How Close Are We to Harnessing the Power of Nuclear Fusion?
Now more than ever, humanity is consuming more natural resources than what we have available. Our renewable resources are depleting at a fast rate — much faster than we can recover any time soon. If this continues, eventually global human welfare will begin to decline.
However, with new scientific discoveries every day, it’s possible that fusion energy, the holy grail of sustainable energy, is on the brink of its next breakthrough. With the power of nuclear fusion, we would have the kind of energy needed to provide electricity to our cities and industries. A clean, renewable resource like this can help preserve our natural resources and reduce the risk of environmental calamities.
Today we’re going to talk all about scientists’ latest discoveries in nuclear fusion and how we are one step closer to sustainable energy!
The Biggest Development in Decades
As an energy source, nuclear fusion is the closest thing we have to perfect. Unfortunately, it is difficult to achieve due to the extreme conditions that it requires to occur. That hasn’t stopped scientists from investigating further though.
In fact, using a single shot from a powerful laser, researchers at the National Ignition Facility in California sparked a fusion explosion from a fuel capsule the size of a peppercorn. At 1.35 megajoules, it was eight times more energy than they have ever been able to produce. That’s roughly the same amount of kinetic energy of a car traveling 160 kilometers per hour.
It might not sound much on paper, but it is a huge leap in the world of science. In fact, Debbie Callahan, a physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, calls it “a huge advance for the entire fusion community.”
With this being the closest we have ever gotten to achieving nuclear fusion after nearly a century of research, we hope that this amazing discovery encourages more public interest in the topic.
We Still Have a Long Way to Go
This breakthrough could move us forward in the world of physics so much more than we realize. However, it’s still too early in the game to celebrate. Scientists still continue to go through all the data they have studied and gathered carefully and meticulously, as they want to be able to grasp the concept fully. After all, this is a point that they have never been able to reach before, so they still know very little about it.
The experiment, despite being a giant advancement, was only able to produce the same amount of energy it would take to boil water in a kettle. The reality is that we are still a very long way off from seeing fundamental changes.
That being said, though we still have a long way to go in terms of truly harnessing the power of nuclear fusion, it’s safe to say that we are officially the closest we have ever been to achieving it. Any kind of breakthrough in this field, especially in a subject that has stumped the world’s greatest scientists for years, is nothing short of phenomenal. Be sure to be on the look for any more new discoveries in nuclear fusion energy — it could be any day now!