In a doughnut-shaped chamber in eastern China, scientists have been able to produce hydrogen gas more than three times hotter than the core of the Sun using nuclear fusion – and maintain this temperature for 102 seconds.
The breakthrough puts China one step ahead in the global race to harness a new, artificial kind of solar energy for clean and unlimited energy, the researchers claim. This has become a pressing concern as more of the earth’s natural reserves are rapidly depleting.
The experiment was conducted last week on a magnetic fusion reactor at the Institute of Physical Science in Hefei, capital of Jiangsu province, according to a statement on the institute’s website on Wednesday.
The reactor, officially known as the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), was able to heat a hydrogen gas – a hot ionised gas called a plasma – to about 50 million Kelvins (49.999 million degrees Celsius). The interior of our sun is calculated to be around 15 million Kelvins.
According to this thermodynamic scale, absolute zero occurs at zero degrees (equivalent to minus 273.15 degrees Celsius), a point at which all molecular movement stops.
The temperature reached in Hefei was at the other end of the scale, and roughly the same as a mid-sized thermonuclear explosion. The goal of the experiment was to approximate the nuclear fusion conditions that occur deep inside the sun.
Although at least one other experiment in the last decade claims to have produced a hotter temperatures than this, it has never been duplicated and was unable to match the endurance – over one and a half minutes – of the Chinese test.
Meanwhile, physicists in Japan and Europe have been able to reach the same temperature as the Chinese team, but not for longer than a minute due to concerns of provoking a reactor meltdown.
The EAST was invented by Soviet scientists to control nuclear fusion for power generation.
As a tokamak device, it uses a powerful magnetic field to confine plasma in the shape of a torus – imagine a large spinning doughnut -for safety reasons due to the phenomenally high temperatures being generated. The atoms are effectively held floating in place by superconducting magnets.
But controlling hydrogen gas in such a hot and volatile state is a formidable challenge, and one that most of the tokomak devices built over the last 60 years have not been able to sustain for more than 20 seconds.
The scientists in Hefei worked “day and night” to achieve the record level of endurance, according to the institute, which serves as a subsidiary of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The Latest on: Fusion energy
via Google News
The Latest on: Fusion energy
- Tom Still: Center of the fusion world may be in Wisconsinon November 17, 2019 at 3:45 am
Fusion is what powers the sun and might be the ultimate energy source if safely harnessed. However, doing so has largely been the stuff of science fiction for decades. Until now. The Piefer-led team ...
- General Atomics nuclear fusion program (DIII-D) gets DOE funding extensionon November 15, 2019 at 5:47 pm
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego-based General Atomics is working to find an abundant source of energy without pollution or nuclear waste. The goal of this nuclear fusion program known as DIII-D is to ...
- Creating a star on Earth: Nuclear fusion program at General Atomics gets 5-year extensionon November 12, 2019 at 8:30 pm
The goal is as daunting as it is daring: Harness a virtually inexhaustible source of energy that, theoretically, could supply electricity for power plants all over the world while emitting no carbon ...
- MEN ARE FROM MARS- WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS Live! Comes To The Duke Energy Centeron November 12, 2019 at 4:02 pm
is a one-man fusion of theatre and stand-up, and is a light-hearted theatrical comedy based on the New York Times #1 best-selling book of the last decade by John Gray. Moving swiftly through a series ...
- Are we getting closer to achieving nuclear fusion?on November 8, 2019 at 10:45 pm
The funding comes from the British government, where a new round of money - £200 million ($240 million) has been pledged into an on-going project to realize nuclear fusion - essentially an attempt to ...
- DIII-D National Fusion Facility Receives Five-Year Funding Award from Department of Energyon November 8, 2019 at 4:24 pm
“We look forward to continuing our research toward making fusion energy a practical reality.” The DIII-D tokamak, which General Atomics operates as a national user facility for DOE’s Office ...
- The fusion energy dream is inching toward planet-saving realityon November 8, 2019 at 11:21 am
After decades of disappointingly slow but steady progress, the race for fusion energy is now fully on, with governments, scientific institutions and private enterprises pouring billions of dollars ...
- Fusion Risk Management Ranked Number 433 on Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 500™ Fastest Growing Companies in North Americaon November 7, 2019 at 11:28 am
Inc. (“Fusion”), a leading provider of business continuity and risk management software and services, today announced that it has ranked 433 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™; a ranking of the 500 ...
- French Scientists Make Breakthrough in Inertial Confinement Fusion Processon November 6, 2019 at 7:19 am
The breakthrough took place in inertial confinement fusion (ICF), which in addition to the more familiar magnetic confinement ... The lasers of the device are designed to deliver, in a few billionths ...
- Walden Monterey, a 600-acre fusion of nature and luxury, moves forwardon November 4, 2019 at 4:44 pm
They’re all vacant, save for the 200-year-old oak trees that dot the scenic landscape. Buyers can build any home they want, but they must adhere to two rules: use only renewable energy resources and ...
via Bing News