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Fusion energy

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The energy released when two atomic nuclei fuse together. This process powers the sun and stars.  Read more

PPPL, Princeton University physicists join German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Wendelstein 7-X celebration

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) physicists collaborating on the Wendelstein 7-X (W 7-X) stellarator fusion energy device in Greifswald, Germany, were on hand for the Feb. 3 celebration when German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed a button to produce a hydrogen-fueled superhot gas called a plasma. The occasion officially recognized a device that is the largest and most advanced fusion experiment of its kind in the world.

A Q&A With the Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Dr. Stewart Prager

Q: What is fusion and how can it produce energy?

A: Fusion is the energy source of our sun and the stars. In a fusion reaction, two atomic nuclei fuse and produce very fast-moving particles. Billions of such reactions occurring in a hot gas of electrically-charged particles, a plasma, produce substantial heat. So a reactor produces heat from fusion using hot plasma. The heat then can be converted to electricity. Essentially, we would be producing a “star on earth,” taking its energy, converting it to steam and generating electricity.

Top-5 Achievements at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in 2015

From launching the most powerful spherical tokamak on Earth to discovering a mechanism that halts solar eruptions, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory advanced the boundaries of clean energy and plasma science research in 2015. Here, in no particular order, are our picks for the Top-5 developments of the year:

PPPL engineers complete the design of Wendelstein 7-X scraper unit

Engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have finished designing a novel component for the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator, which recently opened at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) in Griefswald, Germany. Known as a "test divertor unit (TDU) scraper element," the component intercepts some of the heat flowing towards the divertor — a part of the machine that collects heat and particles as they escape from the plasma before they hit the stellarator wall or degrade the plasma's performance.

PPPL engineers complete the design of Wendelstein 7-X scraper unit

Engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have finished designing a novel component for the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator, which recently opened at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) in Griefswald, Germany. Known as a "test divertor unit (TDU) scraper element," the component intercepts some of the heat flowing towards the divertor — a part of the machine that collects heat and particles as they escape from the plasma before they hit the stellarator wall or degrade the plasma's performance.

PPPL physicists simulate innovative method for starting up tokamaks without using a solenoid

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have produced self-consistent computer simulations that capture the evolution of an electric current inside fusion plasma without using a central electromagnet, or solenoid. The simulations of the process, known as non-inductive current ramp-up, were performed using TRANSP, the gold-standard code developed at PPPL. The results were published in October 2015 in Nuclear Fusion. The research was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

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