THE CONSEQUENCES OF CLEAN COLD FUSION

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       THE CONSEQUENCES OF CLEAN COLD FUSION

Copyright (c) 1989 by Martin L. Buchanan.  Permission to
reproduce this entire article in free publications or
postings is granted.

This posting predicts the economic, political, and social
consequences of clean cold fusion.  It predicts dates for
particular consequences and gives free investment advice.

This article refers to a Fleischmann-Pons fusion reactor
as a "Puff" reactor (Pons/Utah/Fleischmann/fusion).  The
associated process is the Puff process.


PREMISES

1. The Puff process works as claimed.
2. The amount of ionizing radiation produced can be made
   low enough that use in vehicles, homes, and offices
   is practical.


PREDICTION #1:  RAPID DEVELOPMENT

Puff experiments can and will be done by garage shop operations.
The Puff process will be well-characterized in a few months.
Experimental Puff engines will be constructed this year.  An
experimental Puff vehicle will be constructed by the end of '89.

By the end of 1990 there will be working prototypes of Puff
cars, trucks, light aircraft, and home heating/electrical plants.


PREDICTION #2:  POLITICAL OPPOSITION THAT FAILS

Threatened economic interests will wage fierce battles to restrict
use of Puff technology.  The first U.S. battles will be in 
federal regulatory agencies and then the Congress:

* Appeals for the federal government to restrict experimentation
  and access to deuterium and certain metals.

* Proposed federal laws that would forbid the use of Puff in
  vehicles or homes, or that would impose such stringent radiation
  limits that shielding makes Puff impractical.

Supporting restrictions will be oil companies, electric utilities,
some environmentalists, and Congress-critters from oil- and
coal-producing states.  Opposing restrictions will be auto
manufacturers, airplane manufacturers, general business lobbies,
businesses with high energy costs, and advocates of the free
market, such as the Libertarian Party.  The public will decide
with a deluge of mail and phone calls supporting Puff 10:1.

When the battle to forbid Puff fails in Congress, there
will be these new federal legislative ideas:

* Federal tax/license fees on Puff reactors to reduce the
  deficit and fund the new Federal Fusion Administration.

* Federal taxes on Puff inputs such as deuterium, heavy water,
  and certain metals.

* Transition assistance from taxpayers for certain impacted
  industries and workers.

* Billions for cold fusion research so that we stay ahead of
  the Japanese.  There will be hundreds of grant proposals
  from unemployed Tokamak jockeys.

The battle will also move to state and local governments where
state laws and local ordinances banning Puff, regulating Puff,
or requiring licenses will be fought.  Some short-lived ordinances
will be passed in places like Cambridge, Mass. or Berkeley, CA.
Licensing could become commonplace.  However, bans or radiation
restrictions beyond what health requires will eventually be
repealed.


PREDICTION #3:  F/P PATENT GRANTED AND UPHELD

Fleischmann and Pons will be granted a broad patent covering
all use of cold fusion in a metal lattice to generate energy.
The University of Utah and probably the University of
Southampton will share in the largess.

The patent-holders will license the patent on very generous
terms, seeking a one-time payment for each Puff built in
proportion to its power output.  For example, a $.001/W capacity
(tenth of a cent per Watt = $1.00 per Kilowatt capacity) license
fee could generate a revenue stream of billions of dollars per
year within a few years.

The universities, the inventors, and the inventors' heirs will
be among the richest institutions and persons in the world
as we enter the 21st century.


PREDICTION #4:  SCHEDULE

1989   Process characterized.

       Experimental Puff engine and vehicle.

1990   Forecasters dub the new decade "The Fusing Nineties."

       Working prototypes of Puff cars, trucks, light aircraft,
       home heating plants, and home electrical plants.

1991   Auto companies introduce Puff models.  Puff vehicle
       prices are initially high but drop rapidly.

       Puff hot water heater on the market.

1992   Portable computer appears powered by Puff and
       thermocouple.

       Puff home electrical power system on the market.

1993   Light aircraft manufacturers introduce Puff models.

       First large Puff ship puts to sea.

1994   First Puff central power station with more than
       100M Watts capacity.

       First Boeing Puff 797F ("F" for fusion) enters
       commercial service.

1995   Puff-powered ion-electric rocket deployed in
       orbit (for orbital transfers, not surface to orbit).


PREDICTION #5:  INVESTMENTS

These investments will benefit:

  Companies involved in extracting heavy water or in building
  new heavy water plants.

  Mining companies extracting the metals used, such as
  Palladium.

  Vehicle manufacturers including auto-makers, airplane-makers,
  ship-builders, truck-builders, and locomotive-builders.

  Companies that build electric generating plants; they have
  the expertise to build Puff-based plants.

  Companies that can manufacture cheap and very sensitive
  radiation detectors.

  Companies that can build cheap Puff-based desalination plants.

  Energy-intensive industries, such as aluminum
  companies

  Real estate and retail businesses around the University of
  Utah and possibly the University of Southampton.


These investments will suffer in the long run:

  Fossil fuel (oil and coal) extracting, refining,
  distributing, and retailing.

  The preexisting nuclear energy industry (based on fission).

  Companies manufacturing solar-electric, hydro-electric,
  and wind-electric equipment.

  Parts manufacturers and anything related to internal
  combustion engines.  This includes tuneup shops,
  vehicle repair shops, and so on.

  Electric utilities and natural gas utilities.
  Electric utilities won't disappear but will be under
  price pressure due to home or business direct generation
  of power from their own Puff plants.


PREDICTION #6:  GEOPOLITICAL CONSEQUENCES

Economies based on fossil-fuel extraction will decline in
relative wealth (though their absolute wealth may be greater
in a more abundant world) and in relative power:  Saudi
Arabia, Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf states, Brunei, Mexico,
Venezuela, Texas, Louisiana, Alaska, West Virginia.  Those
economies with large financial reserves and small populations,
such as Saudi Arabia, will do much better than those with
large populations and no financial reserves, such as Mexico.
(Note that the list of affected areas does not pretend to be
complete.)  A diverse economy such as Texas will handle
the transition much better than a one-product economy.

Japan and the U.S. will be stronger, eventually freed from
any dependence on imported fossil fuels (total dependence in
Japan's case), and with market-oriented cultures that will
quickly take advantage of these new developments.  The same
will be true of Korea and Taiwan.

The growing economic pie/increased abundance made possible
by Puff technology will aid the process of perestroika/glasnost/
restructuring in the communist nations, from the Soviet Union
to Eastern Europe to China.


PREDICTION #7:  MACROECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES

Puff will fuel an economic boom as the world replaces a large
part of its capital stock.  Of course some investments and
areas will fare poorly in the transition.


PREDICTION #8:  POLITICAL AND CULTURAL CONSEQUENCES

Puff will result in:

* More positive attitudes towards science and technology

* More young people interested in science and technology

* More positive attitudes towards markets, freedom, and
  classical liberal/libertarian ideas

* More openness to entrepreneurs, crackpots, and others
  with new ideas

* More skepticism about the value of government-funded
  science

* Less "zero-sum" thinking = less trade protectionism
  and less anti-immigration sentiment


PREDICTION #9:  CONTINUED INNOVATION

Puff will lead us to a new understanding of nuclear processes.
This new understanding and the innovative efforts of thousands
of engineers and scientists will overcome initial Puff
limitations if physically possible.  Some possible innovations
include:

* Desktop deuterium factory.  Someone will build a miniaturized
  device to separate heavy water or deuterium from water.

* Air-powered Puff plant.  An advanced Puff plant may take water
  vapor out of the air and extract the deuterons that it needs
  to power itself.

* Cold fusion-powered Earth to orbit rocket.  The initial Puff
  has relatively low operating temperatures, because the palladium
  lattice must be solid.  Presently unknown cold fusion techniques
  may allow much higher power densities and operating temperatures.
  Such a rocket could use plain water for its reaction mass if
  a high-enough exhaust velocity is achieved.

* Miniaturized Puff plants.  For example, a Puff-powered artificial
  heart.


PREDICTION #10:  OPENING THE HIGH FRONTIER

Even without direct cold fusion surface to orbit rockets, cold
fusion will help open the high frontier of space in these ways:

* Low power costs for laser launching or launch loops or LINAC
  (linear-accelerator)-assisted launching or antimatter production
  if antimatter is used for energy storage on such vehicles
  (see Forward's "Mirror Matter" book).

* Unbounded power for ion drive ships in space.

* It *may* be profitable to mine the Moon or asteroids for
  certain metals.

* With a wealthier global civilization on Earth and much lower
  space travel costs, millions of people will be able to afford
  space travel for pleasure.

I'll close with a final prediction:  within 30 years, you will
be able to buy a personal spaceship that will take you and your
family to the Moon and back.  Its price will be under one
million 1989 dollars.