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Energy: The Global Future

Abstract

The economic, technical and political potential of returning to the Moon for helium-3 to fuel fusion reactors on Earth must be evaluated in the context of probable global demand for energy and reasonably competitive alternatives for meeting that demand. In this context, the immediate challenge to civilization’s global energy future lies in meeting the needs and aspirations of the 10 to 12 billion earthlings that will be on this planet by 2050.1 Current per capita use of energy is equivalent to about 12 barrels of oil per year for a global total equivalent of about 72 billion barrels of oil equivalent (BBOE) per year,2 or about 410 quads (1 quad = 1015 BTU) per year.3 It can be argued, conservatively, that at least an eight-fold increase in annual production will be required by the middle of this century (see Table 3.1). That includes a two-fold increase to account for the increase in the world population from 6.3 to 12 billion and a four-fold increase to meet the major aspirations of four-fifths of the world’s peoples whose standards of living are far below those of developed countries. Even an eight-fold increase would not bring the rest of the world to the current average per capita energy use in the United States of about 62 barrels of oil per year equivalent. As seen in Table 3.1, that would take at least an 11-fold increase, not counting the demands of new technologies and climate change mitigation.

Keywords

Lunar Surface Nuclear Fission Lunar Soil Petroleum Geologist Fusion Power 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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