Little Nicky has often been accused of being ‘anti – science’ or ‘anti – progress’. He is not of course but as his medieval ancestor Nicoli Machiavellie said, humans are driven by base instincs such as self interest, and so the Machiavelli fasmily have always been genetically predisposed to question everything.
And this story is one which invites many questions, particularly about the sanity of the scientists behind this ‘invention’ (which as yet only exists as a theory.)
The gas generator, with one of the problems of handling such power spelled out (sorry about the little box in the image, result of an attempt to shrink it.
Chinese scientists claim to have created a type of hydrogen gas that is three times hotter than the sun.
The artificial energy could eventually be used as an inexhaustible source of power, ending reliance on fossil fuels and solving the world energy crisis.
Chinese boffins created the gas in a huge magnetic fusion reactor at the Institute of Physical Science in Hefei.
Invented by Soviet scientists in the 1950s, the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) features a massive metallic doughtnut-shaped chamber twisted into a figure of eight.
Researchers were able to use the reactor to produce temperatures of 50 million Kelvins (49.999 million°C) and maintain them for 102 seconds.
The core of the sun is believed to around 15 million Kelvins.
Although a previous experiment by German scientists claims to have produced temperatures hotter than this, it was unable to sustain them for as long.
While the news is an important breakthrough, it could still take decades to perfect the process so that it can be used as a constant power source. (Source: South China Morning Post)
The first question that needs to be asked concerns the claim that this energy source is based on the creation of a new ‘type of hydrogen gas’. Now as hydrogen is the simplest substance in the universe, the atom from which all forms of matter in all states are dervived, how can anyone create a new type?
Secondly, nuclear fusion has been around a long time. Look at the article above and note the kind of temperatures involved. Think of the enormous amount of power needed to contain such a reaction. To save you a lot of reseach, I will revisit my time in the nuclear industry and tell you the energy needed to create the stupendously powerful magnetic fields needed to create the ‘new type of hydrogen’ would be far greater than the system would yield.
The fact that this experiment managed to run for 102 seconds (just over a minute and a half) tells us the invetors are a long way from a commercially viable system. And 99% of world changing scientific breakthroughs seem unable to survive that journey.
Fair play to the Chinese lads for having a go, but we should avoid getting excited until we see one of these things driving a modest power generation system capable of churning out 250 megawatts, twenty four hours a days, for prolonged periods.
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