Reaching Limitless Energy With Nuclear Fusion Is Closer Than Ever Before
Almost six decades of promises on nuclear fusion means that the public might, understandably, be skeptical about whether it will ever become a reality.
In recent years, however, the scientific community has made significant progress. According to a report by the Financial Times, nuclear fusion, and its promise of limitless sustainable energy might be just around the corner. With impending curbs on fossil fuel consumption amidst the IPCC's alarming report on climate change this year, the incentive to achieve nuclear fusion is also arguably more present than ever. "Fusion is coming, faster than you expect," Fusion Industry Association exec Andrew Holland told the publication.
According to the Financial Times report, one glass of the fuel used for fusion energy has the energy potential of one million gallons of oil and can power a home for 800 years. Of course, there have been several technological boundaries in the way of achieving net fusion energy production in recent years, including the production of magnets powerful enough to maintain the super-hot plasma required for fusion.
Nuclear fusion investment brings us a step closer to limitless energy
Lately, however, big steps have been made. Take, for example, The Korea Institute of Fusion Energy's nuclear fusion record, achieved this month, by running their KSTAR reactor at one million degrees for 30 seconds. The same team aims to maintain the same state for 300 seconds by 2026. Then there's the UK Atomic Authority's development of the world's first nuclear fusion (tokamak) exhaust system, which was designed to greatly reduce temperatures in the devices, allowing them to run for longer periods.
A Bill Gates-backed MIT startup, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, also recently revealed the results of successful tests on its incredibly power-efficient and powerful magnet for its fusion experiment, called SPARC.
Now, the Financial Times report also reveals that investment is pouring into nuclear fusion technologies as the world aims to turn the tide on the worst effects of climate change. One example comes from Sam Altman, who recently invested $375 million into Helion, a US-based fusion startup that promised it will provide viable fusion by 2024. If investment continues to go into nuclear fusion, we may finally see a reactor that produces more energy than it consumes. If that happens, the energy production landscape will have changed for good and we will finally have tapped into electricity produced as it is in the stars.