Let's talk, once again, about fusion energy.
We have so far mentioned that, for fusion, we require two necessary ingredients, namely the right temperature and the right density. Today we will talk about a third necessary ingredient that, unlike the other two, has not yet been achieved in any experiment in the world.
This ingredient is called the “confinement time”. Confinement time is a measure of how well our magnetic bottle is holding energy in it, or, alternatively, how “leaky” it is. The less leaky it is, the higher the confinement time.
An easy way to understand why a high confinement time is desirable is by way of an investment analogy. In order to raise the temperature of our fuel to the necessary value, we need to provide energy to it. Once we provide the energy, it will stay with our fuel a certain amount of time before it leaks out of our machine and is lost to the environment. While that unit of energy is in the machine, it is “facilitating” fusion reactions, i.e. facilitating the generation of energy. The more time that unit of energy we invested stays in the machine, the more energy it helps to generate.
For a power station, we want to produce more energy than the energy we “invest” into the machine; if the invested energy leaves before it has helped to generate at least as much energy as itself, then we are not producing enough energy to make a power station. We therefore want to maximise the amount of time each unit of invested energy spends in the machine; we want, in other words, to make the confinement time high.
Sadly, this is not something that decades of fusion research has managed to achieve yet. We are, however, very close, and with the right fusion reactor design, we can cross the line and make commercial fusion a reality.
This is what Fusion Reactors will achieve; more on the company and what makes it unique in our subsequent posts.
In the meantime, please continue spreading the word about Fusion Reactors.