Why on Earth Fusion? Fusion: Energy Source for the Future AAAS Annual Meeting John Clarke & Jae Edmonds 19 February 2005 Joint Global Change Research Institute.
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Why on Earth Fusion? Fusion: Energy Source for the Future AAAS Annual Meeting John Clarke & Jae Edmonds 19 February 2005 Joint Global Change Research Institute Washington, DC
2 Thanks to The Organizer of the Session Dale Meade, PPPL. The US DOE Office of Science, EPRI & The many other sponsors of the Global Technology Strategy Project
3 Why on Earth Fusion? Other energy sources are plentiful. Yes, population is growing and there are issues of supply, cost and environment with each source. But, historically speaking, technology development has proved deft at addressing such issues. So why on earth fusion? Over the years many reasons have been suggested, but today I believe one is paramount. While there are many uncertainties about future energy needs, the dominant role of carbon based fuel for the next fifty years is not one of them and... We really do need some non-carbon energy options.
4 Three Propositions Related to Climate & Fusion Energy Development Human induced climate change is a long-term issue with a characteristic time scale of 100 years or more, but with implications for present decision making. Climate change is all about technology and managing the development and deployment of succeeding generations of energy technology over the century ahead. Stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations means that the largest changes to the global energy system are in the second half of the 21 st century.
5 Implications for Fusion The good news: The climate driven need for new technology will be largest when fusion is most likely to become available. The bad news: It’s a competitive world. It takes more than a climate constraint to bring a non-emitting technology into the market. If a technology cannot deliver on cost, performance, other environmental concerns, health, and safety issues, its competitors will. Even if technically successful, fusion will compete with a portfolio of other technology responses.
6 Bottom Line Fusion benefits from a climate constraints, but the benefit is relative. On the other hand, the value to successful fusion technology development is potentially very high.
7 Stabilizing CO 2 Concentrations Stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations is the goal of the Framework Convention on Climate Change Stabilizing the concentration of CO 2 is a very long term problem Stabilization means that GLOBAL emissions must peak in the decades ahead and then decline indefinitely thereafter.
8 Assumed Advances In Fossil Fuels Energy intensity Nuclear Renewables The “Gap” Gap technologies e.g. C Capture & Sequestration Fusion Biotech Energy Stabilizing CO 2 : Base Case and “Gap” Technologies
9 There Are No “Silver Bullets” When It Comes to Stabilization Energy Intensity Improvements Industry Buildings Transportation Wind and Solar Biotechnology Soils Biomass crops Advanced biotechnology Nuclear Fission Fusion Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage Geologic Terrestrial (soils, trees) Advanced Transformation Systems Electricity Hydrogen Bio-derivative fuels Non-CO 2 Greenhouse Gases
10 Timing is Everything: Emissions Mitigation Under WRE Emissions Reductions from Reference to Reach WRE Path
11 So If Fusion Technology Was Available After 2050: Fusion energy would benefits from carbon taxes... the Carbon “Subsidy” Each $100/tonne C is worth $0.011 to $0.018/kWh (depending on the fossil fuel alternative)
12 Value of a Tonne of Carbon Mitigation Timing of Emissions Mitigation Under WRE
13 Estimates of the Potential of Fusion Power in a Climate- Constrained World 1996 GTSP Study “The Economic Value of Fusion Energy” assumed: Fission phased out in W. Eur. & USA Elsewhere Fission's Costs Decline @ 0.5 %/yr. No Carbon Capture & Sequestration Fusion technology available beginning in 2035, but not commercially available until 2050. Costs of operation declining to between $0.03/kWh and $0.10/kWh.
14 GTSP Modeling Results Growing share of fusion power generation in the second half of the 21 st century as costs decline. Obviously, a greater share of power generation the lower the cost. But only modestly greater market penetration under a climate constraint Due to competition driven technology advances.
15 Pacific Northwest National LaboratoryBattelle Memorial Institute However, The Value of Commercially Available Fusion Energy in 2050 Is Still Large
16 The Economic Bottom Line Fusion benefits from a climate constrained world, but the benefit is relative. Unless it can provide energy at a competitive cost—and the competition is not standing still— its role as an energy technology will be limited. On the other hand, the value to successful technology development is potentially high. Demonstrating the technical feasibility of fusion has a large option value.
17 Fusion Research is Ready for a Burning Plasma Experiment Computational, diagnostic advances have laid a solid scientific basis for understanding key physical phenomena at different time and spatial scales. Magnetohydrodynamics, microturbulence, plasma transport However, like human biology or climate, fusion plasma behavior is the sum of non-linearly coupled interactions at all of these scales. After nearly sixty years of research, ITER will explore the ultimate regime of fusion plasma phenomena. Internal fusion reactions will dominate the plasma. The fusion plasma will reveal its final, self-organized characteristics. The operational and technological hurdles will be clear. ARIES-RS (Q = 25)
18 And If ITER Succeeds... ITER Project Office Magnetic Fusion Roadmap (December 2003)
Estimated Development Cost for Fusion Energy Has Been Essentially Unchanged Since 1980 $M, FY02 1980 FED ITER Demo 1/6-1/30 Value of Avoided Carbon @ 550ppm
20 So why on earth fusion? In a climate constrained world uncertainty abounds: Carbon sequestration is the determining factor for fossil fuel electric generation. A paradigm shift to a hydrogen economy is also needed to allow continued use of fossil fuels for transportation. The competitive economics of hydrogen from non-carbon energy sources depends on both fossil and non-fossil technology development... and their social acceptability. Energy availability, relative technological progress, environmental preferences and security issues will all play a role in determining the outcome. Given large uncertainties, durable policy conflicts, and potential consequences of delay: Fusion’s Option Value Is Very Large.