Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Program: Fusion Energy Research and Development: Starbuilding on Earth

Speaker: Dr. John C. Glowienka, Deputy ITER Program Manager, Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, Office of Science,
               U.S. Department of Energy

Highlights: For a number of years, the US has been looking at fusion energy because the fuel cost would be low, and there seems to be an endless supply of it. The idea is that At the temperature of the sun, hydrogen nuclei fuse to give Helium and Energy. The problem to date is that achieving and maintaining this temperature is very, very difficult -- and expensive. The US has been working for years to achieve a demonstration of a "break even" process, one that yields as much energy as it consumes. This has been achieved on a small scale for a short period of time. 

Currently, a large effort, known as ITER, is sited in France, and has a many nation support, including the US. There are other smaller efforts also. This is an effort to build a fusion based power plant. For more details on the fusion process and current technologies, see the pdf file that was used in the talk.

PDF file of Dr. Glowienka's' presentation