Hundreds of years ago, after more than 5000 years of efforts, human civilization finally embarked on the road of scientific development and began the industrial age. The industrial age has brought great changes to all human beings. We have made several leaps in a very short period of time. We have not only made brilliant achievements in various fields, but also made all human beings complete their long-standing dream of flying to the sky, step out of the earth and start the exploration of the universe.
In the view of many people, the current scientific and technological strength of mankind is very good, and it should be able to occupy a relatively advanced position in the family of cosmic civilization. But the ideal is beautiful, the reality is often very cruel, although all mankind has not found any alien civilization, but we can not think that human civilization is a relatively advanced cosmic civilization.
In 1964, former Soviet Union scientist Nikolay Kardashev conceived the hierarchy of alien civilization and put forward Kardashev’s conjecture, which divided the universe civilization into three levels. Later, scientists expanded these three levels to four levels.
Kardashev’s classification standard of cosmic civilization is based on the application of energy, by mastering different energy detection technology to divide the civilization level. This classification standard is very scientific and has been supported by many scientists.
In fact, the era of science and technology is also the era of energy. The development and progress of science and technology of all mankind cannot do without energy. Without energy, science and technology of all mankind will stagnate. And the continuous progress and update of energy technology can also show the continuous progress of scientific and technological strength. Although it has been hundreds of years since all mankind entered the industrial age, and science and technology is also changing with each passing day, the energy we are using is still concentrated in chemical energy.
In the industrial age of hundreds of years, we are just improving the application of chemical energy, and this improvement has not made the energy mastered by all mankind change qualitatively. Therefore, the civilization level of all mankind is less than level 1, which can only be counted as level 0.7 at most. Instead of breaking through the level 1 barrier and becoming a level 1 civilization, the key technology is controllable nuclear fusion.
Nuclear energy is a higher energy than chemical energy. In the last century, the whole mankind initially recognized nuclear energy, and also developed devastating and terrible nuclear weapons. However, for the practical application of nuclear energy, we have only achieved nuclear fission, which has great disadvantages. Although the energy is much stronger than chemical energy, its radiation and other hazards are also great.
Therefore, nuclear fission can not be widely used, and the real advanced application mode of nuclear energy is nuclear fusion. There are countless stars in the universe, and the interior of the star is a controllable nuclear fusion reactor, which continuously converts hydrogen into helium.
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, and the surface water resources account for 71%. There are many planets with water in the solar system, so the raw materials for nuclear fusion are inexhaustible.
It is because the raw materials needed for nuclear fusion can be seen everywhere, and there is no need to worry about the lack of raw materials, so many friends think that after the completion of controllable nuclear fusion, we will no longer worry about electricity in our daily life. At that time, the electricity bill will be very cheap. Some people say it will be reduced to a dime per kilowatt hour, while others say it may be reduced to a few cents.
So is that really the case? After the completion of controllable kernel clustering, will the electricity charge be a dime or even lower? If you also think so, then I can only answer you: think too much. Yes, the fuel 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 perspective of raw materials, once the controllable nuclear fusion is completed, there is no need to worry about the day when the raw materials are not enough. Because no matter on earth or in space, there is no shortage of hydrogen, so is it really so simple? Of course not. In fact, the fuel for nuclear fusion is not our common hydrogen, but heavy hydrogen, that is deuterium (heavy water).
Heavy water is not everywhere. Its content in seawater is about 0.015%. To use this kind of heavy hydrogen, we need to extract it from seawater first. Of course, the amount seems to be very small, but there is too much water on the earth, and there is also too much water in the universe, so the total amount is astronomical.
Using the earth’s water resources to extract heavy water to meet the needs of nuclear fusion can also be used by all mankind for a long time. So we don’t have to worry about the day when heavy water, a nuclear fusion fuel, will not be enough. But even so, it is not easy to extract the heavy water needed for nuclear fusion from ordinary seawater, and it still needs certain equipment and technology.
These devices and technologies will increase the cost of nuclear fusion. This is only the first procedure. After the completion of controllable nuclear fusion, many procedures are needed to convert it into electricity that can be used by all mankind. Each of these procedures will cost a lot. For example, to transmit electricity, we need to use modern power grid. 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 power grid system is far from the biggest cost of nuclear fusion power generation. The real cost is the research and development of controllable nuclear fusion. We all know that the plasma temperature required for successful ignition of nuclear fusion is very high, reaching 5000 to 100 million degrees Celsius. And this is just the primary temperature. With the continuous upgrading of controllable nuclear fusion, the required temperature will be higher and higher, reaching hundreds of millions of degrees Celsius.
If such a high temperature can not be restrained, it is very dangerous, which is also an important barrier for controllable nuclear fusion. Scientists think of the way is through magnetic constraints, that is, the use of 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, in which the superconducting cable is the area with the highest requirements, the longest length and the most severe working conditions ever. And to get the job done in this environment, we can imagine how much it costs. This cannot be measured in numbers at present.
It can be seen that the cost of nuclear fusion power generation is very high, which is far higher than the current thermal power generation, hydropower generation and so on.
Therefore, even if the controllable nuclear fusion technology is completed, the electricity bill will not be reduced soon, and it is even less likely that it will be reduced to 10 cents per hour or even a few cents per hour. Even so, the desire of all mankind for nuclear fusion is very big, it represents an energy bottleneck, related to the promotion of human civilization level.
Once the controllable nuclear fusion is completed, mankind will break the limitation of chemical energy and enter a new energy era. If we use it to generate electricity, then our daily electricity consumption will not be cut off because of the power consumption peak in winter. As long as you are willing to spend money, you can use as much electricity as you want.
Of course, after the completion of controllable nuclear fusion, with the continuous upgrading of technology, nuclear fusion technology will become more and more powerful, from the initial giant to smaller and smaller. Even if the nuclear fusion battery is completed, if the nuclear fusion technology reaches such a level, it is inevitable that the electricity cost will drop sharply. Therefore, from a long-term point of view, the electricity cost of human beings in the future may be the lowest in daily life, and it is possible to achieve a fraction of a degree or even a fraction of a degree.
It just takes a long time to complete this process. At the current speed of scientific and technological development of all mankind, it may take at least 50 years for controllable nuclear fusion to be completed, and it may be the next century for us to use the electricity generated by nuclear fusion to complete commercial use.