It looks like the country of Germany has taken a huge step forward – with their gargantuan nuclear fusion machine producing its first ever hydrogen plasma. Having turned on the Wendelstein 7-X (W7X) stellarator, which so happens to be the biggest nuclear fusion machine at the moment in the country, it managed to produce as well as to sustain hydrogen plasma in its maiden attempt. The big deal about this development is because producing hydrogen plasma is the main factor in taking advantage of the limitless energy of nuclear fusion in a clean manner.
In other words, it is somewhat similar to the process that our Sun falls back on to provide heat and light to our solar system. Should controlled nuclear fusion be achieved, this is a world changer, since it would mean goodbye to fossil fuels as well as nuclear fission facilities, as it delivers a far more affordable, efficient as well as greener source of energy.
Physicist John Jelonnek from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, shared, “It’s a very clean source of power, the cleanest you could possibly wish for. We’re not doing this for us, but for our children and grandchildren.” Unlike the nuclear fission that requires the careful management of dangerous radioactive waste, nuclear fusion has no radioactive waste or other kinds of unwanted byproducts. Of course, many obstacles are still in the way where controlled nuclear fusion are concerned, including managing a machine that can produce as well as manipulate a 100-million-degree-Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit) ball of plasma gas.