Google has developed an algorithm that will try to keep the plasma molten. The goal is to generate electricity for as many people as possible from nuclear fusion.
Google wants to participate in its way in research on this energy in parallel with international projects, such as the ITER program which concerns 35 countries and which has already cost 19 billion euros.
Nuclear fusion is the possibility of trapping a gas in a containment chamber and heating it. With the help of an electric field, we then have plasma. The nuclei and electrons will then circulate and collide. A heavy helium nucleus forms and releases a neutron.
For the moment, we do not know how to keep this molten plasma more than a few seconds. In addition, the temperature reaches several million degrees and it can very quickly turn into a disaster. Not to mention the energy consumption that explodes. It is thus necessary to be able to make persist the fusion for a sufficient duration and with a rather high power. Until then the record is a few hundred seconds.
Google, with its start-up Tri Alpha energy, would like to merge protons with cores cores. A colossal machine called C-2U was built to already contain the gas.
They think they will be able to stabilize it and produce electricity within 10 years.
Their algorithm is called "Optometrist", it can calculate all possible configurations. The researchers will then eliminate the possibilities by testing them one after the other. For the moment, Google would have succeeded in reducing the energy losses of the order of 50% and thus increase the energy of the plasma. They posted their results in Scientific Reports. They will soon replace C-2U by a machine with larger capacities and can heat even more plasma. If it works, the next step will be the construction of a demonstration reactor.
While for its part, ITER should reach this stage only in 2040.
Nuclear fusion is possibly a cleaner and safer source of energy for the planet. And the replacement of the old nuclear fission plants.
Update: Google would have abandoned its project on the merger. The results are not conclusive after several years of research.
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