Nuclear Reactions inside the Sun produce enough energy within an hour to fulfil all of Earth’s energy needs for a year. But what if we tell you that we have achieved the same energy creation skill on Earth?
Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics has created a nuclear fusion reactor using which we can create Nuclear Energy just like the Sun. And can you guess how humongous the reactor is? Well, only 5 metres tall and 15 metres wide, this reactor can create potent nuclear energy.
And who knows? One day, we might develop this technology so much that we can generate all the required energy using this device only.
And if we make it possible in the future, we won’t need any Solar Energy. This means, if we want, we would be able to make gigantic spaceships, produce energy on our own, and make an utterly interstellar space travelling civilization without depending on any star. We can generate and jam-pack an enormous amount of energy in such a small area.
Of course, as of now, our Earth is our Spaceship, and our Sun is our primary source of energy. But have you ever thought of how Sun has so much energy? You must have learnt in your school that it happens through Nuclear Fusion Reaction. But, if we are to replicate the Sun itself, then we will have to understand the nuclear reactions that occur inside the Sun.
The one element found in the highest quantity inside the Sun or any other star is Hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most basic and fundamental element of the entire universe. Due to extremely high temperatures and pressure inside the Star’s core, Hydrogen atoms get ionized. Basically, Protons and Neutrons get combined.
Now, the Protons of two Hydrogen repel each other due to having the same positive charge. But due to the presence of extreme temperature and pressure on the core of a star, those two protons end up getting fused.
Interestingly, when scientists tried to replicate the same collision in their labs, they found that the atom formed through fusion, its total mass is always lesser than the mass of its individual particles. This means during the collision, some part of the mass is released after getting converted to energy. This is called Nuclear Fusion Energy, which also saves a star from collapsing inside its gravity.
Mind you, all of this was proved by the great Albert Einstein decades ago, but people didn’t understand its implications then.
All the heavy elements in the universe have been formed inside a star. But this is Nuclear Fusion and not Nuclear Fission. Both terms may sound very similar, but they are opposite in nature. There is a significant flaw in Nuclear Fission; that’s why mainly Uranium element is used in this process, which is a very radioactive element, which is why the entire Nuclear Fission process requires a high level of precaution and safety which makes the process very expensive.
And to be honest, bearing so much expense, taking so much precaution and safety for creating energy, it is not necessary; we can generate the energy in the simplest way using Nuclear Fusion.
Let’s talk about the advantage of the process of Nuclear Fusion over Nuclear Fission. No radioactive fuel is used in Nuclear Fusion, hence no production of any nuclear waste.
And, talking about the kind of fuel used in the process of Nuclear Fusion, Plasma is used here. This plasma is maintained inside a tube through electromagnetic magnets where it is heated to more than 10 million degrees Celsius. When the temperature increases to a specific limit, a nuclear fusion reaction occurs inside the plasma.
Since we have explained the process of Nuclear Fusion Reaction, the question arises; why haven’t we used this method for energy creation up to now?
Well, let’s break it down for you; it was in 1940 when we first used a nuclear fusion reactor.
Ironically, we created the world’s first thermonuclear hydrogen bomb in 1952 using this nuclear fusion reactor only.
However, up to now, we have been unable to create a usable life-sustaining clean energy using this nuclear fusion reactor.
But this story can change now. Germany’s Nuclear Fusion Reactor, named Wendelstein 7-X, is all set to give a push to the creation of clean nuclear energy. This reactor, which took 19 years to develop, has all the hopeful eyes of the science world.
We cannot wait to see what results the Wendelstein 7-X Nuclear Fusion Reactor brings in. Are you as much excited about the clean energy creation as we are? Let us know in the comments!