Top 5 Facts: Fusion power
1) Star power
Fusion is the process that powers the Sun and all other stars, and involves fusing together the nuclei of hydrogen atoms, to produce heavier helium atoms and energy.
2) Extreme heat
To replicate this on Earth, temperatures of 150mn°C (270mn°F), ten times hotter than Sun’s core, are needed to remove the hydrogen atoms’ electrons and expose the positively charged nuclei.
3) Plasma soup
This separation creates plasma, an electrically charged gas and the fourth state of matter. As the plasma is heated, the nuclei move faster and collide at speed, fusing together and releasing energy.
4) Abundant fuel
The most efficient fuel used for fusion reactors is deuterium, extracted from water and tritium, which is produced from lithium found in the Earth’s crust. 1kg (2.2lb) of fusion fuel could provide the same amount of energy as 10,000 tons of fossil fuel
5) Magnetic chamber
To achieve extreme temperatures, fusion reactors contain a ring-shaped magnetic chamber called a ‘tokamak’, which uses magnetic fields to contain and control the plasma.
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