Practical Nuclear Fusion Power Plant!? #Almost #MIT

Check out this awesome research being done at MIT:

A small, modular, efficient fusion plant

New design could finally help to bring the long-sought power source closer to reality.

David L. Chandler | MIT News Office
August 10, 2015

A cutaway view of the proposed ARC reactor. Thanks to powerful new magnet technology, the much smaller, less-expensive ARC reactor would deliver the same power output as a much larger reactor. Illustration courtesy of the MIT ARC team

A cutaway view of the proposed ARC reactor. Thanks to powerful new magnet technology, the much smaller, less-expensive ARC reactor would deliver the same power output as a much larger reactor. Illustration courtesy of the MIT ARC team

It’s an old joke that many fusion scientists have grown tired of hearing: Practical nuclear fusion power plants are just 30 years away — and always will be.

But now, finally, the joke may no longer be true: Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak fusion reactor — and it’s one that might be realized in as little as a decade, they say. The era of practical fusion power, which could offer a nearly inexhaustible energy resource, may be coming near.

Using these new commercially available superconductors, rare-earth barium copper oxide (REBCO) superconducting tapes, to produce high-magnetic field coils “just ripples through the whole design,” says Dennis Whyte, a professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center. “It changes the whole thing.”

The stronger magnetic field makes it possible to produce the required magnetic confinement of the superhot plasma — that is, the working material of a fusion reaction — but in a much smaller device than those previously envisioned. The reduction in size, in turn, makes the whole system less expensive and faster to build, and also allows for some ingenious new features in the power plant design. The proposed reactor, using a tokamak (donut-shaped) geometry that is widely studied, is described in a paper in the journal Fusion Engineering and Design, co-authored by Whyte, PhD candidate Brandon Sorbom, and 11 others at MIT. The paper started as a design class taught by Whyte and became a student-led project after the class ended.  Continue reading

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Help make your state a clean energy leader! @UCSUSA’s quick form to contact your state governor!!

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Help make your state a clean energy leader! Start 2015 off right by asking your state’s governor to find clean energy solutions!! The Union of Concerned Scientists has an easy and quick form to send a letter here! Takes less than a minute!!

Right now, we have an unprecedented opportunity to reduce dangerous carbon emissions from power plants—the largest source global warming emissions in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has charged states with developing plans to meet the agency’s newly proposed rules to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

How your state chooses to meet this charge could depend on you.

Your governor needs to hear that residents are paying attention and want scientifically-sound plans that will prioritize clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency and ensure your state is prepared for the consequences of climate change.

Urge your governor to ensure your state is a clean energy leader today!

[tweet https://twitter.com/UCSUSA/status/552910482185940993] [tweet https://twitter.com/UCSUSA/status/552489391185477633]

AsapSCIENCE Video: Energy facts that will BLOW YOUR MIND! #science

Amazing Energy Facts To Blow Your Mind

Here are some amazing facts about energy to shock your brain!
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Watch Live: Currently in Hour 10 of #24HoursOfReality on climate hope!

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Watch the live steam of the multimedia event: 24 Hours of Reality by the Climate Reality Project. Each hour covers a new topic on climate change and climate hope. The coming hours are sure to include more inspirational stories and facts from around the globe. Specifically, the topics will include clean and renewable energies in different countries and the impact this clean energy has on security, job growth, economics, public health, and more! If that weren’t enough, the coming hours will also feature musical guests Jack Johnson, Colbie Caillat, Fitz and the Tantrums, Boyz II Men, and Jason Mraz!

A big week for quantum science! Scientists discover what an atom sounds like and make solid light! #science

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While quantum physics is certainly not my specialty, two super cool studies were published this week demonstrating new phenomena in this field. The first, published in Science, examined the ‘sound’ of an atom by bouncing sound waves off an artificial atom and recording the sound that came back. A news article at Huffington Post describes the study in layman’s terms.

“According to the theory, the sound from the atom is divided into quantum particles,” study co-author Martin Gustafsson, a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University, said in the statement. “Such a particle is the weakest sound that can be detected.”

That sound was a “D-note” about 20 octaves above the highest note on the piano, which is a pitch much higher than the human ear can detect.

Apparently, it may be possible to harness this quantal energy and apply it to the design of super-fast computers. photonic

The second article, published in Physical Review X, describes a method to turn light, or rather photons (the ‘particles’ of light), into s solid. Phys.org has a simplified explanation.

The researchers are not shining light through crystal – they are transforming light into crystal. As part of an effort to develop exotic materials such as room-temperature superconductors, the researchers have locked together , the basic element of light, so that they become fixed in place.

“It’s something that we have never seen before,” said Andrew Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and one of the researchers. “This is a new behavior for light.”

This technology also hopes to harness atomic energy in a new way, in this case developing materials ‘that we cannot yet create.’

While much of the actual science is over my head, these new studies are very cool!