Germany just producing hydrogen plasma large scale for the first time

Hydrogen Plasma
Image Source: Google Image

Germany has just successfully turn Wendelstein 7-X, the world’s largest operating stellarator. A device designed to produce magnetically confining the plasma and hydrogen. The material, if I may say so, in that are literally made ​​the stars.

Yesterday, there was a huge step on the way to get control nuclear fusion a commercial scale .So important was the same Angela Merkel that ‘lit’ experimental reactor. So far, we have not been able to create commercial fusion reactors because we were not able to achieve a stable and secure way of working at the temperatures required for these processes. If we can achieve controlled nuclear fusion we would be creating energy source cheaper, more efficient and more sustainable world.

Fission, fusion and Other Girls Like Mom

The nuclear fission, which is what lies behind the current nuclear reactors, is based on the division of heavy and unstable into smaller atoms. It is very efficient (because when working with relatively unstable materials Very little energy is needed to start fission processes). However, it has two major problems: it needs relatively few specific materials (uranium, plutonium, etc …) and, above all, produces dangerous radioactive waste whose management is complex, costly and unpopular.

On the other hand, nuclear fusion requires very large quantities of energy (and temperature) to start, but it is so radioactive waste in principle is a much better option. Something fantastic if we could work safely at these temperatures, of course.

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How to stabilize the merger?

It is not easy. At the end of the day, we are talking to recreate the conditions inside a miniature sun. That is, we have to build a machine capable of producing and manipulating a ball of plasma to 100 million degrees. Not aware of any material capable of doing that, so the answer is in the stellarator: a (magnetic confinement system more powerful than the ‘tokamak’. That were used so far) Magnetic confinement is based on the idea that the plasma does not touch the walls of the reactor ( ‘Levite’ inside) by enormous electromagnetic fields.

“It’s a very clean source of energy, the cleanest you could want. We’re not doing this for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren,” said physicist John Jelonnek the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

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In November, tests with helium plasma and Wendelstein 7-X showed that they could be made ​​to produce and sustain plasma competitively against commercial fission. Yesterday, the research team was testing with hydrogen; releasing material much more energy but is also much more difficult to heat. And I say try because the Wendelstein 7-X – which began to develop in 1980 – is not designed to produce energy (not a usable amount, at least) but to develop technologies capable of enabling the large-scale merger. And it seems that is on the right track.

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