Nuclear Fusion: The Ultimate Renewable Energy Source

There is a form of energy that will be renewable, abundant, base-load, and make all of your dreams come true, it is called nuclear fusion. So far scientists have yet to figure out a way to produce these reactions in a safe and reliable way, but we witness the power of fusion every day. The sun and all stars for that matter are giant nuclear reactors that suntake hydrogen atoms and merge them together to form helium atoms. This process gives off an extraordinary amount of energy that we experience as the sun’s light and heat. Scientists have been able to create nuclear fusion reactions in the past just not in a controlled way. Hydrogen bombs utilize these same reactions that I am referring to. They give off an extreme albeit uncontrolled amount of energy. If we could channel that same energy we could power the world.

Nuclear fusion is a process of taking hydrogen atoms and fusing them together so that they form helium. Normally it is very difficult to get atoms that close to each other because there are forces that repel other atoms away from them. Inside the sun there is a huge gravitational force which creates intense pressure and temperature and allows these reactions to occur. This process on earth will take some very sophisticated and expensive equipment in order to recreate that environment. So how do normal nuclear power plants work? Traditional nuclear power plants work through basically the opposite process. Nuclear power plants as we know them use nuclear fission which is a method of splitting atoms apart and harnessing the energy that is released.

The benefits of nuclear fusion are really spectacular. Nuclear fusion reactions give off about four times as much energy as nuclear fission reactions. Also the byproduct of nuclear fusion is just helium atoms and there is no nuclear waste to dispose of. Because there is so much hydrogen on earth we have basically a never ending supply of fuel. All of this energy could be produced consistently 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and there are no carbon emissions to worry about. I really hope that I can see this technology become the norm in my lifetime. The bad part is, there is a joke about fusion which says the technology is always about 40 years from being developed.

If you are interested in more renewable energy information please follow me on twitter @EvanNWarner

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