Done 1.3 remainder is for book 2 Carbon King fifty years ago
Gizmo loved roadtrips and was looking forward to this one with Traveler, there is no better way to really get to know someone than to travel with them he thought to himself. As they bumped along, he asked, "So this is where it all happened? How did you become the king of carbon anyway? They had lab created diamonds since forever, what drove you?"
Traveler smiled, waited his trademarked pause before answering and said, "I never wanted to be a farmer or rancher, but had to spend one summer on my father's ranch. I had never heard of Paradise Valley NV. Jeepers, that was only twenty years ago or so, but already temps were climbing above 50° C. Water was really scarce. It was sad, so many people bought lots, but the rainfall kept dropping and when it did, it seemed to always be a deluge, carving more potholes, taking out the bridges. BLM had so many cuts they couldn't maintain the roads. Lots of the land was all carved up into postage stamp pieces. We got a lot of it at foreclosure and such, but some of it was paid for, taxes up to date, just wasn't worth the owner's bother to even come look.
You could certainly tell the vehicle was moving uphill, both men knew that would burn battery fast. They had decided to stop for a while after the hairpin on Big Cottonwood. Adrian remembered there was a South facing spot that was ideal to lay out the charging fabric. If you are going up mountain, might was well pack a full charge.
Gizmo marveled at the quiet, no, there was sound, but it wasn't city sound. He tried his mindfulness meditation, but gave up, meditation, mindfulness and in the moment were not XXX's strong suits. Charge fabric was part of your lifeline in an inhab zone. It could also give you shade from the relentless sun. Even under the tent and off the ground, the temp was reading 41°, too hot for long term human survival. Keep drinking the electrolytes, if an hour goes by without peeing it is a bad sign. After the charge was all set up, the conversation renewed.
How much land are we talking about after your dad "uncarved" it?
Let's rock! They folded the charge fabric, you could feel the sun the second you pulled it off, and stowed it. They would head Northwest till they reached a fork in the road and follow that branch of the road Southwest until they intersected Dry Creek at about 1.76k altitude and camp near the "mile high marker", an old Forest Service sign of cast aluminum designed to look like a park service rustic wooden sign. Adrian smiled as he thought about it, somebody must have had money burning a hole in their budget with that one.
XXX restarted the conversation, so if I needed low end fiber, you were the man?
Sure, and it wasn't low end exactly, I just had not oxidized the surface so resin would stick, but that wasn't the way I wanted to go. For some applications you need resin of course, but that leads straight to exploding chemical factories. I didn't want resin to be plan A. There had to be a way to form the fiber for many applications without it.
Fence posts, they make a great example, the posts were pretty complex. Maybe there was a way to weave the fibers into a post that would be flexible, but not too flexible. If it was hollow then there would be things it could be used to do. If the post is buried in the ground at least a meter there is enough thermal difference to generate electricity. My brain kept racing down the high tech path and I had to keep call it back, think low tech. Do you realize woven fences are one of the earliest human inventions? The lateral members help strengthen and stiffen the vertical ones and even using products like tree vines the Neanderthals made some very strong fences.
So where were you in school at this point?
Between mid-terms and finals senior semester and with help from my friend Gizmo, I had a weaving machine designed to produce various double braids, cover and core as they say in the industry. If you needed one of the finest ropes I was your boy, but in terms of a fence, not so much. Jane brought me supper in the lab one night and called it limp post syndrome. Have you ever tried to make a rope stand up? But I was getting closer. I could produce fibers that were solid or hollow in pretty much any length needed. I had the weaving under control though it was one machine and only double braid. Jane, actually, supplied the idea that led to a workable post, she suggested erectile bands. If the post was thick enough, (made of enough strands), placed in the soil deep enough, and the strands were bound together with enough tension it was a very workable post. Not as stiff as steel or wood, but it didn't have to be, the stringers passing through the erectile bands took care of that making for lightning fast installation.
There was still a problem, the posts needed to be deeper in the ground for the stiffness to work, but my buddy laserman built me a solar powered drill, in fact that is where I learned about charge fabric. Did you know they used nylon back then? Needless to say, the best selling charge fabric is hollow fiber carbon, lighter and stronger. I put in a sample fence back at the ranch, showed my dad, this was plain, no solar, no carbon factory, no thermal generation, just plain vanilla fence and he liked it and we started talking about using this design as fence on the ranch needed to be replaced.
So now you were ready to go into business?
Not hardly. Don't get me wrong, I had found my spot in the fiber rope world, had a few employees, some took orders, others packed and shipped, Using the ranch as a "model home" we were selling some fencing including fencing with the extras I had dreamed about. I pretty much ran the production system out at the ranch. It was an honest living, enough to support a small family if Jane and I got married. But the handwriting was on the wall, go big or go home.
So what was stopping you?
Just about everything, wanting to spend more time with Jane, knowing that the operation would become ever more visible. I had looked into patents, but that deal is rigged, the little guy loses more than a gambler to the house. To keep the carbon production to small to fail, (catastrophically), meant more micro factories, meant more exposure and so forth, there were just too many moving parts, I felt paralyzed. I was young, still creative, I didn't think I would end up a one trick pony, but this had taken so much of my time, figuring out how to solve each and every aspect. I was at a place I truly did not know what to do.
So what did you do?
I punted, after talking things over with Jane, I bought a six pack of imported beer and a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket and pulled an all nighter talking with Gizmo about starting a company. My company would be the fiber supplier, unless Gizmo could come up with a better deal. Our company would weave the fiber into cloth for the tactical market.
Yeah, bullet proof vests, bikers use that kind of clothes if they have to lay it down, divers for sharks, you would be amazed at the market for carbon nanotube cloth. Maybe, in the fullness of time if people could deal with the black color, maybe even sails. I had some cash from what I had done, Giz could build, operate and maintain the weaving machinery. We had been playing Frisbee golf with a lady about to graduate with her MBA and her slate was empty right now. We hired her on a salary basis to manage the intake of orders and delivery and work with CPA to pronounces us street legal at the end of the year. We called it FABAG, (fabric from Adrian and Gizmo). We were
*** Need Porter's five in here
FABAG was really taking off and I knew it was just a matter of time till Giz and XXX demanded more fiber than I was able to produce. I needed a carbon source on steroids and I was pretty sure how to get it. With climate change wildfires were a growing problem. There was no way to stop them, but you could cut barriers, removing all the trees and vegetation. It wasn't really practical for loggers, these long skinny strips through wilderness. Ever since that summer on the ranch I had been aware of how important the park and forest service are to wilderness area, heck, we are on a Forest road right now. I didn't think I had a chance of winning a contract just clear cutting so I approached some private landowners and offered to cut a strip for them for free if I could use it as a "model home" to drum up more business.
The first two were done with leashed equipment and crews. They dropped the trees, pulled the stumps, ground them into chips. We fed the chips into our factories and out came the fiber. We delivered over a million kilometers to FABAG just as they were landing their first major contract. Sorry to say we didn't do a bit of it with solar, must have seen a thousand diesel tankers come by the site. But we left the landowner a huge surprise. We ran weavers behind the factories and created curbs for storm water runoff. We took all the rocks and
How did you make the jump from fences to 30M yachts? Well long before the first boat was an all terrain vehicle. They needed them on the ranch and Adrian figured other ranchers would want them as well. He had no idea how popular the Carbonado X/C would finally be.
The biggest lesson we learned in the fence project was to scale down the options. When we entered the market people were still used to infinite choice and throw-away products. We offered a fence. A very good fence, a long lasting fence, but a fence. And it was black. I can't tell you how many times we got requests to colorize the fence, but carbon fiber is black and any colorant will wear off long before the lifetime of the product.
I was always into boating and carbon fiber is the cream of the crop of boat building materials. It isn't perfect, but it is strong and light. Since it was a boat, we had to consider various resins. No matter how tightly you weave the product, if it sits in water, eventually the water will soak it through. One of the design decisions important decisions relates to the conductivity.
At the time we started the design, carbon fiber masts were considered non-conductive ... unless the boat was struck by lightning or hit a powerline. Most people do not know this, but my grandfather's brother was killed on a catamaran in Texas as a young teen. Scout camp, Lake O' The Pines. They struck an overhead power line, aluminum mast, they didn't have a chance. But there was already a protocol for building a carbon mast that has a chance of surviving a lightning strike, lightning rod and static dissipator on the mast head.
Boat people don't like any curtailment of options. They believe there are no two boats that are exactly the same, even charter boats. We were trying to balance safety, performance, comfort and considering the primary use of the crafts, a reasonable degree of cargo. There was simply no way we were going to be able to appeal to sailors with thirty years of experience that had owned several boats.
So what did you do?
Adrian smiled and after a minute he spoke. We created out own "boat people". The need was there. There was basically no road system on the Northern coast before all in infrastructure meltdowns. Their solution was planes with flotation pontoons that could land in the lakes. But when fuel became unreliable, so did that solution. True, our boats could only reach coastal settlements, but people tend to live on the coast even in a time of storms and rising sea level. Not sure we could call it an 80 percent solution, but it certainly worked for the majority of use cases. Since we already had an academic infrastructure, we added a sailing academy and the sailing was done on our boats. Graduates had experience fishing, hauling cargo, deepwater scientific exploration, trade and so forth, so they could make a career for themselves.