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Old 25th January 2021, 11:20 AM   #1
Gord_in_Toronto
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All Our Energy Problems will be Solved!

Well maybe . . . . eventually.

A New Idea to Harness Energy From Black Holes

https://www.universetoday.com/149716...m-black-holes/

But we'll need an awfully long extension cord.

Just you wait.

Quote:
“Thousands or millions of years from now, humanity might be able to survive around a black hole without harnessing energy from stars,” said Comisso. “It is essentially a technological problem. If we look at the physics, there is nothing that prevents it.”
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Old 25th January 2021, 11:26 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Well maybe . . . . eventually.

A New Idea to Harness Energy From Black Holes

https://www.universetoday.com/149716...m-black-holes/

But we'll need an awfully long extension cord.

Just you wait.
I think that there was TNG episode of Star Trek which explained that Romulan space ships are powered by black holes as well.

Therefore, if Star Trek says it and some random guy from the Internet says it, then it must be right.

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Old 25th January 2021, 11:50 AM   #3
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tl;dr - Infalling matter does some very energetic things as it approaches the event horizon, resulting in a lot of energy being available for harnessing near a black hole. I admit I only skimmed the article, but it didn't really seem to be saying anything I didn't already assume was true.

We already know that matter falling into a black hole produces ridiculous amounts of energy, for anyone brave and tough enough to harvest it.
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Old 25th January 2021, 05:46 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Crossbow View Post
I think that there was TNG episode of Star Trek which explained that Romulan space ships are powered by black holes as well.

Therefore, if Star Trek says it and some random guy from the Internet says it, then it must be right.


Artificial Quantum Singularity
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Old 26th January 2021, 06:04 AM   #5
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I'm sure that black holes produce lots of energy. It's just that it's probably too much to safely go anywhere near it. They emit a lot of X-rays, and too many X-rays aren't too good for us meatbags.
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Old 26th January 2021, 06:15 AM   #6
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One other minor issue occurs to me: I imagine you'd need to be going very fast to get near a black hole without falling into it, right? And therefore, time dilation would become an issue.
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Old 26th January 2021, 08:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
tl;dr - Infalling matter does some very energetic things as it approaches the event horizon, resulting in a lot of energy being available for harnessing near a black hole. I admit I only skimmed the article, but it didn't really seem to be saying anything I didn't already assume was true.

We already know that matter falling into a black hole produces ridiculous amounts of energy, for anyone brave and tough enough to harvest it.
Like a waterfall.

Except a waterfall in the fabric of space. And then to get close to it you would be like a boat at the top of the waterfall, all the time. That seems safe.

I'm sure there are bigger problems, but the basics look bad enough before I even try to understand the specifics.
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Old 26th January 2021, 08:50 AM   #8
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1. Orbit at a safe distance.

2. Dangle some kind of collector into the energy-rich region.

3. Robert's your mother's brother.

I'm still working on the specifics, but the margins of my notebooks are a bit small for this kind of thing.
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Old 26th January 2021, 08:50 AM   #9
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I might polish up on the science of this, by watching Black Hole on Disney+.
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Old 26th January 2021, 08:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I'm sure that black holes produce lots of energy. It's just that it's probably too much to safely go anywhere near it. They emit a lot of X-rays, and too many X-rays aren't too good for us meatbags.
I dunno. Nuclear reactors emit a lot of gamma rays and neutrons, which are also very bad for us meatbags, but we still managed to figure out a way to harness their energy without exposing any meatbags to a searing radiation hell.
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Old 26th January 2021, 09:13 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
1. Orbit at a safe distance.

2. Dangle some kind of collector into the energy-rich region.

3. Robert's your mother's brother.

I'm still working on the specifics, but the margins of my notebooks are a bit small for this kind of thing.
Ah, you've got notebook margins. No worries then.

I guess the key lies in bridging the difference between the safe orbit distance and our ability to dangle. Space elevator is just a proving ground for this sort of thing.
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Old 26th January 2021, 09:57 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Ah, you've got notebook margins. No worries then.

I guess the key lies in bridging the difference between the safe orbit distance and our ability to dangle. Space elevator is just a proving ground for this sort of thing.
To be honest, this sounds like a job for an advanced Kardashev Type II civilization. Like, "we can tap regular stars no problem, but we're gonna need to go bigger if we wanna bootstrap ourselves into Type III." Meatbag failure modes and the angle of the dangle are probably gonna be trivial problems to anyone in a position to take this article seriously.
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Old 26th January 2021, 10:19 AM   #13
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When the Universe nears its heat death, Black Holes might be the last best source of energy.
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So what are you going to do about it, huh?
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What would Plato do?
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Old 26th January 2021, 10:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
When the Universe nears its heat death, Black Holes might be the last best source of energy.
"Hey, Joe! This universe is pretty well played out. We're off to the next one. You coming?"

"You guys go on ahead. I'm gonna stay here a couple millennia longer, watch the whole thing wind down. Maybe warm my hands on black hole one last time, you know."

"You always were a romantic, Joe. We'll see you in the new universe, yeah? Don't forget to add your signature to the pre-Bang anomaly on your way in!"
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Old 26th January 2021, 11:11 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
To be honest, this sounds like a job for an advanced Kardashev Type II civilization. Like, "we can tap regular stars no problem, but we're gonna need to go bigger if we wanna bootstrap ourselves into Type III." Meatbag failure modes and the angle of the dangle are probably gonna be trivial problems to anyone in a position to take this article seriously.
I guess that is what makes the article silly. Pointing out that there are large sources of energy in the galaxy that we have no real means of harnessing is kinda pointless. The people who eventually have the means of harnessing such power sources will hardly be oblivious to such power sources.

I just imagine some guy behind a door marked "les archives"* combing through digital versions of ancient news sources suddenly perking up and saying out loud to no-one: "Hey, you know we could use this tech we developed for some other purpose to harness the power of black holes!"

*I have this hope against all reality that French will have some relevance in future society just because it will be the one thing that keeps them humble.
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Old 26th January 2021, 12:39 PM   #16
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Has anyone suggested that if we had the technology to travel to a black hole and harvest the energy, we wouldn't need the black hole?
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Old 26th January 2021, 01:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
Has anyone suggested that if we had the technology to travel to a black hole and harvest the energy, we wouldn't need the black hole?
There's only sixteen posts in the thread, dude. It's all on one page. You tell us.

Meanwhile, my suggestion would be that developing the technology to travel to a black hole and harvest its energy is about the point where you'll start becoming seriously interested in projects that could use that kind of energy.

I mean, the energy density of uranium is huge. Bigger than wind. Bigger than solar. Bigger than biofuels. Even bigger than fossil fuels. But, "if we had the technology to mine uranium and harvest the energy, we wouldn't need the uranium," suggested no one ever.
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Old 26th January 2021, 01:41 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
"Hey, Joe! This universe is pretty well played out. We're off to the next one. You coming?"

"You guys go on ahead. I'm gonna stay here a couple millennia longer, watch the whole thing wind down. Maybe warm my hands on black hole one last time, you know."

"You always were a romantic, Joe. We'll see you in the new universe, yeah? Don't forget to add your signature to the pre-Bang anomaly on your way in!"
Isn't this the end of James Blish's 'Cities in Space'?
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Old 26th January 2021, 01:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Isn't this the end of James Blish's 'Cities in Space'?
Couldn't tell you.
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Old 26th January 2021, 01:50 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Artificial Quantum Singularity
Thanks much.

I knew that it was something like that, but I am not enough of a TNG fan to know that description right off hand and/or to how to look it up.
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Old 26th January 2021, 02:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
There's only sixteen posts in the thread, dude. It's all on one page. You tell us.

...
My bad..

I thought maybe someone would be aware if there were thoughts regarding this outside of these hallowed halls..
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Old 26th January 2021, 04:12 PM   #22
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I had read something about micro-singularities. Whilst fission produces a < 1% mass to emerge conversion gravitational collapse produces about 40% mass to energy conversion from memory. In theory small singularities could be a good source of energy but the stable half life of small singularities is short.

Unless something fell through a temporal wormhole I assume the article I read was entirely theoretical, but I wonder whether the thread may refer more to utilising micro-singularities rather than galaxy swallowing mega-blackholes.
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Old 26th January 2021, 05:00 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Couldn't tell you.
I can. And the answer is "YES".

(But it's Cities in Flight.)

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Old 26th January 2021, 05:12 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Planigale View Post
Isn't this the end of James Blish's 'Cities in Space'?
Pretty much.

ETA: Ninja’d, and I didn’t notice the title mistake. I shall now meditate on my unworthiness.

Last edited by sts60; 26th January 2021 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 26th January 2021, 07:15 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
1. Orbit at a safe distance.

2. Dangle some kind of collector into the energy-rich region.

3. Robert's your mother's brother.

I'm still working on the specifics, but the margins of my notebooks are a bit small for this kind of thing.
Orbit at a safe distance with the equivalent of solar panels designed for the spectrum emitted by the black hole. Works with stars, why not black holes?

Possible issue is that it might not be possible to design a solar panel that can absorb X and Gamma-rays. So you may need to design a more robust ship to orbit closer and harvest the energy in some other way. Still probably not necessary to dangle that collector, just have it convert the energy to microwaves and send them back to your higher orbit that way.
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Old 26th January 2021, 10:00 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Orbit at a safe distance with the equivalent of solar panels designed for the spectrum emitted by the black hole. Works with stars, why not black holes?

Possible issue is that it might not be possible to design a solar panel that can absorb X and Gamma-rays. So you may need to design a more robust ship to orbit closer and harvest the energy in some other way. Still probably not necessary to dangle that collector, just have it convert the energy to microwaves and send them back to your higher orbit that way.
and you would still need a very long extension cord.
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Old 26th January 2021, 10:03 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by sts60 View Post
Pretty much.

ETA: Ninja’d, and I didn’t notice the title mistake. I shall now meditate on my unworthiness.
Oh come on. Someone who remembers Jim Blish and mayor John Amalfi can't be all bad.
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Old 26th January 2021, 10:54 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by wobs View Post
I might polish up on the science of this, by watching Black Hole on Disney+.
I loved that movie as a kid, and I watched it again recently. It... hasn't aged well.
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Old 26th January 2021, 11:21 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I loved that movie as a kid, and I watched it again recently. It... hasn't aged well.
Two thirds of the main cast is dead in fact.
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Old 27th January 2021, 01:47 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
and you would still need a very long extension cord.
Nope.
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Old 27th January 2021, 09:06 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
My bad..

I thought maybe someone would be aware if there were thoughts regarding this outside of these hallowed halls..
Fair enough.

I don't understand the suggestion, though. Can you elaborate on what you're looking for?

The only suggestion I've seen along those lines is Kardashev's scale of energy consumption, which suggests quite the opposite. Developing the ability to harvest more energy is a path to having more energy to work with, and working with even more energy.
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Old 27th January 2021, 09:39 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Nope.
A short one then?
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Old 27th January 2021, 01:39 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
A short one then?
If you're really confused just read what he said (you quoted it) a bit more slowly.
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Old 27th January 2021, 03:25 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
If you're really confused just read what he said (you quoted it) a bit more slowly.
I think he's just following up his clickbait thread title with clickbait posts.
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Old 27th January 2021, 07:12 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
If you're really confused just read what he said (you quoted it) a bit more slowly.
He said, "Nope"

How do you propose we get the energy back to Earth? Buckets?
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Old 27th January 2021, 07:12 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I think he's just following up his clickbait thread title with clickbait posts.
Ouch Ouch! Ouch! Mind reading now are we?
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Old 27th January 2021, 07:30 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Orbit at a safe distance with the equivalent of solar panels designed for the spectrum emitted by the black hole. Works with stars, why not black holes?

Possible issue is that it might not be possible to design a solar panel that can absorb X and Gamma-rays. So you may need to design a more robust ship to orbit closer and harvest the energy in some other way. Still probably not necessary to dangle that collector, just have it convert the energy to microwaves and send them back to your higher orbit that way.
You don't need an extension cord, you use power beaming. Looking in to it a bit more, it looks likes lasers are probably a better choice than microwaves for this situation, as you can get much larger distances.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wirele...ve)_techniques
Quote:
In the case of electromagnetic radiation closer to the visible region of the spectrum (.2 to 2 micrometers), power can be transmitted by converting electricity into a laser beam that is received and concentrated onto photovoltaic cells (solar cells).[89][90] This mechanism is generally known as 'power beaming' because the power is beamed at a receiver that can convert it to electrical energy. At the receiver, special photovoltaic laser power converters which are optimized for monochromatic light conversion are applied.[91]

Advantages compared to other wireless methods are:[92]

Collimated monochromatic wavefront propagation allows narrow beam cross-section area for transmission over large distances. As a result, there is little or no reduction in power when increasing the distance from the transmitter to the receiver.
Compact size: solid state lasers fit into small products.
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"... when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
Isaac Asimov
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Old 27th January 2021, 09:01 PM   #38
RecoveringYuppy
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
He said, "Nope"

How do you propose we get the energy back to Earth? Buckets?
It was in the post you quoted. You needed to read it more slowly. It's been highlighted in yellow for you now.
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Old 28th January 2021, 07:50 AM   #39
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
He said, "Nope"

How do you propose we get the energy back to Earth? Buckets?
Why would we want to get the energy back to Earth?
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Old 28th January 2021, 07:55 AM   #40
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
Ouch Ouch! Ouch! Mind reading now are we?
It's a question of interpreting the signals being transmitted.

Some people - charlatans and cranks mostly - claim to be able to detect and interpret signals that almost certainly do not and cannot exist. The vast majority of us make do with the signals actually being transmitted.

Kind of like how I'm using mundane telekinesis to move my coffee cup from the table to my face and back again.
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