Originally Posted by maarten12100
Waterpower is pretty reliable but so are coal and nuclear fission.
I opt for fusion reactors but I know very well goverments are too stupid and barely fund it.
Also adhessive metal tanks can hold hydrogen already so that is could be used to replace the need for fossil fuels in cars.
But one should not exist without the other as using renewable ways to generate hydrogen is a waste, near unlimited energy however would make it very clean.
ITER is currently funded with $16 billion. The problem isn't funding, it's the lack of technological breakthroughs and the huge complexities in sustaining nuclear fusion on Earth. So instead of focusing on what we want to do in the future, what we need to do right now is focus on using what we have. And the only viable large scale replacement for oil and coal is nuclear, which can be supplemented by solar, wind, water, and geothermal, because that's all our technology allows us to do right now. I'm not calling for a halt on future research, but the problems we have right now are very real, and we can only use solutions available to us right now, not some hypothetical future tech that has so far shown no signs of working anytime soon.
Water can be unreliable if there are droughts. Additionally, building dams is not only labor intensive, it destroys the environment. Tidal systems are nice and reliable, but they're momentary, only a few hours each day. Areas with good tidal changes are also very limited. Wave power is also nice, but it takes up the shoreline, is not aesthetically pleasing, and not every area has access to wave power.
Solar is unreliable and spotty, and not suitable for all areas. Additionally, efficient solar panels require the use of rare earth metals, the mining of which are very environmentally unfriendly.
Wind also has the same problem of not working for all areas, and being very aesthetically unpleasing.
Geothermal has the same problem of not working for all areas.
That leaves us with only nuclear fission as a low emissions method of generating electricity, but public fear and distrust of nuclear technology has put a halt to any progress in nuclear power, at least in the US.
Fast reactors (also called breeder reactors) have the potential to constantly reuse fuel for its operations. That means besides the initial fueling stage, it can operate for an extremely long time before requiring new fuel. In addition, it can use waste products from normal nuclear reactors as fuel, and reduce the overall radiotoxicity of spent fuel by splitting what normal nuclear reactors cannot split. Where a normal reactor can only use about 5% of the mined fuel, fast reactors can use the other 95%. Also, let's not forget about thorium reactors either, which have a practically no chance of exploding should an accident occur.
From Wikipedia (because I'm too lazy to look up other sources):
Fast-neutron reactors can fission all actinides, while the thorium fuel cycle produces low levels of transuranics. Unlike LWRs, in principle these fuel cycles could recycle their plutonium and minor actinides and leave only fission products and activation products as waste. The highly radioactive medium-lived fission products Cs-137 and Sr-90 diminish by a factor of 10 each century; while the long-lived fission products have relatively low radioactivity, often compared favorably to that of the original uranium ore.
Ideally, in the future, we won't even need to rely on nuclear fusion as we can generate everything from renewable sources (wind, solar, water). However, the technology we have simply is not there yet, and emissions due to coal and oil are an immediate pressing concern.