Fusion: the ultimate source of clean energy?

Media:  Talk   

November 22, 2016

Byens Lys

Thomas Sunn Pedersen

Thomas Sunn Pedersen is Professor at the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany and Head of the Stellarator Edge and Divertor Physics. Previously, he was Professor at Columbia University, USA. He is one the world’s leading experts in Plasma Physics. Homepage

Dawda Jobarteh/Stefan Pasborg - duo

Dawda Jobarteh and Stefan Pasborg debut album come out during the summer of 2016 and was selected, two entire consecutive months, for the world-wide list of 'Recommended new releases' in the American magazine "New York City Jazz Record". It is a charismatic duo that has joined forces: both subdue their instruments as champions and both master their favourite genres. For that reason alone there is an unusually interesting interaction. Homepage

The idea that Fusion will supply energy to the entire world has lingered around for quite some time but can fusion really supply the entire world with energy one day? It has been said about fusion: "It is the energy of the future, and always will be". How close are we to making the dream a reality? Last year, in Germany, a new fusion experiment just began. What are its prospects?

It has been clear since the 1950's that immense amounts of energy can be released by bringing a gas of hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium, to temperatures of 100-200 million degrees. Although this might seem unrealistic, such temperatures have been reached in various experiments around the world. At these temperatures, the gas has become a plasma - the fourth state of matter. There is not much plasma around on Earth, but most of the visible Universe is actually plasma. The challenge in fusion lies in confining a hot, relatively dense plasma efficiently and stably, so that the plasma heat can be sustained by the power generated from the fusion processes in its interior.

Laboratory plasmas created until now have not yet reached the point where the fusion power exceeds the input heating power. However, great progress has been made in performance, as well as in our understanding of the plasma itself. Last year, a new fusion experiment started operation in Greifswald, Germany, the stellarator Wendelstein 7-X. The first results are very encouraging. Within its first two months of operation, plasma temperatures of 100 million degrees were achieved. In this episode, Thomas Sunn Pedersen will describe the fundamental principles of fusion energy production, how hot plasmas are confined and describe some of the key achievements and goals of fusion in general, and of the Wendelstein 7-X in particular.

Afterwards, cocktails that could cool down the Wendelstein 7-X to zero degrees and another fusion explosion on the stage: the uprising jazz duo stars Dawda Jobarteh and Stefan Pasborg merge African tradition, world-beat percussion and unusual instrumentation to produce innovative and expressively stimulating sounds. These two gentlemen from respectively Gambia and Denmark hit a vein filled with power: a well-composed suite with a fantastic dialogue between the two 'soul brothers'.

Entrance to the event is free. No registration is necessary. Doors open at 19:00.

The talk: