Commercial Fusion could arrive in the 2030s

Commercial fusion reactors could begin generating electricity in the 2030s, a fusion trade association predicts.

The Fusion Industry Association, the first fusion trade group, and the UK Atomic Energy Association (UKEA) made that conclusion in their first report on the business. The Association published The Global Fusion Industry in 2021, the first report on the commercial fusion industry on 28 October 2021.*

Executives at 71% of the companies surveyed think fusion commercialization will begin in the 2030s. There are 35 fusion companies in the world, the Association estimates. However, only 27 of the companies participated in the Association’s survey.

Fusion Companies Receive $1.8 billion in funding

The Association estimates those companies have received $1.8 billion in private funding and $85 million in government funding. Overall, fusion companies received $1.87 billion in funding, the Association calculates.

However, four companies, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, General Fusion, TAE Technologies, and Tokamak Energy received 85% of the funding. Hence, I calculate those companies received around $1.59 billion in funding.

They base Commonwealth in Massachusetts, TAE is in California, Tokamak Energy is in Oxford, England, and they base General Fusion in British Columbia, The Financial Times reports.

Most of the funding, around 96%, goes to efforts to generate electricity through fusion. Thus they spent around $1.8 billion in efforts to generate fusion with electricity, I calculate.

Note: actual fusion funding is probably far higher because the Fusion Industry Association survey does not include government fusion projects and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)in France. The ITER alone could cost over $45 billion, NextBIGFuture claims.

Fusion Needs More Investment

Investment in fusion is tiny in comparison with investments in other energy sources. For example, IBISWorld estimates companies invested $2.1 trillion in oil and gas drilling in 2021.

I think government fusion investments are criminally small. For example, the United States spent $778 billion on defense in 2021, The Peter G. Peterson Foundation estimates. In addition, another 11 countries spent $761 billion on defense in 2021.

Much of that “defense spending” finances obsolete weapons systems for theoretical wars. For example, aircraft carriers for a potential conflict with China. They spend large portions of that money questionable conflicts such as the mess in Afghanistan.

I think investment in alternative energy sources to combat the real menace of Climate Change is a more responsible use of our tax money. Hopefully, fusion investment will grow as progress in the field accelerates.

More Fusion Funding Needed

Billionaires could also invest more responsibly. For example, Jeff Bezos, who finances General Fusion and invests in Commonwealth Fusion Systems, refuses to divulge the cost of his New Shepherd fake space rocket. However, The New York Times reports idiots have spent $100 million for seats on Bezos’ play rocket.

I think the world could be better off if Bezos would invest the money he wastes on the New Shepherd toy on fusion research. Hence, taxing rich people to get money for research is a better strategy than relying on philanthropy.

Hence, a wealth tax with part of the proceeds going to research and a carbon tax could finance development of additional energy sources. Unfortunately, both a carbon tax or a wealth tax could be politically impossible in the United States.

Consequently, we need more funding for agencies such as ARPA-E and funds, such as Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures. Fusion could soon be a reality if we invest money in it.