Recently a group of researchers at MIT made a big splash when they revealed they had successfully studied the compact fusion reactor “SPARC”.
The announcement is detailed in seven papers confirmed by dozens of scientists from the list of academic institutions that researchers are about to create fusion energy (the process of creating energy from fusing atomic nuclei together like the Sun, rather than splitting them apart like a nuclear power plant). This promise opens up a source of clean energy that will never be exhausted and without the risk of a nuclear disaster.
Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk said he was impressed with the research, but there is one issue that he is very concerned about: cost.
Sharing on a tweet, he wrote: “That’s great and certainly can and should be done. But I doubt it will cost more than wind and solar energy.”
Thermonuclear energy was once considered the most desirable energy source. And reactor design studies have come a long way, but Musk says capturing fusion energy is still a long dream.
Cost is not the only issue facing. For now, it simply isn’t feasible.
Despite all the limitations, those working on new generation fusion reactors are still not discouraged. The SPARC team at MIT is hoping to reach a point where their reactor generates 10 times the energy it consumes.
However, this technology will still need more than a decade to be realized when their goal is to start generating electricity in 2035.
Fusion energy is a costly endeavor, Musk insists. Wind and solar prices have plummeted over the years, providing us with a healthier start to the mix.
Developing an efficient fusion reactor is an extremely expensive process. ITER fusion power plant is about to become the largest plant in the world and has a huge construction cost, up to 22 billion USD.
The US Department of Energy has long been skeptical of the ITER plant’s plans to build. Congress approved an investment of $ 115 million to build the factory in 2016. However, support for the project has declined during the first term of President Donald Trump. This year, the Energy Department only approved the amount of 50 million USD, including research and development of fusion energy domestically and internationally.
Although not interested in the ITER project, US lawmakers have not given up on fusion energy. Earlier this month, the US House of Representatives approved a program to commercialize fusion energy and support private fusion start-ups.
Some start-ups are hoping to shrink fusion reactors to create more sustainable energy solutions for the future.
According to a study commissioned by a British fusion power start-up, fusion will be the source of energy that makes up for the shortage of renewable energy.
In other words, wind and solar energy alone will not be enough to meet demand and control climate change. Fusion could help by replacing the current generation of electricity from coal and natural gas.
Refer to Futurism