For a long time, scientists have dreamed of nuclear fusion as a virtually infinite source of clean energy. And just as long, the necessary technology seems to be a distant dream that moves closer in very small steps. It will take 50 years – it has been said for decades. But as time progressed, the limit was not adjusted, but remained at these fixed 50 years. But now it looks as if nuclear fusion is actually on the threshold of practical application.
The problems are largely technical in nature
The theory of nuclear fusion and its usability for energy production is now almost completely known. Now it's about solving the practical problems from an engineering perspective. Many experts now assume that fusion energy will become reality by the 2030s – if not earlier. " I'm 100 percent confident this is going to happen. Are we going to have commercial fusion power plants on the grid by 2030? Maybe. But it will not be 50 years, I can tell you that "said Christofer Mowry, CEO of General Fusion, in an article to Brian Bergstein, who formerly ran the MIT Technology Review website.
General Fusion hopes to get a working prototype up and running by 2022. The remaining challenges are predominantly technical and financial.
Clean energy within reach?
The optimism of a CEO whose company relies on financial resources should, of course, be enjoyed with some caution. Nevertheless, such optimism gives cause for hope. Hope for a world where energy production is largely without greenhouse gas emissions and with minimal waste products. Fusion energy can be produced as needed, like nuclear or energy from coal. Complex storage systems, such as those required for the use of renewable energies such as solar energy, are not required for fusion energy.
Fusion energy is still a dream of the future. But the confidence of researchers, who are actually working on such systems, is growing rapidly and gives reason to believe that a clean energy supply could actually become a reality in the not-too-distant future.