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Cosmic Variance

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The LHC Will Be a Stillborn

Mark at the CosmicVariance.com just wrote about the LHC, as it was reported by BBC. So I am going to say a few things.

My prediction is nothing will come out of LHC. It will be a still birth. I based my prediction on information revealed by this article, which was first meantioned by Lubos. What did the article say? It said that they were planning to shut the LHC down for half of the year and operate only half of the year to save electricity cost.

In view that despite of the huge cost overrun during the construction of LHC, member states REFUSED to increase the budget and CERN had to cut corners some where else and borrow money through 2010 to get the machine built. And in view that a global energy crisis is looming. My conclusions is by the time LHC is finished, the electricity price will be so high that CERN simply do not have the budget to pay electricity bill to run the machine. Mean while, do not expect any budget increase from member states. The top priority for national governments will be to concentrate resources to research alternative energy source to deal with the energy crisis, budget for high energy physics research will be greatly reduced, not increased.

Let's see how much electricity the LHC consumes. From CERN provided information. We know it consumes 200 mega watts of electricity, equivalent to half of the consumption rate of the whole Geneva City. Running the machine for one year would consume 1.75 billion kilowatt*hour of electricity. The electricity now in USA costs almost 12 cents per kwh, almost double the figure less than 2 years ago. By the time LHC is really to do some real physics experiments, I expect electricity could cost as much as half a dollar per kwh. That would put the electricity cost at 0.88 billion dollars per year. That alone is already more than CERN's annual budget.

And it consumes a huge amount of fossil fuel to generate that electricity. At half kilogram per kwh, it burns 0.88 billion kilogram of coal to generate 1.75 billion kwh. That's 8.8 million tons of coal. Takes one million trips of huge trucks just to transport that amount of coal. I am not sure where the morality is to burn all the fossil fuels for some vague physics result that no one even knows for sure will come out, while citizens are having a hard time keep themselves warm in the winter.


At 4:48 AM, Blogger Count Iblis said...

The LHC can be powered by nuclear energy too.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Cosmic Variance said...

Count Iblis:

It does not matter nuclear energy or otherwise. If there is not enough electricity to keep residential homes warm, then there is not enough electricity to run the LHC machine. We are entering an un-precedent energy crisis.

Nuclear energy won't save us. For one, it's impossible to ramp up enough nuclear power plants in time to prevent the society from collapsing due to lack of energy. For two, there is not even enough Uranium around. Even at current low consumption rate, economically mineable uranium is only enough to supply 50 years.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Matt B. said...

While we're at it we should shut down all unnecessary electricity use: bowling alleys, movie theatres, churches, schools, etc. We should all just stay in our warm homes and never come out. We've come too far away from our roots! Back to the trees!

Humanity is obviously in the process of folding in upon itself, shutting down, and giving up. We may as well speed up the process.

At 12:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, this is a bundle of laughs isn't it?

Maybe if everyone shut off their stuff that was left on standby every night there might be enough electricity to go round?

I'm not sure whether it is morally correct for everyone to have laptops. Or electric light, or TVs? Are you morally on the high ground as you write your predictions? Are you better than a bunch of scientists running an experiment to basically check the validity of what we think the Universe is made of?

Maybe it IS more important to keep citizens warm, but no one seems to give a fig over the amount of electricity used up in the making of all those cheap clothes, electrical products, and plastic products we all eagerly consume that are made in the Far East from burning collosal amounts of fossil fuel.

Maybe the thing that makes us human is not to concern ourselves only with the bare bones of survival but to think a little further and ask - "What if....?"

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...



Your stupid post doesn't even justify a response beyond that.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger rduht said...

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At 12:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Electricity will never 'run out' you idiots read some physics before jumping all over it.


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