VincentWolf
It's still 50 to 100 years off a commercial fusion power plant.
David Antoni
More like 5-10 years before we see one.
jeff15
Vincent, it was 30 years in the future when I was a teenager ( now in my 70s), I hope to see the estimate coming down before I'm pushing up daisies!
Mzungu_Mkubwa
I feel like this won't see functional success until it is scaled down. Just like many aircraft designs don't scale up well, it seems like they're building this too big (I'm sure for very practical reasons.) Until the tech is in place to miniaturize this appropriately, it seems as if the economies of scale are preventing crossing the threshold into energy generation. (Hmmm... I wonder if Zemeckis has the brand "Mr. Fusion" trademarked...)
guzmanchinky
Yes, I'm sure all these fusion reactors built for billions are just a farce, 50 years at least. C'mon people, science is advancing EXPONENTIALLY compared to even 10 years ago. Humans can't seem to grasp how fundamentally our world is going to change in the next two decades, even though it has changed fundamentally in the last two...
The Bishop of D
There isn't enough information in the article to provide any reasonable basis for estimating when stable break-even conditions will be achieved, much less positive output. Conspicuously missing from the article is any indication of how close the German team is to attaining the Lawson criteria. Controlled fusion in something smaller than a star has been 5 years away since the early 1970's. Plus ├ža change, plus c'est la meme chose.
PeakSpecies
This was pretty much a promotional article with no attempt to look into the criticisms of this technology. The history of this fusion energy quest goes back a half-century. The achievement of a practical fusion energy plant has always been claimed to be just a decade, or two, away. Most of the people now working in this field have little understanding of the string of failures of the past.
The article starts by claiming such power production will involve 'zero-emission power plants.' The generation of the construction materials tend to not be zero CO2 emissions, especially for the generation of cement. No mention, was made in this article, of the necessity to use radioactive tritium which can be difficult to contain.
The article didn't mention that temperatures of around 100 million Kelvin will need to be achieved and maintained. From the dense plasma an intense flux of fusion energy neutrons will be emitted in all directions. That will be in very close proximity to the superconducting plasma confinement magnets that must be maintained at very close to zero Kelvin. The construction materials are limited to those that will not be transmuted into other isotopes by the intense neutron flux.
These articles are aimed at folks who do not have the technical backgrounds needed to think critically about such issues. The source information, for the writers, is aimed more at attracting continuing financial support.
Those, who believe that we have 20 years to develop this technology, typically have not been closely following the predictions of those studying abrupt climate change effects. By the year 2040 industrial civilization will have collapsed and humans may have gone extinct.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
ITER and, possibly, it's Chinese cousin are the only fusion machines under construction that meet all of the fusion criteria. ITER is designed to have Q of 1.1, which means it will have a power gain of 10 %. It will run about a half hour a day and heat a small lake. If the collected data proves favorable after several years DEMO will be built. This will be the result of the data and have steam turbines and be grid connected.
bwana4swahili
Wow, a whole 100 seconds of operation! 30 minutes in 25-30 years. Commercial power in what... 100++ years? I've been hearing about fusion energy since I was in university 60 years ago, still spending billions and no commercial results. Not holding my breath on this boondoggle!!
guzmanchinky
The level of pessimistic and conspiratorial ignorance astonishes me. This is inevitable technology, and with how quickly supercomputers are chewing on this problem you will see it rise very quickly. The people who say "we've been trying this for ages" have zero concept as to the nature of technological advancement feeding itself. That is to say, we have computers now creating computers, interconnected systems of scientific breakthroughs instantly implemented across disciplines and countries. This has never happened before, and will propel us into an age of limitless clean power much sooner than anyone expects.