Posted on Apr 28, 2019
On March 19, 2109 The Galaxy reported that China was close to launching its “artificial sun” promising a future of ‘limitless clean energy –a Chinese “Green New Deal”. Unlike nuclear fission, fusion emits no greenhouse gases and carries less risk of accidents or the theft of atomic material.
Sometimes called an “artificial sun” for the sheer heat and power it produces, China’s doughnut-shaped Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) that juts out on a spit of land into a lake in eastern Anhui province, has notched up a succession of firsts, reports AFP. Officials announced that the machine which will hold the ‘artificial sun’, called the HL-2M Tokamak, could be built this year using nuclear fusion in which hydrogen from sea water and readily available lithium is heated to more than 150 million°C.
The current Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor in Hefei has created temperatures as hot as the interior of the sun. In November, it became the first facility in the world to generate 100 million degrees Celsius (212 million Fahrenheit)—six times as hot as the sun’s core. These mind-boggling temperatures are crucial to achieving sustainable nuclear fusion reactions, which promise an inexhaustible energy source.
“Stupendous” –China’s Leap to Space-Based Solar Power: ‘Will Beam Sun’s Energy Back to Earth’
“The artificial sun’s plasma is mainly composed of electrons and ions and the country’s existing Tokamak devices have achieved an electron temperature of over 100 million degrees C in its core plasma, and an ion temperature of 50 million C, and it is the ion that generates energy in the device,” said Dr Duan Xuru, an official at the China National Nuclear Corporation, according to China’s Global Times.
HL-2M Tokamak is expected to increase the electricity intensity from one mega amperes to three mega amperes, an important step to achieve nuclear fusion, a spokesperson surnamed Liu with the press office of the Southwestern Institute of Physics (SWIP), affiliated with China National Nuclear Corporation, told the Global Times.
“The Milky Way Base” –China Names First Human-Technology Landing Site on Moon’s Far Side
For instance, the deuterium (also known as heavy hydrogen) extracted from one liter of seawater releases the energy equivalent of burning 300 liters of gasoline in a complete fusion reaction, Liu said.
The “artificial sun” aims to release nuclear fusion in the same way as the sun by using deuterium and tritium (radioactive hydrogen-3), and finally generate electricity. It is clean energy that will not generate waste, which makes it ideal for people to use in the future, Liu said.