…continued from Part I, here.
Fusion power has so much potential that we could have so much energy that there would be no strain on the system’s supply to have electric car docking stations at every person’s house and place of work They’re already paid for with the stimulus money ‘free’ of cost to the tax-payer. How many people could you put to work over the coures of 10 years with that project in a country as large and developed as ours? Gas stations would be paired (and eventually replaced) with rapid battery swap shops that take your cars standardized old battery that is drained and give you a freshly charged one. Going back to the shah in Oman…100% of the money in your pocket is paying for your power from American sources because we invented the economy that the money all goes to.
100% of the money also means we are not dependent upon the shah for his oil anymore. We don’t need him – we can run our economy on our own energy sources. American sources mean dollars back into your community. By not having to worry about a supply of oil, we are free to let the Middle East fight itself instead of us once again. No more wars of foreign involvement. Our soldiers aren’t there spilling their blood, we aren’t spending our treasure on waging war, and the radicals there get what they want by not having the US in their lands. I say let them descend into a 9th century level of barbarism again. Tell them we don’t need their oil and so they get what they want – the US to leave…and we would. It’s not that easy though, I’m not naive liberal. Realistically, that wouldn’t be good enough for the jihadists; they would still blame us for our past involvement and try to send more terrorists our way. That is a solvable problem though, but not for today.
Carbon Reducing Green Energy
Lastly, we can reinvent our country all while being green. Fusion power doesn’t emit hydrocarbons – like fission reactors, you’re not burning anything. Fusion power emissions are energy and water. That’s it. There is no radioactive waste with a half-life of 20,000 years that you have to dispose of. Guess where you get the fuel for nuclear power reactors? Salt water. Yes, the fuel deuterium comes from ‘heavy water’ commonly found in sea water. You mix that with tritium (which is merely a hydrogen atom with two protons in it) and a whole lot of energy and the two atoms ‘fuse’ together to make even more energy, a helium atom, and a neutron. That’s it.
The Problem and Reality
The only reason that fusion is so hard is that like the sun, the process is extremely hot. So hot that the plasma produced can melt anything. The only way to contain it is to basically make an electromagnetic shield of energy around the reaction. It’s similar to shields in Star Trek, but instead of keeping energy from a weapon out, it keeps energy from the reaction in and thus prevents the plasma from melting the reactor chamber.
Our current reactors take more energy to power up and run than the process makes. Improving the technology takes research and eureka moments. You get that with the best minds working together, being excited about their work and pulling long hours over the concentrated effort of 5-10 years, not the snail’s pace of 100 years like the current proposed rate of progress. Talk about a pathetic, flacid approach. Real research with the best of minds means that the money has to be there to spend.
Unlike a devalued dollar and papered-over banking problems, fusion power is a solution for the ages. What is a half a trillion dollars to the hundreds of trillions of dollars that near limitless energy is worth? The world is not running out of sea water anytime soon and with limitless energy, things are far more possible. First, we stop heating up the planet. Global warming is real. It may come from a hotter sun too, but throwing an extra wool blanket around the plant from more carbon dioxide than plants can take in doesn’t help. Secondly, energy intensive processes like reverse osmosis water purification can desalinate and purify salt water or poisoned water. So much of the world’s suffering comes from having a poor water supply. You could now do grandiose civil engineering projects like fueling california’s agriculture industry from reverse-osmosed sea water that is pumped to the farmland. The energy from fusion power could drive the massive pumps and purifiers that you would need. You could even take the idea a step further and slowly terraform deserts and make them arable again – combating their slow spread. Other things even more grandiose are possible. Remember how hydrogen is the key ingredient, well it is also the most abundant element in the universe and floats freely around the vacuum of space. Space ships, space travel, space colonies, and asteroid mining and the inherent resources there, are all far more possible because you have now have an efficient engine to power your spacecraft and a ready source of fuel to power it.
Yes, my ideas for the future may be grandiose, but with near limitless energy, it is possible. All it takes is leadership and vision. I wish we had more of it.
The Bottom Line
You can’t do something like this on the cheap. Its going to cost hundreds of billions to do it on the scale and pace of breakthrough I’m talking about, both in infrastructure development and technology. Politicians can spend the same amount of money bailing out banks, printing fiat currency, and generally kicking the can of economic collapse down the road, but they can’t do what I propose. Its all because special interests in DC and Congress’ general lack of vision prevents it from actually being the body politic it needs to be. There are too many politicians and not enough statesmen; we need less power grubbing and more visionary leadership.
This is our silver bullet, but we’ve got to fire it or its of no use.