ÖSYM • osym
March 17, 2018 1 min

Fusion energy almost sounds too good to be true because of zero greenhouse gas emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, and nearly unlimited fuel supply. Yet, fusion power designs are not cheap enough to outperform systems that use fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. However, University of Washington engineers hope to change that. They have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output. The design builds on existing technology and creates a magnetic field within a closed space to hold plasma in place long enough for fusion to occur, allowing the hot plasma to react and burn. The reactor itself would be largely self-sustaining, meaning it would continuously heat the plasma to maintain thermonuclear conditions. Heat generated from the reactor would heat up a coolant that is used to spin a turbine and generate electricity, similar to how a typical power plant works.

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