These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030

May 16, 2017 by  
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Scientists have long sought to replicate with fusion reactors the sun’s ability to produce energy through nuclear fusion . But it’s taking too long for Tokamak Energy , a UK-based company that wants to speed up the progress with mini reactors. Their small Spherical Tokamaks makes it possible to accelerate tests, which is difficult in other laboratories because of the specific conditions required; they hope to provide commercially-available fusion energy as soon as 2030. Nuclear fusion is difficult to replicate on Earth because it requires extremely high temperatures and pressures. Scientists have broken records on the path to fusion energy for all, but there’s still a long way to go; a recent record hit only 70 seconds of high-performance plasma operation , and that was still an exciting milestone. But Tokamak Energy thinks they could accelerate us closer to fusion energy with their mini tokamaks. Related: Germany’s massive nuclear fusion reactor is actually working Spherical Tokamaks can “achieve a much higher plasma pressure for a given magnetic field than conventional tokamaks,” according to the company, which they say means their smaller reactors are more efficient. The tokamaks’ small size also offers an advantage in contrast to other fusion reactors being developed around the world, which have cost billions of dollars. At the end of April this year, Tokamak Energy switched on their third reactor in five years. They hope the ST40 will hit 100 million degrees Kelvin – seven times hotter than the Sun’s center and required for controlled fusion – next year. The company is working to be the first to offer commercially viable fusion, in just a little over 10 years. When his company turned on the ST40, Tokamak Energy CEO David Kingham said, “We will still need significant investment, many academic and industrial collaborations, dedicated and creative engineers and scientists , and an excellent supply chain. Our approach continues to be to break the journey down into a series of engineering challenges, raising additional investment on reaching each new milestone. We are already halfway to the goal of fusion energy, with hard work we will deliver fusion power at commercial scale by 2030.” Via the BBC and Tokamak Energy ( 1 , 2 ) Images via screenshot

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These mini spherical reactors could help scale fusion energy by 2030

Gorgeous solar-powered Colorado home produces almost all its own energy

May 16, 2017 by  
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Sustainability and a love for nature inspired Colorado-based CCY Architects’ design of the gorgeous Starwood Residence. Set on a ridge line, this luxury mountain home with floor-to-ceiling glazing overlooks the Roaring Fork Valley and Elk Mountains. Solar energy powers the energy-efficient Starwood Residence, which is capable of producing 70% of the energy that it consumes. The Starwood Residence lies low on the landscape with a series of sloping rooflines that appear to echo the surrounding mountain landscape. Weathered steel wraps the home to blend the building into the natural backdrop, while exterior sunshades maximize access to natural light and minimize solar heat gain in summer. In contrast to the steel-clad facade, the interior is richly layered with warm textures, from stone accent walls to Clear Vertical Grain (CVG) Douglas Fir siding. Large panoramic windows appear to extend the living areas outdoors. Related: Black Magic home sits lightly in a mountain oasis In addition to daylighting , the architects improved the home’s energy efficiency with exposed concrete floors—used almost exclusively throughout the home—that provide thermal mass to absorb and release passive solar heat in cold months. The nearly energy-sufficient home draws power from a 7-kw solar array , 12 evacuated tubes for solar thermal, and a ground source heat pump for radiant cooling and heating. The weathered steel siding contains a high percentage of recycled material and all the concrete used includes a minimum of 20 percent fly ash. + CCY Architects

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Gorgeous solar-powered Colorado home produces almost all its own energy

Everything I need to know about fusion power

July 15, 2011 by  
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Rajeev Kumar: Fusion Power Renewable Energy Fusion powe r refers to the energy produced during nuclear fusion reactions that takes place when two light atomic nuclei fuse together to form a heavier nucleus. Such reactions takes place in the celestial objects like the sun and other stars. Nuclear scientists have produced this form of energy by heating together nuclei of isotopes of hydrogen, namely, deuterium and tritium – under very high temperature (upto 100 million degree celsius). And, with little success so far, they have been trying to tap the nuclear energy, for meeting our energy demands. Trends 1. The Joint European Torus (JET) The Joint European Torus – JET It is the central research facility of the European Fusion Programme JET is the main reactor for research for the European Fusion Program for demonstrating the feasibility of fusion as an energy source. Based in Culham, Great Britain, the JET was approved in 1974 and started operating from 1983. The reactor is equipped to remotely handle the radioactivity which is produced by the combustion of deuterium and tritium. It has successfully generated 16MW of fusion power. However, it is still considered to be too small to produce more energy which is required for starting the reaction (25MW). 2. ITER: Reactor to turn sea water into abundant cheap, clean nuclear power with no radioactive waste! ITER ITER reactor will aim to turn sea water into fuel! Based in Cadarache, France, the International Thermo-Nuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is the largest international fusion experiment of its kind with seven members – European Union, Japan, the Russian Federation, China, Korea, India, and the USA. It will be twice the size of JET and designed to use nuclear fusion to produce 500MW of power with 50MW of input power. This experimental reactor will use a ring-shaped magnetic chamber, or tokamak, for trapping the high temperature required for a fusion reaction to begin. The reactor facility is under construction and it is expected to be ready by 2019. 3. MIT tests unique approach to fusion power MIT It’s the highest-performance university-based fusion device in the world. The Alcator C-Mod reactor at MIT is a university based tokamak type fusion reactor. Over 30 years of experiments at this reactor have revealed a new process called ‘fusion burn’. It is expected to solve the basic operational problem of fusion reactors. According to MIT News, the fusion reactions and the power in this process are sustained by self-heating and without any constant supply of outside heat. The MIT researchers are expecting to successfully test the ‘fusion burn’ process at the ITER. The Benefits Fusion power is produced by the reaction of nuclei deuterium and tritium. These two isotopes of hydrogen are available in inexhaustible proportions. The by product of a fusion reaction is helium which does not harm the environment. Also, unlike the nuclear fission reaction, the fusion reaction does not produce any harmful nuclear waste . Thus, considering the threats of an impending energy crisis, global warming, and nuclear waste, fusion power is our best bet under the circumstances. The Lowdown It requires a very high temperature for starting the fusion reaction. And, under vacuum like conditions in the reactor, it is very difficult to contain that heat while allowing the contaminating particles that can interfere with reaction to escape and be removed from the chamber. In the absence of any major breakthrough , many countries are stepping out of fusion research. The Impact Fusion power has the potential to become almost inexhaustible source of energy for the entire world, though there are extreme engineering and scientific challenges associated with its production. The research on fusion power has brought international co-operation for development to the fore by bringing different countries together for sharing there scientific expertise and research acumen. This is quiet in contrast to the initial days when fusion power was linked to the atomic weapon development and all the information related to it were kept a secret by the USA and the USSR.

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Everything I need to know about fusion power

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