Accessibility View Close toolbar

Plasma fuel breakthrough means unlimited fusion energy is now closer than ever

Nuclear fusion has long been eyed as a potential source for limitless clean energy, yet the complexity behind its process made it unfeasible for some time. However, this may all change soon. A team of researchers hailing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found a way to bring us one step closer to a future of clean energy. According to the DailyMail.co.uk, these scientists were able to increase the energy output of nuclear fusion simply by adjusting its process or its “recipe”. Instead of using just two ion species in the plasma mix — 95 percent deuterium and five percent hydrogen — they added trace elements of another ion, helium-3; the complete details of which they discussed in their recently published study. In essence, the researchers came up with a new type of plasma that multiplied the energy output of the nuclear fusion process. With the help of researchers from the Laboratory of Plasma Physics in Brussels, Belgium, they then placed their plasma mix inside the Alcator C-Mod tokamak at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC). The researchers heated up the plasma mix and focused energy on the helium-3 particles. What resulted was energy output on the same range as activated fusion products, with ions reaching megaelectron volt (MeV) energy levels — a feat that had never before been achieved in non-activated fusion devices. A single megaelectron volt is equal to one million electron volts. “To be able to create such energetic ions in a non-activated device — not doing a huge amount of fusion — is beneficial, because we can study how ions with energies comparable to fusion reaction products behave, how well they would be confined,” explained Dr. John C. Wright, a research scientist on the study. The success of their experiment on the Alacator C-Mod prompted other research scientists to attempt to replicate the results on the Joint European Torus (JET), Europe’s largest fusion device. On this, Wright commented: “The JET folks had really good energetic particle diagnostics, so they could directly measure these high energy ions and verify that they were indeed there. The fact that we had a basic theory realized on two different devices on two continents came together to produce a strong paper.” Though more work and research is necessary, the astounding potential of the MIT team’s efforts cannot be stressed enough. The closer we are to achieving an efficient means of creating clean energy, the less reliant we’ll become on fuels that damage the earth with every use. (Related: Scientists bring energy-efficient nuclear fusion closer to reality.) What is nuclear fusion? As the name suggests, nuclear fusion involves fusing lighter nuclei into a heavier nucleus. The process of nuclear fusion serves as the sun’s power source. Nuclear fusion is the opposite of nuclear fission, the source of energy for nuclear power plants. Unlike nuclear fusion which requires hydrogen, nuclear fission needs uranium, a finite resource that can and will run out in due time. Currently, there are three problems that prevent us from utilizing nuclear fusion to produce electricity. The first is temperature: For nuclei to fuse, temperatures must exceed millions of degrees to peel away the electrons. The second is time: It’s been estimated that plasma needs to be held together for about one second at 40,000,000 K to start the fusion process. The third is containment: Plasma at 40,000,000 K is gas that can easily vaporize even the best ceramics developed for space travel. Magnetic fields can contain this plasma, but any leaks will prevent the nuclear fusion process from occurring.

article written by natural news.com

Contact Us Today!

Office Hours

Monday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

4:00 pm- 8:00 pm*

*By appointment only

Wednesday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Thursday:

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Friday:

10:00 am-1:00 pm

2:00 pm-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:30 am-10:30 am

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Testimonial

  • "The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
    -Thomas A. Edison

Featured Articles

Read about helpful topics

  • Back to School and Mental Wellness

    Summer is a subjectively fleeting season and school days are upon us once again. For children, this bittersweet time marks the completion of a period of relative freedom and the beginning of a new set of responsibilities. For adults, the onset of late summer and early fall signals yet another turn of ...

    Read More
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries

    A repetitive motion injury (or overuse injury) involves doing an action over and over again, as with a baseball pitcher throwing a baseball, a tennis player hitting a tennis ball, typing at a computer keyboard, and most notoriously, typing with your thumbs on the tiny keypad of your phone. It may be ...

    Read More
  • Left-Handers Day

    Left-Handers Day Left-Handers Day, celebrated on August 15th, was launched in 1992 by the Left-Handers Club, an organization based in the United Kingdom. Since then, Left-Handers Day has become a worldwide event and social media phenomenon. Around the world, approximately one in ten persons is left-handed. ...

    Read More
  • Peak Experiences

    Peak Experiences The American philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau roamed far and wide over the hills and mountains of his native Massachusetts and neighboring New Hampshire. In his masterwork, "Walden," Thoreau famously stated that we must "reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical ...

    Read More
  • Dynamic Warm-ups

    In a common occurrence, you bend over to pick up the pencil you inadvertently dropped on the floor. Or you bend over to pick up the soap bar that has slipped through your fingers in the shower. Or you bend over to lift a bag of groceries out of your automobile trunk. These are all daily events. But on ...

    Read More
  • Summer Sports

    Summer Sports In the summertime, everyone's thoughts turn to the outdoors. We want to get out in the sun and have some fun. Some people do exercise outdoors, such as running, walking, and biking, all year long regardless of the weather.1 For others, summer's warmer temperatures make activity outside ...

    Read More
  • Wellness Gardens

    Wellness Gardens When time is spent in an office or indoors day in and day out, some can lose that connection to the outside world. And that loss of connection can lead to higher stress levels and more health ailments without even realizing it. But when that the gap between office life and outdoor life ...

    Read More
  • Smart Shoulders

    Our shoulder joints have the greatest range of motion of any of the musculoskeletal joints in our bodies. The shoulder joint is really two joints, the glenohumeral joint between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula) and the acromioclavicular joint between the acromion (a bony projection off the scapula) and the collarbone (clavicle). The glenohumeral joint is a ball-and-socket joint and the acromioclavicular joint is a gliding joint. ...

    Read More
  • A Book and Its Cover

    A book cover may not necessarily tell the whole story and may not accurately portray the nature of the contents within. Publishing companies pay high salaries to their marketing staff to create cover copy that will entice prospective buyers to make a purchase. But many times the book itself does not ...

    Read More
  • When Your Spine Is In Line

    Good spinal alignment means good biomechanical health. Essentially, your spine is the biomechanical center of your body. Your legs are connected to your spine via two large and strong pelvic bones. Your arms are connected to your spine via your shoulder blades, ribs, and numerous strong muscles and ligaments. ...

    Read More

Contact Us