Large scale implications of p-boron fusion power

If polywell fusion is developed, in what ways will the world change for better or worse? Discuss.

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disfrontman
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Large scale implications of p-boron fusion power

Postby disfrontman » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:54 am

The way I see it, successful p-boron fusion would have profound global implications, due to two important characteristics of the technology: scalability and safety.

Scalability is a huge benefit. Sure, the earliest commercial units will be big, but I would predict that as experiments continue and refinements to the containment methodologies improve, making smaller scale yet robust reactors would follow.

The inherent safety of the technology will make it more enticing for smaller applications, and its resistance to easy weaponization would make it safe to possess without posing a security threat for its operators, from either industrial accidents or sabotage.

Assuming those characteristics, here are what my predictions would be:

P-boron fusion would lead to a rapid decentralization of electricity as an industry in developed countries. In time, each small city would have its own power facility, and it would become a city utility similar to other services the city provides for its population. The "grid" would become a mere exchange for excess power or a backup failsafe in the event of reactor failure. Industry would invest in the technology so that medium and large scale factories would have their own reactors. The overall price of power per kw hour would plummet, and at least some of that savings would be passed on to consumers. An additional benefit is that decentralized power means there are fewer enticing "big" targets for would-be terrorists. If p-boron reactors became ubiquitous, large scale interruptions of power on a national or regional basis would be impossible.

P-boron fusion would lead to a rapid expansion of economic growth in developing countries. Similar to how cell phone technology has leap-frogged poorer nations into the high-tech world by essentially bypassing the expensive infrastructure of hard-wired telecommunications, p-boron power will bring energy to regions in a more organic and efficient way, bypassing the establishment of a big, unwieldy power grid for the immediacy of smaller scale power production to areas that need it the most. This could lead to the potential for more industrial productivity from developing nations. P-boron fusion also makes large-scale desalinization plants economically viable, which would have global implications. Fresh water for human consumption and for agriculture is in short supply in many parts of the world. A pipeline to an ocean and a power-hungry desalinization plant fed by p-boron fusion would be all that would be needed to address those needs. All these applications would lead to better quality of life and greater economic expansion for the developing world, opening new markets and opportunities for the developed world to benefit from via trade and commerce.

P-boron fusion would transform petroleum's role from that of an energy source to almost exclusively a raw material for industrial production. The price of crude oil would plummet and remain low, which would drop the raw material costs for petroleum-based products like plastics. "Peak" oil would no longer be much of a concern if petroleum were no longer used as an energy source.

P-boron fusion would have a profound and positive ecologic impact on the planet. The retirement of fossil fuels as an energy source would be of great benefit to the planet, along with the accompanying environmental damage that can result in extracting it (drilling/mining, etc). Hydroelectric power could also be discontinued and dams eventually decommissioned, as well as raptor-chewing wind turbines, fission nuclear plants, and the like.


Those would be my initial thoughts. Having a potent and inexpensive source of electric power would make wildly impractical projects more feasible. Here is a far-fetched example: a transatlantic bridge from Scotland-->Iceland-->Greenland-->Newfoundland could be constructed using a string of p-boron fusion reactors placed on the equivalent of oil refinery platforms, each using electricity to calcify its metal platform into what would become a bridge pylon. Construct a bridge over those pylons that can transport several lines of heavy rail as well as cars/trucks, and the flow of commerce between the continents would rapidly increase. None of that would make sense to do at current energy prices, as making a boat and sailing is much less expensive, but with an inexpensive new power source such projects could at least be entertained.
Last edited by disfrontman on Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Large scale implications of p-boron fusion power

Postby rjaypeters » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:18 pm

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Re: Large scale implications of p-boron fusion power

Postby CharlesKramer » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:58 pm

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Re: Large scale implications of p-boron fusion power

Postby CharlesKramer » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:31 pm

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Postby Nik » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:21 am


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Re: Large scale implications of p-boron fusion power

Postby TecnoImpacto » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:37 pm


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Postby KitemanSA » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:35 am


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Postby CharlesKramer » Sun Feb 20, 2011 3:28 am

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Postby ltgbrown » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:49 pm

Famous last words, "Hey, watch this!"

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Postby CharlesKramer » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:31 am

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Postby rjaypeters » Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:36 am

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Postby KitemanSA » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:50 pm


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Postby KitemanSA » Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:10 pm


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Postby CharlesKramer » Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:46 pm

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Postby ltgbrown » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:15 pm

Famous last words, "Hey, watch this!"


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