The world is now facing growing environmental and societal stability problems that threaten to have catastrophic consequence if not resolved. In the past the human species participated in a world that grew in harmony. Nature operated on a closed cycle process with direct solar radiation as its energy source. However, after the industrial revolution a change began to occur. Humans increasingly began to embark upon an open cycle approach to the use of materials. As the world population grew and material wealth expanded, this open cycle economy has introduced major environmental problems. Only three sinks exist for the material products of this open economy to be deposited. They are the earth’s life support systems of air, water, and soil. As these interconnected life support systems become polluted, the world increasingly faces a growing series of environmental crises with global warming being the most critical now. In addition, the increasing worldwide demands for resources that are unevenly distributed on this planet have already led to conflicts and wars which appear destined to intensify.
The accelerating factors driving the worldwide environmental and social stability problems are population growth and the rapidly expanding demands for greater material wealth and energy in the developing world – China, India, Brazil, etc. World population is estimated by the United Nations to increase from 6.5 billion in 2005 to 9.2 billion in 2050. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the United States population will rise from the 304 million in 2008 to 439 million by 2050. Each person in the USA is producing 4.5 pounds of garbage per day. Only 1% of the wastes we produce in the United States are being recycled, the other 99% is trashed in six months. For every can of garbage we produce, 70 cans are produced upstream in the production process. To maximize the flow of materials through the open system, we depend upon planned obsolescence and perceived obsolescence - new clothing or car styles [Leonard, 2008].
If the developing world models our lifestyle, we would require three to five additional planet earths, each with the space and resources originally available on our early earth. Stopgap measures are being applied, but none are addressing the root cause of the problem. For example, even when material is recycled it is generally downgraded due to the buildup of chemical impurities; is down-cycled to a lower purpose, such as filler material; and finally becomes more waste. Full recycle back to original elements is the only possible solution and this must be addressed. To sustain the ecological foundation that Nature has provided us, humanity must alter the technological base that modern society has created. In other words, we must shift from an open to a closed materials cycle if we wish to achieve sustainability in the modern world. We believe that the technological potential to achieve this goal exists today in the p-B11 IEC fusion torch. Truely the Fusion Torch provides a unique opportunity for mankind to close the materials cycle and this in turn is a gigantic leap toward sustainability of life on earth. A pathway to achieve this solution is proposed.
We propose a revolutionary path to ultra-high temperature plasmas torch for recycle of materials through an accelerated 6 yr project. This project, along with “spin off” developments is illustrated in the figure to the left
The primary goal of the recycle project is to rapidly develop a technology that will close the materials cycle and thereby have an immediate major positive effect upon the environment and national security. Today society has the scientific and technical capability to return ALL matter to its original 92 elemental states using fusion plasma technology (ultra-high temperature plasmas). Since all materials must be ionized and dissociated, the use of ultra-high temperature plasma appears to represent the ONLY route to completely close the materials cycle. The ability to use “clean” p-B11 fusion via the IEC makes this route possible. In addition to closing the materials cycle, the project would have a revolutionary impact on the global energy crisis and on future space travel. The p-B11 technology involved in the fusion torch also provides a remarkable green power plant capable of high efficiency energy conversion to both electricity and to thruster for space rockets.