The US achieved a breakthrough in the artificial sun experiment, generating net energy from fusion for the first time
- Tram Ho
Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, USA have announced a major breakthrough in making fusion nuclear power a reality. For the first time in history, researchers have created a fusion reaction that produces more energy than the input.
Fusion reactions occur when atoms collide with each other, forming a heavier atom and releasing energy. This is the type of reaction commonly seen in stars and the Sun when hydrogen atoms fuse together to form helium atoms. To accomplish this reaction on Earth, scientists must heat hydrogen atoms to millions of degrees Celsius – that also consumes an equally large amount of energy and requires a net energy level to be achieved. making fusion power possible.
To do this, scientists at Livermore Laboratory used 192 high-intensity lasers to simultaneously hit a target mass of hydrogen isotopes the size of a pepper. Previously this target was carefully encased in a diamond case that was polished to perfection.
The result of this experiment produced 3.15 million Joules of energy, 50% higher than the 2.05 million Joule energy used by the lasers to excite the reaction. This is the first time scientists have achieved an energy breakthrough known as “fusion ignition” – like using spark plugs to trigger a reaction that burns fuel in an engine to give much higher energy.
For years now, scientists have struggled with creating this enormous temperature and maintaining it for long enough to trigger a fusion reaction. This challenge has now been overcome as multiple consecutive reaction time records have been created. However, this is the first time that scientists have produced a net energy level – a demonstration of the feasibility of electricity production from fusion reactions on Earth.
But this is not necessarily a perfect victory. To generate 2.05 million Joules of energy for these lasers, Livermore labs had to use 300 million Joules of energy from the electrical grid. Thus, the amount of energy that the fusion reaction produces is only 1% of the energy from the power grid used to create it.
Therefore, although it has achieved a milestone for the first time in decades of testing, scientists say there is still a very long way to go until fusion energy can realize this dream. dream of clean energy of mankind.
Refer to NYTimes, The Verge
Source : Genk