After fusion energy breakthrough, ‘a few decades of research’ before commercial application

By | December 13, 2022

Inside Climate News reports:

By training 192 lasers onto a capsule the size of a peppercorn, U.S. government scientists last week were able to ignite fusion with a net energy gain—a long-sought milestone in the quest for a carbon-free energy future.

But emphasis was on the word “future,” as the team at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California on Tuesday announced the breakthrough in replicating the energy that powers the sun. The successful experiment, which built on generations of prior research, was a pivotal step, they said. But commercialization remained decades away.

“Not six decades, I don’t think, not five decades, which is what we used to say,” said physicist Kim Budil, director of the lab. “I think it’s moving into the foreground and with concerted effort and investment, a few decades of research on the underlying technologies could put us in a position to build a power plant.”

In light of the scientific consensus that the world must drive for net zero carbon emissions within just two decades to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change, the advance has little immediate practical significance in addressing the climate crisis, noted some scientists. [Continue reading…]

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