First Light, a UK-based firm, claims to have made a “breakthrough” in fusion energy by shooting a projectile at four miles per second into a fuel target to release energy – a novel way to fusion power that could theoretically create an infinite amount of green electricity.
The business claims to have proved its technique by fusing atoms using its gadget, but it has yet to achieve the ultimate goal of collecting more energy from fusion reactors than was required to ignite the reaction, something scientists have been battling for decades.
Most scientists, for fusion energy experiments, choose to heat plasma to high temperatures, roughly 10 times that of the Sun, in order to bond atoms in a process that can unleash massive quantities of energy within massively complicated, donut-shaped reactors.
First Light, on the other hand, is taking a completely different strategy, shooting small projectiles at small fuel targets at ten times the speed of a rifle bullet from a weapon nicknamed the “Big Friendly Gun.”
These targets are comprised of deuterium isotopes, which could be produced for as little as $10 to $20 per unit.
While we don’t know how much energy each target can really release, the business believes it could power an ordinary UK home for two years.
If it works as advertised, this quest of practical and economical fusion will provide us with the clean and plentiful baseload electricity that we so sorely need in our fight to confront — and hopefully reverse — global warming.
Reference- The Financial Express, First Light website & PR, Bloomberg, Futurism