NewsDespite the breakthrough in nuclear fusion, it is still decades and billions...

    Despite the breakthrough in nuclear fusion, it is still decades and billions of dollars away from practical use.

    The biggest criticism of fusion is that it will take too long to become available to be useful in the response to climate change.

    Tuesday’s announcement in the US of the net energy gain in a nuclear fusion reaction is a landmark scientific event that culminated decades of research. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory experts they got 3.15 megajoules of energy by investing 2.05 megajoules in the laser that activated the plasma in inertial confinement. Thus, a net gain of 150% (1.5x) was achieved.

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    However, “this is a scientific achievement, not a practical one,” Omar A. Hurricane, Lawrence Livermore’s chief scientist, told CNBC on Wednesday. In fact, experts believe that it will be many years before nuclear fusion technology generates power for the electrical grid, and many technical advances and investment in the industry will have to take place before that goal is achieved.

    USA announces "a major scientific breakthrough" in the field of nuclear fusion

    Many more milestones are required

    Pravesh Patel, chief scientific officer of fusion startup Focused Energy and a former Lawrence Livermore scientist, expects to see a four or five times (4x or 5x) energy gain in Lawrence Livermore’s team, but believes that will require a win of about 100x for commercial use of laser fusion. He considers that to reach that level, new facilities and new technological developments of components are needed, such as efficient lasers pumped by diodes.

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    “That will require advances in so-called ‘advanced concepts,’ such as rapid ignition or shock ignition, which are designed for high gain. Those concepts require new facilities to be built, so a breakthrough will take until later than this decade,” he explained.

    Moritz von der Linden, CEO of startup Marvel Fusion, also emphasized the importance of the new lasers. “Laser systems of last generation in other new installations they must demonstrate that they can easily fire 10 laser pulses per second at high energies” Linden said. “Only with optimized objectives and state-of-the-art laser systems is it possible to show a net gain in energy – the next truly revolutionary milestone. That will be one of the most difficult engineering challenges imaginable for humanity,” she stressed.

    The 'Holy Grail' of unlimited energy?: They achieve a historic milestone in nuclear fusion

    Much more financing and investments

    According to data from the Fusion Industry Association, investors have already injected more than $4.8 billion by 2022. This is a 139% increase in funding compared to the data in their report for the year. past. However, most of that investment went into magnetic fusion, while just over 180 million dollars have been invested in companies working on the concept of inertial confinement fusion.

    According to Live Science, Yves Martin, deputy director of the Swiss plasma center in Lausanne, believes that the inertial confinement approach to nuclear fusion is still very expensive, since just injecting the fuel for the reaction to take place costs several tens of dollars. Thousands of dollars. “For it to be interesting, it should go down to a dollar or even less.” Martin states. On the other hand, a key isotope that combines with deuterium as fuel for the reaction, tritium, is one of the most expensive substances on Earth. Its approximate cost is $30,000 per gram.

    In September, the US Department of Energy announced that $50 million would go to merging private companies in public-private partnerships. That financing is a critical step for the merger to be commercial by the late 2030s. However, an investment between 10 and 100 times greater is needed to “significantly speed up the time it will take to commercialize fusion and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels,” Patel told CNBC.

    In time to combat global warming?

    The biggest criticism of fusion is that it will take too long to become available to be useful as a response to climate change. According to sources consulted by Live Science, the first economically viable fusion reactors could come online as early as 2040. That means that, according to forecasts, they will be available at least ten years after the date set to achieve the goal of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    Source: RT

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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