Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fusion Energy in the 21st. Century (Video)

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Mike is a writer, animator and the creative director of Rebel Dispatch. He works in Washington, DC as a visual effects artist and freelance web designer.

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November 25, 2009
Filed under Tech/Science

For decades, fusion energy has been a dream of scientists and possesses the potential of offering unlimited, cheap and clean energy for the foreseeable future. As evidence by our largest bombs, fusion energy has found an application in making things like cities go “bye-bye”. This destructive and energetic nature of Fusion makes it extremely difficult to replicate in a controlled environment or to apply practically. However, with its potential to solve issues like climate change, fossil fuel depletion and rising energy consumption; scientist, industry and governments have been busy realizing the dream of fusion energy.

There are several  approaches researchers have taken in harnessing the power of fusing atoms. Three popular techniques are currently being investigated and developed towards a viable application. The first two fall under the category of hot fusion in which atoms of hydrogen, usually isotopes called deuterium, are compressed and heated. The third one, which is more controversial, can supposedly occur at room temperature and is called cold fusion.

In the first system, a consortium from the United States, Russia, Europe and Japan has proposed to build a fusion reactor called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in Cadarache, France, to demonstrate the feasibility of using sustained fusion reactions for making electricity. They will use a reactor in the shape of a torus formed by concentric arranged magnets which will confine the hydrogen plasma by generating magnetic and electric fields. As the deuterium is compressed and heated, eventually some of them fuse and generate heat.

The other process called Inertial confinement uses laser beams or ion beams to squeeze and heat the hydrogen plasma. Scientists are studying this experimental approach at the National Ignition Facility of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in the United States.

Two part video on hot fusion:

And the third controversial process called cold fusion, palladium is placed in water containing deuterium and an electrical current is applied across it.  Scientist hypothesize that the electricity forces the deuterium onto the surface of the palladium. On an atomic level, palladium has a lattice-like structure scientist believe is penetrated by the hydrogen atoms vis-a-vi the application energy and crowding of hydrogen on the surface of the foil. They contend that occasionally the deuterium atoms within the lattice are forced so close together that every now and then a few of them fuse thereby generating heat as a byproduct.

CBS report on cold fusion:

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