Culham Centre for Fusion Energy is a laboratory, based on a former military airfield in Oxfordshire. The structure itself is an 18 meter-high container and in there is a team of British researchers and scientists that are creating what they describe as a “miniature sun” here on Earth.
This long-held dream of fusion power will potentially offer a limitless supply of zero-carbon energy but is yet to be viable at scale because a fusion reaction requires more power than it tends to generate. But this is not impossible!
Fusion Reactors on a Global Scale
Chinese scientists have built a fusion reactor that became the first in the world to reach 100 million degrees Celcius – Seven times hotter than the core of the sun and most importantly the temperature at which hydrogen atoms begin to fuse into helium.
Achievements like these are milestones on the fusion timeline and provide insight for projects like the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project (ITER).
In France, the consortium is building a prototype fusion reactor called Tokamak which costs around $25 billion and it aims to conduct a test of super-heated plasma in 2025 and generate full-power fusion within 15 years.
ITER may be the biggest and most expensive project but there are more fusion energy projects underway. Like for example, a privately funded UK venture called Tokamak Energy announced it hit 15 million degrees for the first time.
MIT and the startup of Commonwealth Fusion Systems are currently designing a fusion reactor capable of generating more power than it consumes.
The Canadian government will be investing around $37 million in General Fusion that will focus on magnetized target fusion.