As an increasing number of countries around the world commit to the phasing out of damaging fossil fuels, fusion energy may just provide the alternative long-term electricity-generation solution humanity urgently needs.
Fusion is the original and oldest source of power – it is the energy source that powers the sun and stars. In fundamental terms, and we implore you to stick with us on this, fusion energy involves the combining of small, light nuclei to form a larger and heavier nucleus – a process which releases bursts of energy.
To achieve the generation of energy through fusion, hydrogen gas must be heated to extreme temperatures. The nuclei in the hydrogen then combine and form helium nuclei, with some of the resulting mass being converted to energy that can be harnessed.
The reaction to create fusion energy is most efficiently performed and controlled in a device known as a tokamak. And only a small amount of hydrogen is needed to provide a huge amount of energy that can then be used to drive turbines and generate electricity.
The advantages of fusion energy are significant: it is a clean, non-polluting source of power that is both affordable and safe. Hydrogen, the fuel for the generation of fusion energy, can be easily extracted from seawater, meaning potential supplies of fusion energy are almost limitless. Successful development and distribution of fusion energy on a global scale could, quite simply, change the way we generate power forever.
And the advent of the age of fusion energy may not be far off. Specialist fusion energy scientists across the world are working at pace to develop the cutting-edge technology and advanced processes required to commercialise fusion energy.
Thanks to global collaboration between scientists and engineers, and recent technological breakthroughs, the emerging fusion energy industry is now nearing the point of being able to scale-up operations to offer at commercial scale.
As demand for electricity continues to increase, and as humanity works towards meeting essential global climate policy goals, it seems likely that fusion power plants will punctuate our landscape soon.
It’s entirely plausible that fusion energy, together with other important renewable energy sources including wind and solar, could solve the world’s clean energy challenge forever.