Twisted device investigates fusion alternatives

German stellarator revamped to run longer, hotter, compete with tokamaks

Tokamaks have dominated the seek for fusion power for many years. Simply as ITER, the world’s largest and most costly tokamak, nears completion in southern France, a smaller, twistier testbed will begin up in Germany.

If the 16-meter-wide stellarator can match or outperform similar-size tokamaks, fusion specialists might rethink their future. Stellarators can hold their superhot gases steady sufficient to fuse nuclei and produce power. They will theoretically run perpetually, however tokamaks should pause to reset their magnet coils.

The €1 billion German machine, Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X), is already getting “tokamak-like efficiency” briefly runs, claims plasma physicist David Gates, stopping particles and warmth from escaping the superhot fuel. If W7-X can go lengthy, “will probably be forward,” he says. “Stellarators excel” Eindhoven College of Expertise theorist Josefine Proll says, “Stellarators are again within the recreation.” A couple of of startup firms, together with one which Gates is leaving Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, are creating their very own stellarators.

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