There are small research projects which may actually offer the breakthoughs that government behemoth projects may never fulfill.
One of them is the current work to harness nuclear fusion through polywell fusors.
In the 1920's an American farmboy by the name of Philo T. Farnsworth invented the television. Another invention he created was a means of creating nuclear fusion through a device known as a fusor. The fusor has been a good source of neutrons for research, but it has never achieved a greater energy output than the energy required to create the reaction. This may sound crazy, but its all true. Really.
This may all change soon. A variation of the Farnsworth fusor was pioneered recently by Robert Bussard. Although Bussard died, his research is being carried on by many small scale research facilities in many places. They may have a good chance at a "civilization changing" breakthrough.
I encourage you to view these sites to see what may be happening in this interesting energy research field.
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