According to reports, scientists have made progress in their search for a reliable and healthy energy source. A new nuclear fusion process has allowed them to produce more energy than they can need.
Light elements like hydrogen are combined through a process called nuclear fusion to produce heavier elements. There is a significant energy discharge as a result. This new process, which imitates the heat and light of the sun and stars, has been hailed as a potentially viable source of clean, renewable energy.
Scientists have been unable to demonstrate a positive energy gain since the 1950s when nuclear fusion research first started. This state is referred to as igniting. But up to this point, that was only a problem.
According to Financial Times, the researchers heated gasoline using lasers using just 2.1 MJ. Releasing 2.5 MJ of energy in the process.
This research was conducted in part by Dr Robbie Scott of the Plasma Physics Group at the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Central Laser Facility (CLF). Who called it a “momentous accomplishment.”
The experiment conclusively proves that Laser Fusion is physically possible. Although there is still much work to be done before the NIF’s result can be used to produce electricity. This is an important milestone.
At Imperial College London, plasma physics professor Prof. Jeremy Chittenden concurred:
It would be a very exciting advance if what has been reported is accurate and more energy has been liberated than was utilised to create the plasma.
Although the results would be a remarkable demonstration, experts have made it clear that the technology is still a long way from being a reliable source of energy. A kettle can only be heated using 0.1 kWh, or 0.4 MJ, to put things into perspective.
While the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory could get such a finding around once per day. A nuclear power plant would need to create it 10 times per second, according to Professor Justin Wark of Physics at the University of Oxford.
Another issue is that the 500 MJ of energy required for the lasers is not included in the reported positive energy gain.
Regardless, if accurate, these new results transcend the laboratory’s most recent significant accomplishment. Which involved converting 70% of the energy used for the experiment into nuclear energy.