Clean, limitless fusion power could arrive sooner than expected

By Sebastian Anthony on October 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Good news, denizens of Earth: If the findings from two premier research labs are to be believed, commercial nuclear fusion is feasible — and could arrive sooner than expected.

The first breakthrough comes from Sandia National Laboratories (the same engineers who brought us the fanless heatsink). At SNL, a research team has been working on a new way of creating fusion called magnetized liner inertial fusion (MagLIF). This approach is quite similar to the National Ignition Facility at the LLNL in California, where they fuse deuterium and tritium (hydrogen isotopes) by crushing and heating the fuel with 500 trillion watts of laser power. Instead of lasers, MagLIF uses a massive magnetic pulse (26 million amps), created by Sandia’s Z Machine (a huge X-ray generator), to crush a small cylinder containing the hydrogen fuel. Through various optimizations, the researchers discovered a MagLIF setup that almost breaks even (i.e. it almost produces more thermal energy than the electrical energy required to begin the fusion reaction).

Read more: Clean, limitless fusion power could arrive sooner than expected | ExtremeTech.

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