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World’s Most Advanced Stellarator, Wendelstein 7-X, Actually Works

First Posted: Dec 12, 2016 06:08 AM EST
Wendelstein 7-X
The world's most sophisticated stellarator actually works, scientists say.
(Photo : Jetigen/YouTube Screenshot)

Energy is essential in the world today. The Sun is a powerful source of energy but it is too far away. That is why scientists have been working on a way to create an infinite energy source like the Sun, somehow, and it is actually working.

The nuclear fusion reactor, called Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator, is capable of producing infinite energy, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. Physicist Sam Lazerson at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) worked with scientists from Germany to confirm that the stellarator produces high-quality magnetic fields that are consistent with their complex design.

Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) is the largest and most sophisticated stellarator in the world. It was developed by the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald and has just started operation.

"The largest and most sophisticated stellarator in the world, Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X), has just started operation, with the aim to show that the earlier weaknesses of this concept have been addressed successfully, and that the intrinsic advantages of the concept persist, also at plasma parameters approaching those of a future fusion power plant," the researchers said in the study as reported by IPP.

"This is a significant step forward in stellarator research, since it shows that the complicated and delicate magnetic topology can be created and verified with the required accuracy," they added.

The idea behind W7-X is about using nuclear fusion instead of nuclear fission, which is splitting of atoms to create energy while creating nuclear waste. When they use fusion, it entails the joining of atoms that can produce heaps of energy but without the radioactive byproducts.

The good thing about this project is it will only use seawater as fuel, which is used as its source of hydrogen. With no radioactive wastes, it could produce the world's unlimited clean energy, which is both cost-effective and environment-friendly.

"We've confirmed that the magnetic cage that we've built works as designed," Lazerson said as reported by Phys.org"This reflects U.S. contributions to W7-X and highlights PPPL's ability to conduct international collaborations," he added.

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