Billionaires Chase "SpaceX Moment" For The Holy Grail Of Energy

Submitted by: trimble 1 month ago in Tech


The goal is to one day produce clean, almost limitless energy by fusing atoms together rather than splitting them apart.

An ecverpt from Bloomberg Quint: Not long before he died, tech visionary Paul Allen traveled to the south of France for a personal tour of a 35-country quest to replicate the workings of the Sun. The goal is to one day produce clean, almost limitless energy by fusing atoms together rather than splitting them apart.

The Microsoft Corp. co-founder said he wanted to view the early stages of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in Cadarache firsthand, to witness preparations “for the birth of a star on Earth.”

Allen wasn’t just a bystander in the hunt for the holy grail of nuclear power. He was among a growing number of ultra-rich clean-energy advocates pouring money into startups that are rushing to produce the first commercially viable fusion reactor long before the $23 billion ITER program’s mid-century forecast.

Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Peter Thiel are just three of the billionaires chasing what the late physicist Stephen Hawking called humankind’s most promising technology. Scientists have long known that fusion has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry, but development costs have been too high for all but a handful of governments and investors. Recent advances in exotic materials, 3D printing, machine learning and data processing are all changing that.

“It’s the SpaceX moment for fusion,” said Christofer Mowry, who runs the Bezos-backed General Fusion Inc. near Vancouver, Canada. He was referring to Elon Musk’s reusable-rocket maker. “If you care about climate change you have to care about the timescale and not just the ultimate solution. Governments aren’t working with the urgency needed.”

The company Allen supported, TAE Technologies, stood alone when it was incorporated as Tri-Alpha Energy two decades ago. Now it has at least two dozen rivals, many funded by investors with a track record of disruption. As a result, there’s been an explosion of discoveries that are driving the kind of competition needed for a transformational breakthrough, according to Mowry.

One of the clearest measures of progress in the field was on display last week in Gandhinagar, India, where the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency held its biennial fusion forum. The conference highlighted a record 800 peer-reviewed research papers, 60 percent more than a decade ago.
There are 7 comments:
Male 501
Don't even mention any of thisin junk Sweden. They try to ban anything with reactors in it (hence stopping nuclear power and as a consequence having to import coal-power from germany). 
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Male 18,342
You need disruptive entrepreneurs to fund it. The energy and electric industries have too much invested in fossil fuels, governments are in their pockets and academia has failed for decades.

The world needs fusion badly, but I wonder if anyone has considered some of the consequences if the transition isn't handled right?
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Male 2,758
You go boys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Male 9,505
The sooner they find a way to make fusion commercially viable, the better (and that's an understatement). If all the coal and natural gas power plants could be replaced with fusion generators, we'd at least have a hope of getting global warming under control. As it is now, the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere just continues its inexorable climb, year after year.
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6,944
Okay..... so what you're saying is entrepreneurs do entrepreneur stuff         
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Male 5,281
dm2754 Yes.
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6,944
trimble it would be nice if they can crack the code that would be great news for everyone
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