Did you know that electricity is still the number one source of greenhouse gases?
The reason why experts are calling for “clean energy” is that coal mining and gas extraction—the conventional processes by which we generate energy—contributes to air pollution and is one of the causes of climate change.
As we all know, the biggest sources of renewable energy available to us are the sun, wind, and thermal energy from the Earth’s crust.
But since they’re not exactly easy and convenient to harness, researchers have developed other methods to produce clean energy.
And one of them involves creating an artificial sun that’s even hotter.
China Created ‘Artificial Sun’ That Could Potentially Provide Clean Energy Production
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you; China actually created an artificial sun for the purpose of producing clean energy.
The artificial sun, which was switched on recently, sustained temperatures five times hotter than the sun for 17 minutes, setting a new record.
The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), a nuclear fusion reactor, reached temperatures of 70,000,000°C during the experiments. EAST is located at the academy’s Hefei Institute of Physical Science in the eastern province of Anhui.
The groundbreaking project has already cost China more than US$940 billion.
Back in May, the reactor reached a peak temperature of 160 million degrees Celsius—10 times hotter than the Sun—for 20 seconds.
Mimics Natural Reactions
The objective of creating this artificial sun wasn’t for a billionaire to suntan at night, but to mimic the natural reaction that powers the real sun, which uses hydrogen and deuterium gases as fuel.
The artificial sun, if it works, will be able to generate massive amounts of energy that can be turned into electricity.
Fusion energy has been touted by experts as the ultimate clean energy source because hydrogen and deuterium gases are abundant on earth.
What’s more, the production requires no fossil fuels and leaves behind minimal waste products, all of which aren’t hazardous.
Scientists have been studying and developing this clean energy technology for decades, but the fruits of their labour are unlikely to ripen anytime soon, as they still face two main challenges:
- Keeping the temperature of the reactor over 100 million°C
- Operating at a stable level for a long time
The US, Europe, Russia, and South Korea are reportedly carrying out similar experiments.
The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), a similar project in the UK, has an ambitious aim to deliver fusion-produced power to homes in the 2040s.
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