Electric Power


March 8, 2023

Revolutionary Blue Crystal

resurrects hope of room temperature conductivity

By Robert F. Service — Science.Org

Has the quest for room temperature superconductivity finally succeeded? Researchers at the University of Rochester (U of R), who previously were forced to retract a controversial claim of room temperature superconductivity at high pressures, are back with an even more spectacular claim.

Physicist Ranga Dias says he has found a material that superconducts at room temperature and relatively low pressures. This  material could lead to hyperefficient electricity grids and computer chips. 



Nuclear Fusion

By 60 Minutes

On December 5th, scientists at the National Ignition Facility reached a breakthrough in nuclear fusion by producing a reaction with an energy gain. It could be a step toward a world in the distant future where fusion is a source of power.



This Tiny Diamond Sphere

could unlock clean power

A colour-enhanced picture of the NIF interior

By Carrie King — BBC News

At 1:03 am on Monday 5 December, scientists at the National Ignition Facility in California aimed their 192 beam laser at a cylinder containing a tiny diamond fuel capsule. That powerful burst of laser light created immense temperatures and pressures and sparked a fusion reaction – the reaction which powers the sun.

Scientists have been trying for decades to meet that threshold and the hope is, one day, to build power stations that employ a fusion reaction to generate abundant, carbon-free electricity.



The Clean Energy Bottleneck

Energy developers want to build a ton of wind and solar — they just can’t get it connected to the grid

By Shannon Osaka — The Washington Post

Scientists estimate that transmission will have to increase 25 percent over the course of the decade to meet U.S. climate goals.



How Much Land Is Required

to get the most from wind and solar?

By CleanTechnica

Critics of wind and solar routinely raise concerns about how much land would be required to decarbonize the US power sector. Fortunately, the answer is relatively little.

A recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study shows that it would take less than 1 percent of the land in the Lower 48 — that’s an area comparable to or even smaller than the fossil fuel industry’s current footprint. And when wind and solar projects are responsibly sited, the environmental and public health impacts would be far less harmful than those from extracting, producing, and burning fossil fuels.



World’s Biggest Green Hydrogen Project  

By David Waterworth — CleanTechnica

According to Hydrogen Insight, China has just begun construction on the world’s biggest green hydrogen project, called Ordos. It will nudge aside Sinopec’s Kuqa plant from the #1 spot.

Kuqa is currently being built in the western region of Xinijang. The Kuqa plant is projected to produce 20,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year. Hydrogen from Kuqa is expected to replace grey H2 made from fossil gas at Sinopec’s Tahe refinery.

The even bigger Ordos project in Inner Mongolia will use 390 MW of electrolysers to produce around 30,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year. Hydrogen produced at the Ordos project will partially displace black hydrogen currently used in a nearby chemical factory. The project is expected to cost $831 million.



New Nuclear Technologies

feds are betting billions


Yasir Arafat — the 36-year-old chief designer and project lead for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Microreactor Applications Research Validation and Evaluation (MARVEL) project — is furiously working with government support to get new nuclear technology fired up and producing power.



Small Nuclear Reactors

how do they work? are they safe?

By Roberto Bocca and Johnnie Wood — World Economic Forum

Nuclear power has an image problem, but the nuclear option looks set for a reboot as interest in this zero-emission energy source is rekindled.  A combination of new nuclear technology, the quest to decarbonize and an increasing desire for energy independence following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reversed nuclear power’s fortunes.



Small Nuclear Reactors Get the Nod

By Mark Sullivan and Alex Pasternack — Fast Company

This new technology comes at a time when nuclear’s contribution to the overall energy sector is fading.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave final certification to a new kind of nuclear reactor called a small modular reactor (SMR). It could play an important role in decarbonizing the world’s energy supply.

The agency first performed a safety review of reactor company NuScale Power’s SMR design in 2020. A year later, the NRC completed its standard rulemaking process, which included a review of public comments. On August 2, the commission issued a final approval for the SMR, though NuScale says it’s unlikely to become operational until 2029.



Small Modular Nuclear Plants

could reshape coal country

By Evan Halper — The Washington Post

The nuclear industry and the Biden administration are pitching coal communities on small, adaptable plants that promoters boast are safer, cheaper and capable of being deployed all over the country in the effort to cut the power sector’s contribution to climate change.



Fusion Energy Breakthrough

sparking hopes for clean power

By Joel Achenbach and Evan Halper — The Washington Post

Biden administration announces major advancement in quest to mimic the sun’s nuclear reactions.



When Can We Expect Nuclear Fusion?

By Jess Thomson — Newsweek

Nuclear fusion is the hottest new energy source in science—quite literally.

Milestone breakthroughs have been made in the field of fusion power, taking us even closer than before to the possibility of generating electricity using only hydrogen as fuel. While the technology is still many years away from being widely used, the hope is that some nuclear fusion reactors will be fully operational by 2027.



When Will Fusion Energy Be Available?

Here’s what three scientists predict

By Molly Glick — INVERSE

THIS PAST WEEK, in a historic first, the team at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility announced that they managed to create a surplus of nuclear fusion energy by bombarding hydrogen isotopes with powerful lasers.

Now, scientists, clean energy advocates, and closely-following nerds around the world are wondering what’s next.



Power Plasma with Gagajoule Energy Turnover

generated for eight minutes

By Frank Fleschner — Max Planck Society

The Greifswald nuclear fusion experiment has surpassed an important target. In 2023, an energy turnover of 1 gigajoule was targeted. Now the researchers have even achieved 1.3 gigajoules and a new record for discharge time on Wendelstein 7-X: the hot plasma could be maintained for eight minutes. This fusion facility is the most modern and largest stellarator in the world.



Watch Nuclear Fusion Reactor Form Plasma

you can’t take your eyes off it

By Pandora Dewan — Newsweek

What does the inside of a nuclear fusion reactor look like?

“It looks like the future,” Stuart White, head of communications at Tokamak Energy, told Newsweek. “A spaceship. It’s extremely striking, powerful and exciting. You can’t take your eyes off it.”

Nuclear fusion is a technology that creates energy in the same way as the sun: it occurs when two atoms are thrust together with such force that they combine into a single, larger atom and release huge amounts of energy in the process.

Unlike nuclear fission—the nuclear reaction that is currently used in the energy sector—fusion does not create radioactive waste. Fusion produces three to four times more energy than fission, as estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy, and does not release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, like fossil fuels. There is also no risk of nuclear meltdown from this reaction as fusion is a very fragile process that will shut down in seconds if the correct conditions are not maintained.



Fusion Ignition

By Breanna Bishop — LLNL

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today (Dec. 13) announced the achievement of fusion ignition at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) — a major scientific breakthrough decades in the making that will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power. 



Unlimited, Clean Nuclear Fusion Energy Within Reach

Major Breakthrough!

By Gareth Willmer, Horizon — SciTechDaily

The old joke is that nuclear fusion is always 30 years away. However, the dream of plentiful clean energy is no laughing matter as we meet an ITER researcher to catch up on progress at the reactor facility.

By creating light and heat through nuclear fusion, the Sun has fueled life on Earth for billions of years. Given that incredible power and longevity, it seems there can hardly be a better way to generate energy than by harnessing the same nuclear processes that occur in stars, including our own sun.



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