What is fusion energy?
I have been talking about fusion (energy) in my last few posts and some of you may be wondering what it is.
Simply put, fusion energy is the energy released when light nuclei join (“fuse”) to make heavier nuclei.
One example is when two different isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium, join together to make a helium atom and a neutron. The products (helium and a neutron) carry with them a lot more energy than the reactants (deuterium and tritium). This extra energy is “fusion energy”. This reaction uses, then, water (for deuterium) and lithium (from which we breed tritium) to produce helium and energy: Water + Lithium => Helium + energy.
Those among you that have some physics background will have recognised Einstein’s
playing a part in this process. Indeed, the sum of the masses of a helium and a neutron is less than the sum of the masses of a deuterium and a tritium. This missing mass (symbol “m”) is what is converted to fusion energy.
Because the speed of light (symbol “c”) is such a high number (and even higher when squared), the energy released from a fusion reaction is quite large. Fusion energy is, in fact, the most energy dense source of energy we can use on earth (matter-antimatter reactions are more energy dense, but there is no antimatter on earth).
More on fusion in subsequent posts! In the meantime, please continue spreading the word about Fusion Reactors.