We are witnessing astonishing Inventions and are setting new records in the field of Nuclear Fusion. Nuclear Fusion is a process in which we collide Hydrogen atoms to generate “magic” aka clean energy. China is trying to build an artificial Sun on Earth. Yes, You read that right! Our very own energy source on earth will work just like the Sun. What is China’s Artificial Sun “EAST” and Why Is China building this? Read the staggering details!
What is China’s Artificial Sun (Tokamak)?
The full name of this Artificial Sun is “Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST)” and people refer to it as Tokamak only. The main thing in Artificial Sun is Nuclear Fusion. Sun also produces energy due to Nuclear fusion process happenings in the core. Each second, thousands of Hydrogen atoms are colliding to produce Helium. During this, mass is converted into energy. Just like that, in this Artificial Sun, Hydrogen atoms will collide and fuse to produce energy.
But is the Nuclear fusion process that easy? Nope. On Hydrogen atoms,” Tremendous” heat and pressure are applied so that their fusion takes place. But still, The Nuclear Fusion process is considered to be a safer process, unlike fission. Why? Because no nuclear waste is produced in the Fusion.
Why Nuclear Fusion is done in China’s Artificial Sun?
Nuclear Fusion can provide “Unlimited” clean energy. Today, one of the biggest challenges that the world is facing is Climate change. Thus, This device can give relief to the ecosystem. Not only that, the energy produced through this process is cheap. Thus, Nuclear fusion has the huge potential to change our energy sector and Tokamak is the biggest step in that direction.
What is the recent achievement of Tokamak?
Tokamak has set a new record by sustaining plasma reaction for 101 seconds at 120 Million degrees Celsius. This new record in the “Fusion” technology has got the world talking about the future of the energy sector and what can we potentially achieve with it. In 2018, tokamak sustained plasma reaction at 82 degrees Celsius for 10 seconds only.
In between those 101 seconds, Tokamak achieved 160 Million degrees Celsius as well for 20 seconds. This is 10X hotter than the Sun. Why Tokamak need almost 10 times more heat than Sun? To know that, you have to read how tokamak works.
How Tokamak Works?
To produce energy, Hydrogen atoms need to collide. Without this collision, there is no fusion reaction. Unlike Sun, Tokamak needs more heat to achieve this. The reason is that Sun uses gravity for the collision of atoms. Tokamak doesn’t have this luxury. So, more heat is required to smash these hydrogen atoms in the reactor. Thus, there is 10 times more heat in this Artificial Sun than the real Sun.
Furthermore, scientists use Deuterium in Tokamak. One main reason is that it is better than gasoline. Deuterium from 1 Litre of seawater can produce energy equivalent to 300 liters of gasoline. Thus, deuterium is somewhat economically viable.
What is the Problem with Tokamak?
It requires a huge investment. Running a device on millions of degrees requires billions of dollars. Right now, it can run for few seconds only. Even with full capacity, it can run for few minutes only. Currently, it is not viable to operate it for hours.
But still, the idea and motive are right. We need carbon-neutral energy and if this invention gets more productive, clean energy will be available at a cheap rate.
The Bottom Line:
A tokamak is a device that can change the energy sector. However, its viability must be enhanced. Climate change is a reality and we need a replica of fossil fuel-based power generation. Tokamak can provide carbon-neutral energy but running it for hours at more than 100 million degrees Celsius is the biggest hurdle. Will the scientists be able to make this device viable? Only time will tell.