The race to give nuclear fusion a role in the climate emergency. Dr Ajay Gambhir, a senior policy research fellow at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, Imperial College London, says most electricity generation needs to come from near-zero carbon sources as soon as 2030 in order to achieve this. Dr Michael Bluck, also of the Grantham Institute, expresses serious doubts that commercial fusion energy will be ready in time, saying that it is “very difficult to see this [conventional tokamaks] happening until after 2050” and that laser fusion has “another 50 years to go, if at all”. Scientists have long been excited about fusion because it doesn’t produce carbon dioxide or long-lived radioactive waste, since the fuel it requires – two types of hydrogen known as deuterium and tritium – is plentiful enough to last for at least thousands of years, and because there is zero chance of meltdown. Unlike renewables such as wind and solar power, plants based on fusion would also take up little space compared with the power they would be able to generate.
Observer 28th Aug 2021 read more »