Jun 30, 2017 12:20 PM EDT
The sun and the other stars generate their energy using nuclear fusion. For many years, scientists have wanted to harness this kind of energy to power the electric grids here on earth. And scientists could be on the verge of doing that by 2030.
Through years of research, scientists were able to harness nuclear fusion energy but they were faced with many challenges to make it commercially viable. First, it's very unstable and second, it's very expensive.
However, a group of MIT scientists led by Earl Marmar said that it is already possible to harness nuclear fusion energy to power our electric grids by 2030.
Marmar, who is the head of MIT’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak fusion project, said that by dedicating more research on nuclear fusion will make it commercially viable by that time. He added that their time projection can be considered aggressive but it's not "wildly out of range."
The MIT team isn't the only one who is looking forward to making this into a reality. A group of scientists from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Alberta has collaborated with several companies to bring nuclear fusion into a reality.
The Future of Nuclear Fusion
Nuclear fusion energy has attracted many scientists because of the promise it brings - limitless, clean energy. Aside from that, it has the highest energy payback ratio and the lowest carbon footprint among all other sustainable sources that exist today. As mentioned earlier, however, it is difficult to stabilize it.
Marmar and his team have proposed two methods to face this challenge. The first one proposes to decrease the size of MIT's tokamak reactor, an equipment they use to stabilize nuclear fusion energy. The second proposes to strengthen the magnetic field that sustains the plasma.
The effort looks overly ambitious but Marmar and the other scientists who have been pursuing nuclear fusion know that it is much needed.
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