Cheap, practical fusion may be closer than you think.
Nuclear fusion is 30 years away, and always will be. That’s the refrain we’ve heard, again and again for decades.
But this is a story that few have noticed. Unlike computers, fusion has to get really great before it’s useful at all. Right now it’s pretty good, but not quite good enough. It’s getting close though.
There’s another reason the story’s been missed. We’ve spent billions on enormous, horribly complex fusion reactors that aren’t expected to be commercially available before 2050…and even then, it’s hard to see how they wouldn’t be too expensive.
But those are not the only game in town. The real overlooked story is this: a handful of small research projects, often running on a shoestring, ready to beat the big projects at their own game. Some of these little projects have attracted serious investment, from venture capitalists and Goldman Sachs.
And not a moment too soon, with CO2 levels already at 400ppm, and no significant emission cuts in sight. The clock’s running out. We need something dramatic.
If we may be permitted a football analogy: We’re five points behind, there’s half a minute left in the game, we’re a long way from the endzone, and we’re not going to get there in time by playing it safe. We need a long pass. We might not win, but it’s the one play that gives us a chance.
Or in gambling terms…it’s worth drawing to an inside straight when there’s enough money in the pot.
The fusion projects listed here give us a shot at power competitive with fossil fuels or (in some cases) far cheaper, with no pollution, perfect safety, and no nuclear waste. Sound too good to be true? Read on. Find out what these projects are, and how we can use better funding mechanisms to improve our odds.
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