A key hurdle facing fusion devices called stellarators — twisty facilities that seek to harness on Earth the fusion reactions that power the sun and stars — has been their limited ability to maintain the heat and performance of the plasma that fuels those reactions. Now collaborative research by scientists at the U.S.
Ten advances that highlight the Laboratory's wide-ranging achievements over the past 10 years.
What does the future hold for the development of fusion energy as a safe, clean and virtually limitless source of power to generate electricity? To find out, the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment at Princeton University spoke with Steve Cowley, director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University professor of astrophysical sciences, and Egemen Kolemen, a PPPL physicist and assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the Andlinger Center.
The American Physical Society (APS) has recognized a summer intern at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) for producing an outstanding research poster at the world-wide APS Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) gathering last October. The student, Marco Miller, a senior at Columbia University majoring in applied physics, used machine learning to accelerate a leading PPPL computer code known as XGC as a participant in the DOE’s Summer Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program in 2019.
Turbulence — the unruly swirling of fluid and air that mixes coffee and cream and can rattle airplanes in flight — causes heat loss that weakens efforts to reproduce on Earth the fusion that powers the sun and stars. Now scientists have modeled a key source of the turbulence found in a fusion experiment at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), paving the way for improving similar experiments to capture and control fusion energy.
State of the art simulations
Researchers led by C.S. Chang of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have been awarded major supercomputer time to address key issues for ITER, the international experiment under construction in France to demonstrate the practicality of fusion energy. The award, from the DOE’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program, renews the third and final year of the team’s supercomputer allocation for the current round.
Among the largest awards
Scientists often make progress by coming up with new ways to look at old problems. That has happened at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), where physicists have used a simple insight to capture the complex effects of many high-frequency waves in a fusion plasma. These waves can force hot particles to escape from a fusion reactor, potentially impairing fusion energy production and damaging the reactor walls.
Arms control robots and accelerating the drive to bring fusion energy to Earth are among achievements that made 2019 another remarkable PPPL year.
A major issue with operating ring-shaped fusion facilities known as tokamaks is keeping the plasma that fuels fusion reactions free of impurities that could reduce the efficiency of the reactions. Now, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have found that sprinkling a type of powder into the plasma could aid in harnessing the ultra-hot gas within a tokamak facility to produce heat to create electricity without producing greenhouse gases or long-term radioactive waste.
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