Dawn of a New Energy Age: Limitless, Clean & Inexpensive?
360 video tour of the world's largest laser
Nuclear scientists claimed that they had successfully produced a massive quantity of energy from fusion using lasers the size of three football fields. If this is true, we are entering a new era of unlimited, clean, and affordable energy that will help accelerate technological advancements that significantly improve the planet.
A group of Scientists, engineers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory working on developing nuclear fusion, focused a giant array of almost 200 laser beams onto a tiny spot to create a mega blast of energy -- eight times more than they had ever done in the past.
While the energy created lasted for just 100 trillionths of a second -- it takes humanity closer to the holy grail of fusion ignition when they are making more energy than they are using.
Kim Budil, the director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announcing the successful fusion ignition, said…
"This result is a historic advance for inertial confinement fusion research."
Nuclear fusion is considered by many of the world's leading nuclear scientists to be the most exciting potential energy source of the future. It produces little waste, no greenhouse gases and should be limitless in supply at a fraction of the cost of fossil fuels and nuclear fission currently used in nuclear power plants, where the bonds of heavy atomic nuclei are broken to release energy and creates dangerous and large amounts of nuclear waste.
In the fusion process, two light atomic nuclei are "married" to create a heavy one. In this experiment at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, scientists used two hydrogen isotopes, giving rise to helium. This is the exact process that is at work in stars throughout the universe, including our Sun.
Professor Steven Rose, co-director of the center for research in this field at Imperial College London, was quoted about the accomplishment…
"The NIF teams have done an extraordinary job and are the most significant advance in inertial fusion since its beginning in 1972."
Meanwhile, Jeremy Chittenden, co-director of the same center in London, cautioned that making this a useable energy source is not going to be easy.
"Turning this concept into a renewable source of electrical power will probably be a long process and will involve overcoming significant technical challenges."
US lab stands on threshold of key nuclear fusion goal