While harnessing the power of the Sun has progressed in leaps and bounds in recent years, harnessing the process that powers the Sun is proving a tough nut to crack. However, progress continues to be made on the various approaches to practical nuclear fusion being pursued, of which tokamak reactors remain a frontrunner. In another promising development for the technology, the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) fusion device has set a world record by maintaining plasma at over 100 million °C (180 million °F) for 20 seconds.
A functional fusion reactor may still be a dream, but it’s a dream that is slowly becoming a reality with numerous research efforts and experiments aiming to unlock the near unlimited supply of clean energy that such a reactor would provide. The challenges scientists face in getting nuclear fusion to work are undeniably difficult, but not insurmountable, and two young physicists have recently solved one of the major problems engineers have been grappling with for almost half a century.
Self-sustaining nuclear fusion may be one step closer to reality after scientists in the U.S. have, for the first time, created more fusion energy than that consumed by the fuel to drive the process.
Nuclear fusion, the same process that the sun uses to create energy, could provide the world with much-needed cheap energy.
Scientists estimate that one kilogram of fusion fuel can provide the same amount of energy as 10 million kilograms of fossil fuel.