just small scientific plants, no real gigawatt-class plants

Fascinating point. Y'know, I'll bet that's because uranium works just fine. Thorium is an alternative with only vague benefits, and which would require large investments to use. It's just a sort of economic inertia.

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14 hours ago, SOXBLOX said:

Fascinating point. Y'know, I'll bet that's because uranium works just fine. Thorium is an alternative with only vague benefits, and which would require large investments to use. It's just a sort of economic inertia.

Economic inertia can be a powerful force, and it can take a visionary with deep pockets to disrupt it(see Elon Musk regarding reusable rockets)

I would not expect Thorium plants to enter common use unless and until uranium is no longer easily available(which likely also involves digging up old 'used' fuel rods and re-processing them).

But if you are talking about 'limited stocks of uranium to fuel nuclear fission' then Thorium has a place in the discussion, as it is an entirely viable option for once the fuel cost of using uranium gets too high.

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On 6/3/2021 at 11:13 AM, tater said:

No, that seems extremely unlikely. Unlikely even with SS, actually. I mean it's possible to bring up mass from Earth, but crazy.

Any space construction on that level needs asteroid mining IMO.

 

There was a talk on youtube that was posted here a few years ago (guy at Caltech) regarding double-sided photovoltaics that also had built-in microwave transmitters. They've done experiments and they think they can get the beamed power to Earth for a price that might interest the military for remote stations (like the arctic). It was still like 10X more expensive than regular power production, mind you, but it had some specific use case—the costs were predicated on launching the things with Atlas V, however. So regular prices close if launch costs are just 10X lower than Atlas V (much less 100-1000X less.

That's from memory, so I might have the numbers wrong.

 

 

 This may be the reason the military wants to use solar power for its remote stations:

https://gadgets-ndtv-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/gadgets.ndtv.com/science/news/us-air-force-usaf-solar-energy-harvest-space-sspidr-earth-send-2446242

 

  Robert Clark

Edited by Exoscientist
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