More environment-conscious sources of energy could be available soon, as Germany begins nuclear fusion experiment, with the help of researchers from the Max Planck Institute.
During the experiment, which will be conducted in Greisfwald, scientists will launch a system which will superheat small quantities of hydrogen until it turns into plasma.
The device that they will be using is called a stellerator and it is the biggest of its kind. The machine may potentially reinvent nuclear power, making it cleaner and safer than ever before. The groundbreaking machine weighs 425 tons and it took the scientists 19 years to build, spending over 1.1 million hours to do it.
According to Robert Wolfe, one of the senior scientists involved in this experiment, the initial tests went according to plan, so now they are ready to move to the next phase. As of now, the team of experts succeeded in heating hydrogen to 80 million degrees for a quarter of a second, which proves that the device runs well and that further advancements can be made.
A later phase, starting in 2019, will see scientists trying to obtain fusion reactions by using deuterium, one of the two stable isotopes of hydrogen.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, known to have studied physics, was present at the event and formalized the proceedings by pushing the button which started the hydrogen plasma test.
Governments worldwide are becoming increasingly concerned about carbon emissions, which rose to a level of over 40bn tones just last year. This could mean catastrophic consequences for the climate, translating into rising sea levels, droughts, floods and extreme weather conditions.
The unanimous expert opinion is that human-provoked climate change is in some ways inevitable and that this will have a negative impact on both the environment and on human health. There will be an increase in vector-borne diseases, like dengue, malaria and yellow fever and a likely reduction of biological diversity.
Dave Reay, professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh recently highlighted the fact that we’ve already exceeded two-thirds of the global carbon allowance and in order to prevent serious changes on the environment, governments worldwide need to find urgent solutions.
Germany has already committed to cutting down 40% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and around 95% by 2050, so this project comes as a reassurance of Germany’s desire to prevent any future damage on the environment.
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