Experiment of “Artificial Sun” in Britain sets a new record in energy production by Nuclear fusion.
At the end of the last century, in the United Kingdom, near Oxford, the equipment of an experimental project called the Joint European Torus (JET) generated 22 megawatts of energy, a record for nuclear fusion at the time.
This time, thanks to experimental upgrades, the device generated three times as much energy.
Achieving this is a big step forward in Tokamak-based nuclear synthesis, and it is getting closer and closer to the moment when we get an almost endless stream of energy without polluting the environment or with large amounts of radioactive waste.
“Our work over the past few months has made it easier for us to plan plasma synthesis experiments that generate much more energy than is needed to heat it,” said Sibel Gunter, research director at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics.
Tokamaks can revolutionize energy production. These installations consist of a relatively simple torus surrounded by powerful magnets that facilitate synthesis – a network of heated, plasma-decomposed hydrogen cannons.
This plasma flow is stable enough to “exhaust” energy-carrying neutrons, which requires highly sophisticated technology.
JET-like projects are being developed to overcome such obstacles. However, a big game in this direction is just beginning now.
International Cooperation, called ITER is the largest tokamaki in the world and is located in the south of France. Gradually, the energy it produces can reach 500 megawatts; It only needs 50 megawatts of energy to reach the temperature needed to receive this amount of energy.
In synthesis studies, the usual form of hydrogen is currently used, the single proton in the nucleus or, more rarely, the proton and neutron in the nucleus (called deuterium).
ITER aims to start experiments on a combination of tritium and deuterium by 2035; Hopes to achieve self-sustaining reactions in plasma that must produce more energy than it consumes.
The goal is quite ambitious and small projects like JET are needed to achieve that.
JET is a distinctive tokamak in that it can use both of these materials, which offers researchers a pretty good start.
In 1997, the project set a record for energy output in the form of released neutrons – generating the equivalent of 4.4 megawatts of energy in an average of 5 seconds.
Since then, scientists have changed the design, including replacing the carbon coating with a mixture of tungsten and beryllium. It is true that this new material is more elastic and does not act like carbon, affecting plasma movement.
Finally, after major changes, experiments confirmed the prediction of a new limit of energy production from this powerful pair of hydrogen isotopes – breaking the previous record by producing 59 megajoules.
It still lacks a lot, even to generate more energy than it expends, but the achievement is undoubtedly great.
“In this new experiment, we wanted to prove that we could generate a lot more energy, even in an environment like ITER,” said Athena Capatu, a physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics.
Tokamaks are often referred to as artificial suns because they produce energy by replicating exactly the same processes that take place in the solar system.
Experiment of “Artificial Sun”
new record in energy production by nuclear fusion