Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Nuclear Fusion?

So, I wrote about the case of nuclear energy in my last post. Right after posting that, I came across this article on Forbes which makes the case for Nuclear Fusion as the future of energy. There are some compelling arguments made:

1) Fossil fuels are pretty abundant as of today but they will not last forever. Based on which report you believe, there is a definite end date to those. We can not generate more coal, oil or natural gas. Once it is over, the party is over and we better have an alternative ready by then.

2) While the fossil fuels are not over and we are using them, they REALLY pollute the environment. And we are not just talking about global warming. There are other concerns too - like polluting the water table and other hazards to people by the dangerous nature of their processing.

3) That brings us to the alternative sources of energy like sun, wind etc. They are inconsistent at best. Imagine days when wind is not blowing enough to power the turbines and sun is shy as well. How do you get continuous energy to run your cities? Battery technology is not portable enough and the sheer size of the battery power required to run cities on these downtime (when alternative energy is playing hide and seek with you) is unimaginable. The infrastructure support to get a wind farm or a solar farm ready doesn't come without its own side effect as well.

4) We covered nuclear in the context of nuclear fission but there are NIMBY concerns with that (not in my backyard). Nuclear fission involves taking heavy and unstable radioactive material and splitting them into smaller (also radioactive) elements and the process release energy. However, nuclear fusion (that's what happens inside sun) doesn't involve any radioactive material at all. We are talking about light and stable elements like Hydrogen and Helium here.

5) It's not exactly been done before to have nuclear fusion in a controlled environment but some possibilities have emerged and we need to invest more in this field to make major advances which can make this a candidate for our future source of energy. 

Read the article for more details (LINK)

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