A ridiculous and short-lived US military requirement to build a “nuclear powered bomber” resulted in the most astoundingly safe and innovative nuclear power source ever invented. So why has this revolutionary design been almost entirely forgotten by history? What happened to the Molten Salt Reactor and the people who spearheaded this radical tangent in nuclear research? Kirk Sorenson and associates continue to peel back the layers of time from this gem in the history of atomic energy that was buried so long ago…
At one time, Diesel power was poised as an alternative to big Coal and Oil…
At the World’s Fair of 1900 in Paris France, Rudolph Diesel demonstrated the virtues of his new pressure-ignited “rational heat motor” which came to bear his name to the world then, and has done so to the present day. We’ve come to also know Rudolf Diesel as an eminent mechanical and thermal engineer, a multi-lingual and knowledgeable patron of the Arts, and not least of all a highly progressive Social Theorist. Although his legacy is inestimable, his rise to fame was as quick as it was brief…and leaves us with some unanswered questions about how Diesel’s vision may have offered us a different world than the one ruled by Oil and Big Banks.
A century ago, Diesel Power and Hemp Products
In 1893, German inventor Rudolf Diesel published a paper entitled “The Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine” which described a motor in which air is compressed by a piston to a very high pressure, causing a temperature spike where injected fuel is auto-ignited and efficiently burned in the expanding compression during the down-stroke. This basic concept results in a simple, safe, cool, highly efficient engine that could run on locally produced vegetable oils – and therefore level the playing field for those who otherwise couldn’t compete with the large steam-powered Industries and Shippers of the day.
Unfortunately, in the early 20th century big-banks and financiers were already exerting their powerful will, in support of their oil and forestry interests, and thus assuring the dominance of emerging petro-chemical industries. So instead of seeing how Diesel’s vision would have played out, we’ve had to wait until the combined and destructive effects of a Financial, Energy, and Environmental crisis, here the 21st century, could obviate the ideals and benefits that Rudolf Diesel had envisioned for Society, well over a century ago; when he built his first engines to be run on the same types of bio-fuels that we now have available today, and which could have cut coal and oil out of the picture from the very start.
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