The following post was submitted by Mats Lewan
You often hear that new technologies spread to reach global mass adoption at an ever increasing speed — from electricity, telephones, radio and television to PCs, mobile phones and the web.
The hypothesis seems accurate and also reasonable, given that the world is getting increasingly connected in several ways, both with regard to communications, transportation and commerce, but it’s actually not correct.
You can read about such a claim in an article on The Vox from 2014, and also how it was debunked by Gizmodo.
One reason for this mechanism not to be so simple is that different technologies rely on different conditions and requirements.
The refrigerator was an invention that basically only had to be manufactured and distributed. Electricity and telephones required deployment of new wide area networks, whereas, radio and television only needed wireless networks with long reaching transmitter stations.
Cellular phones needed a much denser wireless network, and the internet, if you count from the first message over the Arpanet, needed a whole lot of new thinking in order to arrive at the idea of www, and then develop from there.
So where do we put LENR based technologies in that picture?
Assuming that we arrive at a validated heat producing technology within a year, huge interest will arrise and it shouldn’t take much time for scientists to make all kinds of measurements and arrive at a theory that describes the phenomenon in detail.
At that point you have access to an energy source with a fuel consumption potentially shrunk by a factor one million compared to chemical fuels. That corresponds to a jump of 40 years in computing technology, based on Moore’s Law. And there you have the incentive for investing engineering resources to solve problems and develop applications.
The most obvious application is water heating, and even though we know the difficulties to get the technology certified for consumer use, consumer devices for this purpose could not be far off.
Such an application would be similar to the refrigerator that went mainstream in the US in less than ten years in the 1930’s. 90 years later this process could be significantly accelerated. What you need is manufacturing, distribution and a service network.
What happens next contains many unknowns. Possibilities of direct conversion to electricity. Strategies of the car industry. Desperate competition from other technologies. Governmental policies on taxes and regulation.
But essentially, compared to other recent technologies that have reached mass adoption, deployment is straight forward. No need for new networks. No new infrastructure.
What will be needed is innovation. Lots of innovation. To scale the technology down, and up. To develop new applications. The time scale is unpredictable, but again, there’s no basic need for infrastructure.
Given the emergency with which the world needs a clean energy source — almost as in a classic disaster movie — and given the potential cost savings LENR could bring to many industries, I can see no reason to believe that LENR based technology in its basic forms couldn’t reach global mass adoption very fast, maybe faster than any other technology so far.
Which would mean about 15 years from now.
Mats Lewan is a reporter for the Swedish science and technology magazine Ny Teknik, and author of the book An Impossible Invention