A UK-based private venture has built a fusion reactor that can generate temperatures that are hotter than the center of the sun.
Tokamak Energy has successfully generated heat levels of 27 million degrees Fahrenheit or about 15 million degrees Celsius, taking humanity one more step closer toward achieving the holy grail of nuclear energy.
Nuclear fusion reactors can create practically unlimited amounts of energy but without the radioactive waste or greenhouse gases that come with more conventional nuclear fission generators such as those at Fukushima and Chernobyl.
By using the same process that powers stars and hydrogen bombs, nuclear fusion relies on the collision of high-heat, high-pressure hydrogen atoms, which then separate into ions and electrons before fusing together to form helium.
In the process, the fusion of atoms generates massive amounts of energy, which can then be potentially harnessed for human consumption. A single spoonful of liquid hydrogen processed in a fusion reactor can generate the same amount of energy that 28 tons of coal can produce.
However, for deuterium and tritium, which are both found in hydrogen, to fuse, scientists first need to create the same conditions in which the process first occurred. They need to generate as much heat as there is in the center of the stars.
More specifically, deuterium and tritium require temperatures of 270 million degrees Fahrenheit to come together and release energy.
"Fusion energy is a major challenge but one that must be tackled," says David Kingham, co-founder of Tokamak Energy. "The world needs abundant, controllable, clean energy."
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