China's "artificial sun" has reached a temperature of 180 million ºF with 10 megawatts of heating power, according to researchers from the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, where the experiment was carried out. It is six times warmer than in the center of the sun. The Experamical Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) was built to use fusion energy, the same process that drives the stars.
Most living beings depend on nuclear fusion. If the sun stops working, we too. But the merger can also offer a solution for clean energy in the future.
For the fusion reaction to occur, the two atomic nuclei combine at very high pressure and temperatures above 270 million ºF. After merging, they release a mass of energy that can be captured and potentially used to power cities. In contrast to the burning of fossil fuels, there is zero carbon dioxide emission. In contrast, nuclear fission is relatively safe.
"EAST news is very exciting," said William Dorland, a physicist researching nuclear reactors at the University of Maryland. The result is not unprecedented – the global temperature is up to five times higher – but Dorland, who was not involved in the research, said the result is joyful, especially due to the design of the device. It is built for "magnetic thermonuclear close".
"The challenge for the synthesis of the magnetic closure is to produce high temperatures in the fuel while maintaining high density and excellent thermal insulation," said Dorland. "Achieving these three goals at the same time is seriously difficult."
Nuclear fusion is difficult to start and even harder to maintain. It is difficult to build a reactor that will be able to accommodate the huge pressure and temperature required by the reaction. However, thermonuclear laboratories and startups around the world have begun to reverse the wave, report to the BBC and see a future driven by mergers.
"This is the" SpaceX moment "for nuclear fusion," said Christofer Mowry, head of the Canadian General Fusion company, to the BBC. "This is the moment in which the maturation of nuclear fusion science is combined with the emergence of 21st century production technologies such as the production of additives and high-temperature superconductors. The merger is no longer" 30 years old. "
There are still many milestones ahead of us. Creating a reactor that can reduce liquid and scale the device to a profitable size are the two biggest obstacles.