Nuclear fusion is considered by many to be the holy grail of clean energy -- a technology that would transform the world, if only we could figure out how to do it. But harnessing the same process that powers our sun is no small task.
On 12 November 2014, China and the U.S. reached a historic agreement to limit greenhouse gases. Other nations will hopefully follow suit. But even these cuts may not be enough. So how are we going to meet these goals?
It was with great interest that we read this week of two claimed breakthroughs in the area of fusion energy, by the U.S. aerospace company Lockheed Martin and a separate team of Italian and Swedish scientists. We will continue to monitor both of these developments.
To try and reach back there, I'm going straight to the source. Not to new books like Joseph Tirella's Tomorrow-Land, but to a dust-blanketed old one. It's one that's been wedged in the back of my shelf since the summer of 1964: The Official Guide to the New York World's Fair.
What if there was an inexhaustible form of carbon-free, clean energy that was available 24/7, rain or shine, and was no larger than existing fossil fuel plants? Is that something you might be interested in?
I still hold long-term hopes for fusion, but my experience working at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on laser fusion convinces me that we are at least a generation away before any kind of commercialization will occur.