MIT Is Working On Making Green Energy A Reality By 2033

Diply 28 Mar 2018

We live our lives in a near-constant state of energy crisis. We're consuming more and more power, and the options out there all have drawbacks. Wind and solar energy don't create enough of the juice, coal and oil pollute too much, and nuclear power contains the risk of a deadly meltdown.

It's time, then, that we talk about nuclear fusion.

Fusion Power? I remember that from Sim City 2000.

Agent Palmer | Agent Palmer

The best power plants were the fusion plants, if you could afford them. It turns out that fusion is one of those things that's always been seen as a possibility — if only we could develop the technology needed.

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Right now we use fission, not fusion.

Wikipedia | Hullemuc

Current nuclear plants use nuclear fission, which takes large atoms of uranium and splits them into smaller atoms, which releases energy. Do this on a large enough scale and you've got huge amounts of power.

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Fusion is kind of the opposite.

Wikipedia | Borb

Rather than taking big things and breaking them into smaller things, fusion takes smaller things and makes bigger things. This is also how stars create energy — they take two small elements, combine them into a bigger element, and repeat the process.

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As these elements merge, they create energy at an exponential rate.

Wikipedia | Nick Allen

This could pretty much solve our global energy woes — and a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is working hard on making fusion power a reality.

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The MIT team is trying to succeed where other fusion projects have failed.

Twitter | @NewMuggleton

Other projects have been inefficient and have leaked energy, but the MIT scientists think they have a fix: high-temperature superconductors, a new technology that prevents energy leakage.

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It's an ambitious project.

Twitter | @BobKerns

They hope to get their project up and running in the next 15 years, but many observers are skeptical because they've heard similar promises about past projects.

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If they succeed, it'll be a huge step forward.

Wikipedia | Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, Tino Schulz

A big sticking point is cost. While a fully-functioning fusion plant would be able to create energy at a low cost, the infrastructure to allow these plants to exist would be costly.

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This is the the future we need to create for ourselves.

Wikimedia Commons | Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Current power plants aren't environmentally sustainable. Fusion power, which is clean and allows us to make energy from almost nothing, would seem to be the best way forward.

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