Wendelstein 7-X: The World’s Largest Nuclear Fusion Reactor Comes to Life

12. 10. 15 by Jappy Lim
Breaking Energy
The Breakthrough

Today ( December 10, 2015), the first helium plasma was produced in the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald, Germany. After over a year of preparations and tests, the experimental operation has now begun, and all is going smoothly.

Wendelstein 7-X is the world’s largest stellarator-type fusion device. Its objective is to investigate the suitability of this type of device as a power generator.

“We’re starting with a plasma produced from the noble gas helium. We’re not changing over to the actual investigation object, a hydrogen plasma, until next year,” project leader Professor Thomas Klinger stated in the release.

“This is because it’s easier to achieve the plasma state with helium. In addition, we can clean the surface of the plasma vessel with helium plasmas,” he continued.


The Implications

The objective of fusion research is to develop a power source that is environmentally friendly and produces energy from the fusion of atomic nuclei, similar to the process that powers the Sun. Since the fusion fire only ignites at temperatures of more than 100 million degrees, the fuel – a thin hydrogen plasma – must not come into contact with cold vessel walls.

Using magnetic fields, the plasma floats virtually free from contact inside a vacuum chamber. For the magnetic cage, two different designs are available: The tokamak and the stellarator. Both types are being investigated at the IPP.

As a Futurism reader, we invite you join the Singularity Global Community, our parent company’s forum to discuss futuristic science & technology with like-minded people from all over the world. It’s free to join, sign up now!

Share This Article

Keep up.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter to keep in touch with the subjects shaping our future.
I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its User Agreement and Privacy Policy


Copyright ©, Singularity Education Group All Rights Reserved. See our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Futurism. Fonts by Typekit and Monotype.