Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nuclear Fusion Power Generation: Finally in Reach?

Solar power plants are one of the most cherished renewable energy sources. They are clean and the “raw material” they work with is available for free. However, they have some obvious limitations: they cannot generate power at night*, the solar panels generally occupy huge areas and their effectiveness depends on climate conditions.

Fortunately there may be another way to profit from nuclear reactions such as those that take place in a star. For decades, scientists have been trying to use these reactions to generate electrical power. Nevertheless, until recently, they did not succeed to produce a nuclear fusion reaction that produced more energy than it consumed.

Now it seems to have finally happened. Watch the video below and find out how.


* ERRATA: Actually, part of the thermal energy collected during daytime can be stored and used to generate electrical power at night. This, nevertheless, does not change the fact that the total amount of energy produced each day is limited by the partial absence of sunlight.




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