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Artificial Sun of China An Efficient Alternative to the Sun?

doughnut shaped Tokamak reactor

Scientists in China have been very busy lately with the development of an artificial sun that could produce unlimited amounts of clean energy.

What is the Artificial Sun of China?

The purpose of the artificial sun is to mimic the nuclear fusion reaction that is similar to the nuclear reaction that takes place in our Sun every second.

To hit this milestone, the Chinese scientists had to reach a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius, which is about 6.5 times higher than the temperature in the core of our Sun (15 million degrees Celsius or 27 million degrees Fahrenheit).

The nuclear fusion reaction takes place at a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit), and because this is way hotter than the temperature in our Sun, scientists needed a very strong magnetic field to control the extremely hot plasma.

It would be very interesting to see if this artificial sun could change the way energy is produced and consumed on our planet.

HL-2M Tokamak Device

The Tokamak device used in this project relies on a strong magnetic field to restrict the hot plasma in the form of a torus (a large doughnut shaped structure).

This type of nuclear reactor was used to ensure safety during the nuclear fusion reaction process due to the very high temperature reached.

The floating atoms are effectively kept inside the doughnut shape using superconducting magnets.
It is extremely challenging for the team to control the hydrogen in its volatile and hot state inside the reactor.

The old Tokamak devices were not capable to hold the plasma for more than a couple of seconds. However, using the HL-2M Tokamak Device, the Chinese scientists managed to overcome the numerous engineering and scientific issues, such as control the alignment of a magnet, and capturing energy particles and keeping them from escaping from the reactor.

The Tokamak Device is located in the Anhui province (eastern China), and was named the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST).

The EAST Project

China started EAST independently in 2006 in East China. The artificial sun aims to work like the real sun and release nuclear fusion with the use of tritium and deuterium. It is available widely in seawater. After starting the EAST project, the Chinese scientists encountered some problems.

Initially, the U.S. was ready to provide superconducting materials, but they refused later. It was a difficult time because the team needed superconducting materials to design the advanced Tokamak device. To overcome the disappointment, scientists started their efforts to develop their own technology to produce superconducting materials.

After a couple of years of research, the team was successful in overcoming the series of technical complications with the development of top-rated superconducting materials. This achievement satisfied the needs of China, and also fulfilled the export demands.

The process was not easy because scientists tackled numerous technical issues in the development of fusion reactors. These issues were extensive magnet system, divertor system, superconducting wiring, superconducting joints, etc.
The team plans to complete the artificial sun project before the year 2025.

Song Yuntao, a top official of the project, stated that they are hoping to expand international cooperation using the EAST device, and they want to bring their contribution to the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) which is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject located in France, involving a number of 35 countries such as China, the EU, India, Japan, Russia, the U.S., South Korea and many others.

Article written by:

I am a writer and reporter for the clean energy sector, I cover climate change issues, new clean technologies, sustainability and green cars. Danny Ovy

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