Agora Financials has something interesting to say about Polywell Fusion.
“Polywell fusion technology could be the biggest monkey wrench in the history of markets,” writes our technology adviser Patrick Cox. If you’re unfamiliar (we certainly were), fusion is often tagged as one potential “fuel of the future.” Instead of splitting atoms, like the nuclear fission we use today, it fuses them.Yep.
“Polywell,” explains Patrick, “is a different approach to fusion energy that’s generating huge buzz in tech circles. If, as proponents claim, commercial polywell fusion is only four or five years away, it would be the biggest monkey wrench in the history of markets. It would be both good and bad, however.
“It promises energy so cheap as to be virtually free. Some scientists believe that power would be driven down to 1% or less of its current cost. Even if it were 5% or 10%, though, the impact would be staggering.
“The economic roots of global poverty would disappear. Within a decade, desalinized water, food, transportation and most physical goods would plummet in price. The Third World would achieve a higher standard of living than the First World enjoys today. The First World would have options that are almost inconceivable. Whole sectors would collapse, but new ones would rise and more than compensate for the lost equity values.”
It almost goes without saying: This technology still has many hurdles to clear. “But the chance that polywell is what the scientists say it is, however, requires that we watch this very, very closely,” says Patrick.
I do take issue with one point. I think energy at 1% of today's cost is a long ways into the future if it ever comes. However, estimates of 10% of current costs are certainly reasonable with initial production units coming in at 50% of current electrical energy costs. All of which assumes it will work. Which is so far unproven. However, the work the US Navy is doing could provide the proof - one way or the other. More money (a few tens of millions) would give us the answer faster. If the answer is positive a net power producer test reactor at a cost of $100 million or so (engineering, fabrication, tests) would be in order. If that worked out we could go ahead on an electrical power generating unit and production facilities at a probable investment cost of $1 billion. However, a billion in investment money would not be hard to raise at that point.
Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained
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Cross Posted at Classical Values