Cold Fusion is not necessarily a Threat to Oil

Even though it is highly probable that cold fusion or low energy nuclear reaction will take over as our civilization’s primary power source at some point, it is doubtful that LENR will drive the oil industry out of business anytime soon. Oil is simply too useful a raw material and too potent a power source to go away in the foreseeable future.

Now oil would obviously lose the power source competition to cold fusion because as the US Defense Intelligence Agency has pointed out nuclear fusion releases 10 million times as much power as liquid fuels such as gasoline. Yet it would stay around for two reasons people forget.

First it is going to take several years at the earliest to develop a successful LENR device. It would probably take several more years of engineering and other work in order to adapt it for other uses. My guess is that it would take a minimum of ten years to develop an LENR powered-car and probably 15 to 20 years to develop an LENR airplane.

Those who claim development times are faster are mistaken. There is no evidence that technological development today is any faster than it was fifty or 100 years ago. The only thing faster is that the marketing departments of companies like Apple can promote a slightly refined or fancier version of the same old gizmo as the new thing. The idea that technological progress is getting faster is largely an illusion.

We’re obviously going to need something to run our vehicles off of while they’re out trying to create LENR devices. My guess is that our fuel of choice will be plain old fashioned gasoline or diesel fuel with all of its problems. Yes there are electric vehicles but the juice to run them on comes from well coal burning power plants.

The next thing to remember is that oil is used for far more than just a power source. The things made from it include plastics, lubricants, pesticides, fertilizers, dyes, paints and almost every other chemical out there. That means there’s still going to be a demand for oil even every car on the planet is running on LENR. Interestingly enough many LENR devices will be housed in cases made of plastic made from gasp oil. They would also likely contain a few components made from petroleum products. So LENR might lead to more demand for oil.

It also goes without saying that cold fusion devices like the ecat would quickly find a home in the oil industry. They could be used to provide the heat necessary to refine oil and to process it into chemicals. It would also be used to generate the electricity and power for oil drilling and exploration. Not to mention power the tankers that haul the oil.

Far from trying to suppress cold fusion companies like Exxon-Mobile and Chevron would be trying to buy it and apply it to reduce their production costs. That of course will require conspiracy theorists to find a new bogeyman to blame the world’s problems upon. I’m sure they’ll have no problem digging one out of old movies or the back issues of comic books.

The good news is that LENR could actually lower our energy costs and oil costs before we could apply it in our homes or cars. First it could certainly lower oil production costs and some of that savings might be passed onto the consumer. Second it would replace petroleum and natural gas as a fuel source in some uses (such as generating electricity and industrial processes pretty quickly). That would increase the supply of fuel available for other uses which lower costs. That would also make petroleum and natural gas available for purposes like fertilizer production which could lower some product stocks.

It goes without saying that LENR would also lower the cost of plastic and chemical production. That could lower the price of a wide variety of consumer goods and help the average consumer.

So don’t sell your oil stocks yet but get ready for some revolutionary developments from LENR. We’re on the verge of some pretty extraordinary changes.

 

6 Responses to Cold Fusion is not necessarily a Threat to Oil

  • Harold says:

    It might not take that long for LENR to supplant coal and oil. Steam generators based on LENR can be placed in existing power generating facilities, supplying power to the grid. If home based LENR devices come on the market soon, they will be very cost competitive with current oil based domestic heating and power units. Also a lot of progress has been made with genetic engineering of biodiesel producing plants and algae, which can be used for energy or as the raw materials for plastic production. They require less land and require less water than conventional crops. These new sources of biodiesel will useful in both automobiles and aircraft. When countries like Japan start making huge bets on renewable resources, we can expect things to happen quite quickly.

    • jennifer says:

      True I understand that Brazil has made a huge bet on diesel and ethanol made from sugar cane. There’s also bio engineering of oil from algae which could also produce large amounts of biodiesel. Oil is no longer a major heat source in the United States almost nobody uses it anymore in the Western US where it has been supplanted by propane.

  • Piero says:

    Good article. It wold have been nice to see some numbers to give a more accurate picture

    • jennifer says:

      The problem is that the numbers don’t seem to exist yet. Any number I mention will simply be an estimate so any data generated would be pure guess work.

  • Anon says:

    Yes it is a threat, as immediately LENR convinces the market (not the brightest, quickest or most innovative, of sparks) that a future seachange is in operation, the price of oil will reflect demand not OPEC-defined supply. And the market (constructed to be short-termist) will run. After that the price will stabilise as real investors (not playboys) buy in low in recognition of a safe bet for 5-10 years. So expect cheap oil then realistic oil. Companies will lose, but individuals will win, if they choose to evaluate their humanity outside of companies.

    • jennifer says:

      I agree oil prices could come down. My guess is that LENR will make the oil market more unstable. Note big oil companies will probably be major investors in LENR. I’m more interested in what people do rather than their motivations. If people invest in something good simply to make money more power to them. I also bet that there will be a huge flood of venture capital and investment money into LENR as soon as a viable LENR device hits the market. You’re absolutely right about the market being short term.