The movie Back to Future revealed that Mr. Fusion (MF) produced by Fusion Industries (FI) was in widespread use in 2015. What the movie did not reveal was the FI was privately funded by Bill Gates. FI used 10,000,000,000 dollars and the entire first year of production at a cost of 2500 dollars for each unit and selling them at 5000 each. So on the first day to take orders (tomorrow - Sep 11 2015) there are 4,000,000 units available and they sell out completely very quickly once people realize that MF is legitimate. MF is thus widely deployed before the end of 2015.
A single MF unit can output 1 MW continuously as long as it receives a steady supply of fusion materials notably banana peels, Miller beer and of course the can itself. A a beer can is almost entirely aluminum or tin-coated steel, it is essentially useless for fusion as MF can only fuse hydrogen. Doc Brown tossed in the beer can as comedic element. The only real fuel was the hydrogen in the water, hydrocarbons, etc. Fortunately hydrogen is very common in banana peels and beer.
Note: to get the wattage required for time travel requires storing the energy over time and releasing it in a burst of energy -- this technology comes from a more distant future and is thus not available.
An MF unit lasts 20 years without maintenance when used continuously at full power, at the lowest power usage (10 kW) an MF unit can last up to 50 years without maintenance. FI has an absolute monopoly on the product by including the best tech ever designed to prevent reverse engineering as well as an iron-clad license agreement. For example, China remains ineligible for importing MF units until they totally revamp their IP laws. The end result is that you cannot maintain a MF unit, it has to be returned to FI for a 1000 dollar trade in credit on a new unit. What this really means is that electricity now costs about 0.001 cents per kWh or about 10,000 times cheaper then before MF. Not surprisingly, power usage grows dramatically at first, but eventually levels off to a 5% increase annually.
Due to widespread use of MF, global carbon dioxide emissions plummet over the following years. But earth faces a new danger. Waste heat from the operation of MF units. MF can only convert 20% of the fusion energy into electric power. Part of the loss is in the generation of magnetic fields, etc. the rest is lost in converting the nuclear energy into electricity itself. At current energy usage levels, the heat contribution to the Earth's energy balance is negligible, but at the new 5% rate of increase annually, we are going to overheat the earth soon. Of course, once the electricity is used, it ultimately converts to waste heat too unless it leaves the Earth in the form of light, etc.
You have been appointed to chair the presidential commission to fix the heat problem that is expected to be serious within 40 years if no corrective action is taken. How do you fix this for 40 years from now? How you fix the heat problem on an ongoing basis assuming that at least 10% of the population wants to continue living on the Earth.
Yes, I read Midas World quite a few years ago. The solution to the problem in that book depended upon moving the population into space, which is part of the reason why I mentioned the 10% Earth based population requirement.
I would also like to clarify what I mean by a significant heating problem in 40 years. At that point, the global warming due to fusion will reach 2 degrees Celsius above baseline. Currently Earth receives 173,000 TW of solar radiation. A 2 degree rise means that mankind is generating about 4,660 TW of fusion heat which means mankind has 932TW of electric energy coming from about 932,000,000 MF units and Bill Gates is now the first trillionaire. This is a huge increase from current power levels of about 18TW globally from all sources. With a 5% growth, the temperature rise will far exceed that before long as the doubling period is only 14.2 years.