Meanwhile emissions continue to increase every year, and the increase is accelerating, rising by 1.6 percent in 2017 and about 2.7 percent in 2018 to reach an all-time high. Making matters even more dire, global energy demand is projected to grow by approximately 27 percent by 2040, or 3,743 million tons oil equivalent (mtoe). What if there was one energy solution that could solve all of these pressing problems?
While it sounds fantastical, there is a comprehensive solution. And it's right around the corner.
One of the most powerful forms of power we use today is nuclear energy. While modern nuclear is extremely efficient and creates zero carbon emissions, it has a lot of drawbacks, and they're big ones: potential nuclear meltdowns and radioactive waste that remains hazardous for thousands of years (costing taxpayers a bundle in the process). But there is a better way. Our current nuclear reactors are all powered using nuclear fission, the process of splitting atoms to generate energy. For years, scientists have wondered how we can harness nuclear fusion, the process that powers the sun by fusing atoms together, for use on earth. Fusion is ultra-powerful, several times more potent than fission, and generates zero nuclear waste, since its fuel is not uranium or plutonium, but hydrogen.