One of the fond hopes of many people who are supportive of LENR as a viable and affordable energy source is that it might provide the means for people to live off-grid. Many hold out hope that at some point LENR (in the form of the E-Cat or something similar) will allow for the domestic production of heat, cooling and electricity, and we can start seeing the democratization of energy production on a large scale.
The dream of off-grid living is nothing new, and it has been achieved in many cases using solar and wind installations, but typically building a domestic power system that can meet normal household energy use has required a significant investment which is outside the budget of most households.
However, Elon Musk’s Tesla is trying to change that, and push domestic energy production into the mainstream. Just last week Musk introduced a new design of solar panels called Solar Roof, which are designed to function like normal roofing tiles, while at the same time provide electricity to homes. These panels can be combined with the Tesla PowerWall battery which stores energy for household use when sunlight is not available.
Below is a video of Musk’s unveiling of the Solar Roof system in Los Angeles last Friday.
As always, Musk is bold and ambitious, and has a remarkable confidence and can-do attitude with new technological innovations. Musk states in this presentation that the cost of these tiles will be less than normal roofing materials, while at the same time producing electricity — so he’s selling this system as a no-brainer in terms of investing in ones home. He sees this as a solution that can be scaled worldwide and be employed as a solution to the world’s energy problems.
As far as commercial LENR is concerned, I think the most promising commercial product is Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat — but so far, while he does say domestic units are planned, he is working towards building only industrial scale plants. For many years he has said that there have been problems getting safety certification his technology for home use. Brilliant Light Power could also make a move into the same arena with its SunCell, but from what I understand they are setting up for more centralized energy production systems.
If large-scale LENR energy production becomes possible, it could certainly make centralized energy production cheaper and cleaner, but without devices approved for home use the dream of off-grid living and domestic energy independence from LENR will be unrealized. Meanwhile, the home-based solar movement seems to be growing in strength.
We don’t know what the future will bring in terms of commercial LENR. I do think it has incredible potential in terms cheap, clean energy with high power density, but there is a difference between the potential and the actual. Domestic solar systems are here, now, and there is a great deal of momentum behind them. If and when domestic LENR appears on the scene it will have to compete with a well established industry, and right now, Tesla is leading out with big bold strides.