A laser ray of hope

Anyone who has been following the problems of global warming for very long at all is acquainted with a variety of schemes that we humans have thought up to give us energy without giving us pollution.  So far, the magic elixir hasn’t been found:  

bio-fuels are competing with our global food and water supplies;  oil-producing algae aren’t yet producing; wind and wave energy only work when where there are wind or waves; solar energy has been too expensive or unreliable;  cold fusion uses energy to produce than it produces itself, but scientists can’t make it work in in practical terms;  conservation and using less energy seems a better idea for other people than it does for ourselves.

But we humans are a creative, innovative species and we haven’t given up.  Scientists in California are beginning a series of experiments using laser beams with the power 1,000 times greater than the US national grid.  

They think they just might be able to replicate the process that takes place within the sun in which atoms of hydrogen fuse together, producing a greater burst of energy than it was required to produce the fusion.

If they can do it, this ignition could be the basis of the ultimate clean energy – a no carbon, no radio-active waste, limitless, safe and secure energy source.

Even if they succeed, however, it will probably be 25 years before power stations using the process are commercially viable.  So we best keep our options open for a while.  

Oh, and turn out the lights when you aren’t using them.



About Terry Sissons

Terry Sissons is the author of The Big Bang to Now: All of Time in Six Chunks, and this blog is a dialogue about the universe and what’s happened in the last 13 billions years.
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