On a rather less flippant note, they are relying on Kevlar, which is claimed to have five times the mechanical strength to weight ratio of steel. What is known about its fatigue performance? Can it be made free of defects over great lengths? Bear in mind that one microcrack in 5,000 metres means destruction of the whole system. Megawatts pouring into a discharge channel of the order of a centimetre in length is not a spark, it is an explosion.
Well, it was a nice idea while it lasted.
Not knowing the first thing about power transmission i guess I fall into the same camp as most of the public who may equally have thought this a good idea.
I guess we all get so used to the "advances" made in science and engineering that we think a problem is something that will be solved with time and money.
Blind optimism that a solution will be found is no substitute for facing the facts and they seem pretty insurmountable. I guess the problem is that some quango will feel that a some tax money will solve the issue and someone will take it and deliver nothing and the blame will go to the ones who delivered nothing, not the government who invest our money.
Bit of a shame that Prof Roberts et al have wasted 20 years of their lives, unless they consider their 15 minutes of fame or the learning experience worth while.