Hundreds of years ago, after more than 5,000 years of hard work, human civilization finally embarked on the road of scientific development and began the industrial age. The industrial age has brought tremendous changes to all mankind. It has allowed us to complete several leaps in a very short period of time. Not only have we achieved brilliant achievements in various fields, but also allowed all mankind to complete the long-term dream of flying. Step out of the earth and start the exploration of the universe.
In the eyes of many people, the current technological strength of all mankind is already very good, and it should be able to occupy a relatively high position in the big family of cosmic civilization. But ideals are beautiful, and reality is often very cruel. Although all mankind has not yet discovered any extraterrestrial civilization, we cannot arrogantly believe that human civilization is already a relatively advanced cosmic civilization.
In 1964, the former Soviet Union scientist Nikolai Kardashev conceived the hierarchy of extraterrestrial civilization and proposed the Kardashev hierarchy conjecture, dividing the cosmic civilization into three levels. Later, scientists classified these three levels. Expanded to four levels.
Kardashev’s grading standard for cosmic civilization is based on the application of energy, through mastering different energy detection technologies to classify civilization. This classification standard is very scientific, and it has also been supported by many scientists.
The age of science and technology is actually the age of energy. The development and progress of science and technology for all mankind cannot be separated from energy. Without energy, the science and technology of all mankind will stagnate. The continuous progress and renewal of energy technology can also show that the strength of science and technology is constantly improving. Although all mankind has entered the industrial age for hundreds of years, and science and technology are also changing with each passing day, the energy we currently use is still concentrated in chemical energy.
In the centuries-old industrial age, we have only continuously improved the application of chemical energy, and this improvement has not caused a qualitative change in the energy held by all mankind. Therefore, the level of civilization of all mankind is less than level 1, at most, it can only be counted as level 0.7. Instead, it breaks through the barrier and becomes a civilization. Then the key technology is controllable nuclear fusion.
Nuclear energy is a higher energy source than chemical energy. In the last century, all mankind has initially recognized nuclear energy and has also developed devastating and terrifying weapons and nuclear weapons. However, for the practical application of nuclear energy, we are currently only achieving nuclear fission. This application of nuclear energy has great drawbacks. Although the energy is much stronger than chemical energy, its radiation and other hazards are also great.
Therefore, nuclear fission, the application of nuclear energy, cannot be promoted to a large number of applications, and the real advanced application mode of nuclear energy is nuclear fusion. There are countless stars in the universe, and inside a star is a controllable nuclear fusion reactor, which continuously converts hydrogen element into helium element and so on.
The demand for raw materials for nuclear fusion is also very simple, that is, hydrogen, which accounts for more than 90% of the universe. The earth is an ocean world, with surface water resources accounting for 71%, and there are many planets with water in the solar system, so the raw materials needed for nuclear fusion are inexhaustible.
It is precisely because the raw materials needed for nuclear fusion can be found everywhere, there is no need to worry about lack of raw materials, so many friends think that after the controllable nuclear fusion is completed, we will no longer worry about electricity in our daily life, and the electricity bill will be very cheap at that time. Some people say it will drop to one dime per kilowatt-hour, and some say it may drop to a few cents.
So will it really be the case? After the controllable kernel clustering is completed, will the electricity bill really be as cheap as a dime or even lower? If you think so, then I can only answer you: I think too much. Yes, the fuel used for nuclear fusion is indeed hydrogen, which is a ubiquitous substance. The main substance in the universe is also hydrogen, and water is also composed of hydrogen and oxygen.
It can be said that from the point of view of raw materials, once controlled nuclear fusion is completed, there is no need to worry about which day the raw materials will be insufficient. Because whether it is on the earth or in space, hydrogen is the least lacking, so is it really that simple? Of course not. In fact, the fuel used in nuclear fusion is not our usual hydrogen, but deuterium, that is, deuterium (heavy water).
Heavy water is not everywhere. Its content in seawater is about 0.015%. To use this heavy hydrogen, we must first extract it from seawater. Of course, this content seems to be very small, but there is too much water on the earth, and there is also a lot of water in the universe, so the total amount is also an astronomical figure.
Just use the earth’s water resources to extract heavy water to meet the use of nuclear fusion can also be used by all mankind for a relatively long period of time. Therefore, we don’t have to worry about whether nuclear fusion fuel such as heavy water will be insufficient one day. But even so, it is not easy to extract the heavy water needed for nuclear fusion from ordinary seawater, and certain equipment and technology are still needed.
These equipment and technologies will increase the cost of nuclear fusion. This is only the most basic process. After the controllable nuclear fusion is completed, it will be converted into electricity that can be used by all mankind. Many procedures are required. Each of these procedures requires a lot of effort. Big cost. For example, to transmit electricity, we need to use modern power grids. Although part of our current power grid system can be used, a large part of it does not meet the requirements of nuclear fusion and needs to be upgraded.
The transformation and upgrading of the power grid system is far from the biggest cost of nuclear fusion power generation. The really big cost is the research and development of controllable nuclear fusion. We all know that when nuclear fusion is successfully ignited, the temperature required for plasma is very high, reaching 5,000 to 100 million degrees Celsius. This is only the first level of temperature. With the continuous escalation of controllable nuclear fusion, the required temperature will become higher and higher, reaching hundreds of millions of degrees Celsius.
If such a high temperature cannot be controlled, it is very dangerous, and it is also an important barrier that makes it difficult to achieve controlled nuclear fusion. The method that scientists thought of was to use magnetic confinement, that is, to use a strong magnetic field to constrain the internal high-temperature environment. And this powerful magnetic field is generated by the unimaginable current of superconductors.
Therefore, the nuclear fusion reactor is a very large structure, and the superconducting cable is the area with the highest requirements, the longest length, and the most severe working conditions in history. To complete the work in such an environment, we can imagine how high the cost is. This is currently impossible to measure with numbers.
It can be seen that whether it is from the extraction of heavy water, the upgrading of the power grid system, or the various technical difficulties required for the completion of controllable nuclear fusion, the combination of these will make the cost of nuclear fusion power generation very high, far higher than the current firepower. Power generation, hydropower, etc.
Therefore, even if the controllable nuclear fusion technology is completed, the electricity bill will not drop quickly, let alone a dime or even a few cents. Even so, the desire of all mankind for nuclear fusion is very large. It represents a kind of energy bottleneck, which is related to the promotion of the civilization level of all mankind.
Once the controllable nuclear fusion is completed, all mankind will break the limitation of chemical energy and enter a new energy era. If it is used to generate electricity, then our daily electricity consumption will not be cut off due to the peak power consumption period in winter. As long as you are willing to spend money, there is no problem with how much electricity you want to use.
Of course, after the controllable nuclear fusion is completed, with the continuous upgrading of technology, nuclear fusion technology will become more and more powerful, from the initial behemoth to smaller and smaller. Even if the nuclear fusion battery is completed, if the nuclear fusion technology reaches this level, then the electricity bill will drop significantly. Therefore, from a long-eyed perspective, the electricity cost of humans in the future may be the lowest in daily life. A dime or even a fraction of a degree is possible.
It just takes a relatively long time to complete this process. At the current technological development speed of all mankind, it may take at least 50 years for controllable nuclear fusion to be completed, and it may be the next century to complete the commercial use of electricity generated by nuclear fusion.