Author: Margaret Graham CEng FIET, Ion Cyclotron Resonant Heating group leader, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, Culham Science Centre
How will the world’s ever-increasing energy demands be met once gas and oil are depleted? This is a dilemma that the world needs to solve before it is too late. While renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, are capable of providing a sizable chunk of future energy needs, it is clear that this will simply not be enough. Nuclear energy from fission power is often touted as a solution but is increasingly falling out of favour and, indeed, is itself not limitless, so what other alternatives are there?
One potentially game-changing alternative is fusion energy. This is the mechanism that powers the sun and all other stars in the universe and, if harnessed, could offer the holy grail of energy: a safe, clean and abundant source of power.