Star Power. Bring it.

Video of how NIF works, NIF and Photon Science

Here’s some bright news this Earth Day.

There’s a maverick technology being developed in Northern California (surprise) called nuclear fusion. Not to be confused with nuclear fission.  In nuclear fusion, hydrogen nuclei are fused together to form helium nuclei, emitting the kind of massive energy the stars make, including our good old Sun.  This is super good news for our future. And not too distant future it appears, thanks to the hard work and dedicated commitment of a bunch of mad scientists that took Albert Einstein’s E=MC2 seriously. They’re based at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Ignition Facility (which btw. is a program of the The Department of Energy.  The Gov has apparently seen the light on this issue.)

So let’s talk practicality. When will it be here and how much is it going to cost?  Good news it seems on both fronts.  Because so much massive energy is created from just fusing together a few hydrogen nuclei, the energy is probably going to be dirt cheap, or nothing compared to oil today. And this technology fuses nuclei together as opposed to splitting nuclei, otherwise known as nuclear fission. The latter is the kind of energy made at nuclear power plants. We’ve seen how stable that is (poor Japan, poor fish, poor oceans, poor contaminated global food supply).  Fusion energy is much safer. It’s also totally sustainable, and runs clean, unlike coal or oil.  As to when will it be a reality, looks like it well may be in our lifetime, maybe even before we run out of oil, which some project at 40 years from now.

So as far as good energy is concerned, looks like sunny days ahead.  Happy Earth Day.

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