The Border Wall – A source of energy

Bold Plan? Replace the Border Wall with an Energy–Water Corridor

Building solar, wind, natural gas and water infrastructure all along the U.S.–Mexico border would create economic opportunity rather than antagonism

Bold Plan? Replace the Border Wall with an Energy–Water Corridor
Credit: Getty Images

Here’s an idea: Instead of an endless, inert wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, line the boundary with 2,000 miles of natural gas, solar and wind power plants. Use some of the energy to desalinate water from the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean and ship it through pipelines to thirsty towns, businesses and new farms along the entire border zone. Hire hundreds of thousands of people from both countries to build and run it all. Companies would make money and provide security to safeguard their assets. A contentious, costly no-man’s-land would be transformed into a corridor of opportunity.

Crazy? Maybe—or maybe not. History is full of ideas that initially sounded wacky yet ended up changing society.

The idea is more than a pipe dream. A consortium of 27 engineers and scientists from a dozen U.S. universities has developed a plan. Last week they delivered it to three U.S. representatives and one senator. “Let’s put the best scientists and engineers together to create a new way to deal with migration, trafficking—and access to water. These are regions of severe drought,” says Luciano Castillo, a professor of energy and power at Purdue University who leads the group. “Water supply is a huge future issue for all the states along the border in both countries.”

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/bold-plan-replace-the-border-wall-with-an-energy-water-corridor/?fbclid=IwAR1KXMXogv4HwIaH38irv-SxhstZW26KPerSaW8VD9e5lzddCreW1khZjjc

Coal!

There is a lot you can do with coal. The Neutrino Donut is working with several groups on identifying rare earth metals from coal, for example. A second challenge is the retraining of workers. From the WaPo (and this was buried in the story):

The WaPo had an article on the GM plant shutdowns in the Midwest. The key takeaways were the jobs aren’t coming back, people are waiting for the jobs to come back, and only 30% of the people eligible for training took training. The training is technical, free and has a stipend. The workers said they were too old and the course material was too hard and they dropped out after a week. One guy couldn’t figure out how to install a flash drive.

Retraining is a complex process. Getting people to change everything is not an easy task. A utility I spoke with noted they did not see these issues when they retrained – the workers will still at the same company and had the same “home.”

From Axios:

https://www.axios.com/rick-perry-coal-ceraweek-dedff67d-7305-4ab7-a0fc-5af957de7d79.html

Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested Wednesday that he hasn’t given up on finding ways to help economically struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants, even though efforts to date haven’t taken flight.

Why it matters: Competition from cheap natural gas, renewables and other forces are leading to ongoing closures of coal-fired plants, and could prompt more nuclear facilities to shutter in coming years.Show less

  • The administration argues this threatens grid security and reliability, although a range of experts dispute the claim.

Perry said the country needs a “stable foundation of electric power that is un-interruptible” and that he wants more discussion.

  • “I’ve thrown a lot of jello over at the wall on this one trying to find some solutions that we can all, or at least a majority of us can get behind to support that,” he told reporters.
  • “We are looking for the answers to a question that vexes us,” he said in a press conference at CERAWeek.

Where it stands: Early last year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejectedPerry’s push for big changes to wholesale power market rules that would guarantee revenues for some coal-fired and nuclear plants.

Since then, the administration has mulled options for using sweeping national security powers to help plants stay open, but it hasn’t gone anywhere.

New SBIR Program Changes – Project Pitch

SBIR is allowing companies to submit a short pitch to determine if their project is of interest to SBIR funding. The details are as follows:

https://seedfund.nsf.gov/project-pitch/

Project Pitch

The required Project Pitch allows startups and small businesses to get quick feedback at the start of their application for Phase I funding from America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF.

Startups or entrepreneurs who submit a three-page Project Pitch* will know within three weeks if they meet the program’s objectives to support innovative technologies that show promise of commercial and/or societal impact and involve a level of technical risk. They will also get additional guidance and feedback from NSF staff.

If your Project Pitch is a good fit for the program, you will receive an official invitation from NSF to submit a full proposal. If you’re not invited to submit, you’ll be told why your project is not appropriate for the program.

Along with your company information, you’ll have to outline four key elements in your Project Pitch:

1. The Technology Innovation. (Up to 500 words)

Describe the technical innovation that would be the focus of a Phase I project, including a brief discussion of the origins of the innovation as well as explanation as to why it meets the program’s mandate to focus on supporting research and development (R&D) of unproven, high-impact innovations.

2. The Technical Objectives and Challenges. (Up to 500 words)

Describe the R&D or technical work to be done in a Phase I project, including a discussion of how and why the proposed work will help prove that the product or service is technically feasible and/or significantly reduce technical risk. Discuss how, ultimately, this work could contribute to making the new product, service, or process commercially viable and impactful. This section should also convey that the proposed work meets the definition of R&D, rather than straightforward engineering or incremental product development tasks.

3. The Market Opportunity. (Up to 250 words)

Describe the customer profile and pain point(s) that will be the near-term commercial focus related to this technical project.

4. The Company and Team. (Up to 250 words)

Describe the background and current status of the applicant small business, including key team members who will lead the technical and/or commercial efforts discussed in this Project Pitch.

Visit the online form to submit your Project Pitch or to preview the required fields. More details about the NSF’s new process and eligibility requirements are on our Apply page.

*Each small business can only submit one Project Pitch at a time and up to two Project Pitches per submission window. (The submission windows for 2019 are March 4-June 13 and June 14-December 12). Any small business with a pending Project Pitch must wait for a response before submitting another Project Pitch. Any small business that has received an invitation to submit a full proposal must wait for a resolution of the full proposal before submitting a new or revised Project Pitch.

Korean Entrepreneurship

The Neutrino Donut, LLC will be part of a project to evaluate startups in Korea and bring a group of them to Los Angeles. This project will involve a judging program in Korea and multiple companies selected to come to LA. As part of this program, these companies will have meetings with potential customers, international consulates, and the investor community in Santa Monica and Los Angeles.