|On 28/07/2009 Wendy wrote:
>pet panacea was in fact nuclear fusion. Yep, something that nuclear scientists
>the world over have been desperately trying to achieve for 50 years, billions
>upon billions invested in with net results of, well, um, to my understanding,
>about zero. But wait, James informs me that they have actually succeeded
>in heating hydrogen to 150 million degrees and managed to get a fusion
>reaction happening for a whole 2 seconds and produced a fraction of the
>energy that it required to start the reaction. Obviously, this is far
>closer to being a cost effective, reliable and efficient source of power
>than any renewable.
don't bag it out, fusion is the future, and its not as far off as you think. it takes a long time to built each new design however, so when its only a few iterations off a working plant it still takes a while to go through the steps. the next step is Iter, being constructed in France, and that is expected to produce 5-10x the energy put into the system for 1000 seconds at at time, but that won't be running until 2018. once that is running it should give them enough about the process to build a production power station, but we're still talking 2030 or so.
On 28/07/2009 evanbb wrote:
>You want pies in skies? This is the stuff. But, unlike CCS, if they crack
>fusion, all our problems go away in the blink of an eye. You can 'burn'
>ANYTHING in it and generate virtually unlimited, clean energy.
it'd only run on Deuterium-Tritium, you couldn't just stick anything into a fusion reactor. and even in theory you can only get energy from fusing elements lighter than iron, the lighter the better. fusing anything heavier than iron, eg nuclear waste products, would cost energy, not release it. heavier elements give off energy through fission which brings them closer to iron.
it solves a lot of problems but its not free energy. its debatable if it would be cheaper than current energy production, but it does avoid problems of waste, instability and carbon emission.
if you want to be picky, arguably its not 'sustainable' energy since you're consuming light elements, but there's a lot of them around and it would be a LONG time before that was a problem. in fact in theory its probably the least sustainable energy production around, as even fossil fuels can be regenerated by living things taking energy from the sun, but nothing on the earth will break up fusion by-products back into hydrogen /D/T again. we go find another planet if we get to that stage i guess.. ;) or go mining comets hiding out in the kuiper belt.