Nuclear fusion is cited as a safe, clean and sustainable energy we all need, but alas to make this technology commercial has been quite a headache. Development has been slow – Iter nuclear fusion project started in 1985 is still only in it’s infancy with an experimental plant that is only just being built in the south of France. Possibly becoming commercial in 2030 or later.
A British company Tokamak Technology made up from nuclear scientists and engineers at the Culham Innovation Centre Oxford have come up with a faster way to fusion by combining two technologies – spherical tokamaks and high temperature superconductors (HTS). These HTSs make the tokamak more efficient and significantly reduce their size (100 times smaller than Iter – aircraft hanger size to room size). The timeline given by CEO David Kingham would be 5 years to net energy gain then another 5 to produce electricity then another 5 to construct a plant, which is a vastly accelerated timeline compared with Iter.
Tokamak fusion reactors were originally invented by the Soviet Union in the 1960s, and adopted by researchers around the world thereafter. They can operate at 10 times the temperature of the sun. The new HTSs transform this fusion technology to becoming a potentially commercial and a viable future energy source that is safe, clean and stable. It offers no risk of meltdown or adaption to weapons manufacture, and no emissions of carbon dioxide or any other pollutants.
The business model that Tokamak Energy are proposing is to build fusion devices that could be safely located on the edge of towns and cities, replacing existing coal fired power plants, and also be located in off-grid environments such as mining or disaster relief situations.
Great to see a British company leading the way to a new safe and viable energy source.
Wishing them every success
Hope you have a great month
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