Problems With Fusion
Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor.
Fusion has problems. Chief among them is that we haven’t been able to make it work efficiently here on earth despite over sixty years of research. But fusion also has broader problems. Inadequate funding, difficulty communicating, unequal funding, long development times, uncertain outcomes and over-hyped prospects haunt fusion to this day. Yet the possibility of fusion power is pursued ardently all over the world. That’s because the potential of fusion power can’t be overstated. This potential translates into some of it’s problems.
Fusion is hard. Trying to coerce fundamental forces of nature to follow our bidding has proven exceptionally challenging. Lifetimes have been spent to gain only incremental improvements. The monumental difficulty of the goal is hard to convey to a broad audience. The topics involved are at the bleeding edge of science and engineering. The brilliant people involved are often doing so without complete knowledge themselves, or are in the process of finding answers. Missing and incomplete information adds to the communication challenge.
Discussions about the potential of fusion power naturally leads to hyperbolic language. The prospect of this energy source would truly alter the course of human history. We would likely enter a new era of human history dubbed the fusion age. Every aspect of society would be affected. The potential of fundamental shifts are what generate the passion to pursue fusion.
People with the passion to pursue this goal run into those being asked to fund the research. This question is never easily answered. To argue for funding proponents often resort to the aspirational language of fusions great potential. This can set up overly optimistic visions and outcomes. This can lead to disappointment and further funding struggles. The history of fusion research has lead to the concentration of funding focusing on tokamak research. Many other promising approaches go wanting.
Unfortunately, LPPFusion falls into this category. To combat this funding challenge, a campaign for individual investment has been started. Being hosted by WeFunder, the campaign is nearing its initial goal. However, a stretch goal is in place while and the campaign will remain open for the next few months.