Energy solution for the long term

 

Although this post does address the immediate or medium term needs the world has for a cheap, clean and abundant energy source, the future or long-term energy solution may have already been identified. The solution is called fusion power and it has the potential to be a very efficient, safe and clean energy source that will be capable of meeting global energy demands that will surely be very high in 30-40 years.

It works in the same basic way as the sun does, although it is not related to solar power. It works by heating small atoms to a very high temperature and then fusing them together. This creates one heavier atom and releases energy in the process. This is done in a reactor that is somewhat similar to a nuclear reactor, except that it can’t produce dangerous outcomes like nuclear bombs or meltdowns. It is also safe for the employees of the reactors because the process does not produce harmful radioactive material, at least not to the extent that nuclear reactors do.

Scientists have already proven that their theories are correct and have already built and used small scale reactors to create fusion power. However, the science in this field is still new and undergoing a steep learning curve which means that we are still many years from being efficient enough and on a large enough scale to make this our main energy source. The hope is that in the next 30-40 years we will have our electricity come from fusion power which will remove the threat that comes with importing fuel from unstable parts of the world and from using fossil fuels that put the planet and us, at risk.

For the timeline to hold true or perhaps shorten, the governments of the world, particularly North American and European governments need to continue funding and supporting this science for the next three decades or so. This is one of those long term investments that some people (depending on their age) may not live to see the return on but, it is essential for future generations, especially since global energy demands are expected to be even higher in 30 years than they are today. Hopefully advancements in this field will continue to take place that may even shorten the time frame, but if not, governments need to continue to invest in it because it really does sound promising for the future.