X-Message-Number: 13892
Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2000 18:28:56 EDT
Subject: nitrogen etc

I'm tickled to note James Swayze's latest burst of inventiveness, in re the 
nitrogen refrigeration problem. And it gives one pause to realize that 
someone with his terrible health problems can in so many ways outdo most of 

As to the merits of his suggestions, that remains to be seen, although I will 
have a few preliminary words here. I haven't yet had a chance to get costs of 
the Cryomech equipment mentioned, which is a crucial factor.

From a more general standpoint, as previously mentioned, whenever anyone has 
investigated the cost of LN2 generating equipment and the cost of running it, 
it has been MUCH more expensive than the cost of buying the product, on our 
current and near-future scale of operation. The cost of electrical energy 
alone, for us to make it, has always been higher than the cost of buying it.

In an idealized future, as suggested by myself and others many years ago, we 
could use (say) thermopiles as the energy source, with no moving parts and 
therefore negligible maintenance, utilizing temperature differences between 
ground layers or between ground and air (Peltier effect, reverse of the 
thermocouple or Thomson effect). But capital costs so far are out of sight. 
Solar and wind, as Mr. Swayze says, are also possibilities, but also not 
competitive so far.

Whether Mr. Swayze's detailed suggestions for a closed circuit system would 
work economically and reliably, I don't know. Conventional wisdom would say 
probably not, because after all he is talking basically about just plain 
refrigeration, a well known problem and well known commercial opportunity, 
with plenty of people always worrying at it. At the same time, advances in 
well known and conventional areas do happen now and then.

I can't honestly see this area as one of prime importance to cryonics, but 
when I get a chance I'll try to check out some of the numbers once more and 

Robert Ettinger
Cryonics Institute
Immortalist Society

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