Nuclear fusion has been seen as the unattainable holy grail of clean energy for decades, but just in the last year it’s been seeming more and more within reach. Some researchers have been dedicating their time and energy to capturing the energy of the sun here on earth–a silver bullet solution to global warming.
Conventional nuclear energy has also been hailed as a good, greenhouse gas emissions-free alternative to fossil fuels, but it has some major drawbacks-
- from the rare but catastrophic instance of nuclear meltdown
- to the industrial byproduct of nuclear waste
The beauty of nuclear fusion is that, not only does it produce energy without creating radioactive waste since it can be achieved using only hydrogen or lithium, it’s also several times more powerful than fission.
If we were ever able to harness it in a commercially viable way, it would mean the end of the oil-based economy as we know it.
In October 2019, the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Plasma Liner Experiment (PLX) unveiled a totally new approach to nuclear fusion, using the very science-fiction combination of plasma guns, magnets, and lasers.
That project is projected to be up and running by the end of this year.
And now, just this week, there are new and exciting claims about yet another novel fusion technology to vie for the best path toward commercial nuclear fusion.
Startup HB11, which has its impetus at Australia’s University of New South Wales, has pioneered a technology that uses lasers to encourage nuclear fusion between hydrogen and boron without the use of radioactive materials to facilitate the reaction.
They’re so confident about the technology that they have already applied for and received patents in the United States, Japan, and China.
While this technology is still a long way from commercial application, it’s one step closer to a world of limitless, clean energy.
Reference- OilPrice.com, Wikipedia, HB11 website