FT: Die Kernfusion wird kom­men und ist die Lösung

Während deutsche Politiker wissen, dass die Zukunft in Windrädern und Solarzellen gepaart mit “Flexibilisierung” und vor allem Senkung des Verbrauchs liegt, orientiert sich der Rest der Welt – offensichtlich schlecht informiert – an anderen Technologien, die viel teurer sind und völlig unnötig. Heute als Beispiel die FINANCIAL TIMES (FT), die sich gleich zweimal mit einer dieser überflüssigen Technologien, der Kernfusion, beschäftigt hat. Die Kernaussagen:

  • “Nuclear fusion works. If you doubt that fact, look at the sun. As hydrogen atoms are compressed they fuse together to create helium, releasing colossal amounts of energy. For decades, the dream on Earth has been to replicate that process, creating the ultimate, carbon-free energy source from water and a little lithium.” – bto: Aus der Tatsache, dass es bisher nicht gelungen ist, wird geschlossen, dass es so bleibt. Das denke ich aber nicht.
  • “The trouble is that fusion is ‘really, really hard’ to do (…). Without the sun’s enormous gravitational force, nuclear reactor fuel has to be heated to 150m degrees Celsius (about 10 times as hot as the sun’s core) to overcome repulsion between charged particles. To prevent that superheated plasma from melting the reactor, it needs to be suspended by giant magnets. And that experiment is only ever worth running if it generates more energy than it consumes. Even if the technology can be proven at commercial scale, building enough fusion reactors — and quickly enough to make a difference to global warming — will require enormous sums.” – bto: Das ist ein weiterer Grund, der für die Windkraft spricht. Leichter zu machen und es gibt sie schon. Also lassen wir das doch.
  • Astonishingly, given the awe-inspiring nature of those challenges, scientists, governments and investors are growing increasingly excited that fusion reactors may begin powering our electricity grids as early as the next decade.” – bto: Das darf doch nicht sein. Sollte es wirklich dann, wenn wir uns mit Erneuerbaren selbst versorgen können und unseren Verbrauch entsprechend drastisch gesenkt haben, plötzlich Energie im Überfluss geben?
  • “The first phase of ITER, a vast $20bn experimental fusion reactor being built by a multinational government consortium in France, is due to become operational in 2025. At least 35 private fusion companies have also been launched, raising more than $2.3bn of funding, according to the Fusion Industry Association. (…) Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a sustainable energy investment fund founded by former Microsoft boss Bill Gates, argues that recent technological advances mean fusion has ceased to be a theoretical scientific experiment and is rapidly becoming a practical commercial challenge.” – bto: Spätestens jetzt wissen wir, dass das nicht sein kann. Denn mit Bill Gates …
  • “One of the fusion companies backed by Breakthrough Energy Ventures is Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a Boston-based start-up spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that has raised $250m. In September, it announced that demonstrations of its high temperature superconducting electromagnet had opened the way to net power output. The company has already broken ground on an experimental reactor, due for completion in 2025. And, if that proves successful, it plans to build a fully commercial power plant early in the next decade.Such reactors could be built on the same spot as existing power plants and plugged into the same grid.” – bto: Auch das noch. Es soll funktionieren und einfach in das vorhandene Netz passen. Das ist doch gut.
  • “Some would argue that such vast sums of money would be better spent on proven technologies, such as wind and solar. The counterargument is that given the scale of the challenge, we have to throw everything at the problem.” – bto: So ist es und vor allem, wenn privates Geld eingesetzt wird.

Und das wird es, wie der zweite Artikel der FT zeigt:

  • “(…) after a series of public and private sector breakthroughs in the past six months, some industry participants are far more hopeful. In China in May a machine known as East — the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak — managed to sustain a fusion reaction at 120m degrees Celsius for a record 101 seconds. Temperatures over 100m C generally required for magnetic confinement fusion had been attained before but never sustained for such a long time. Then in September a Boston-based start-up demonstrated the use of a high-temperature superconductor to generate a much stronger magnetic field than a traditional tokamak. The group, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, which grew out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believes the discovery will enable it to make a more efficient fusion machine that will be smaller, cheaper and more viable as a commercial source of power.” – bto: Und das MIT ist nicht irgendwer.
  • “The next step towards power production is the construction of a demonstration plant called Sparc, about half the size of a tennis court, which CFS hopes will achieve net energy by 2025 and then a commercial power station in the 2030s. ‘We’re using known science, with new engineering and new materials,’ says Francesca Ferrazza, a physicist at the Italian oil major Eni, which has collaborated with MIT since 2008 and is the largest outside investor in CFS.” – bto: Ich bin fest davon überzeugt, dass die Welt das Energieproblem wird lösen können – und nebenbei auch das Klimathema.
  • “Private participation in the sector is relatively new. In the second half of the 20th century fusion research was advanced by international public consortiums and the biggest projects in the world remain government-funded. (…) ‘None of the private fusion companies would be here today without the science that was developed in the ITER programme,’ says Christofer Mowry, chief executive of Canada’s General Fusion. ‘But the cost and timeline for ITER should not be used as a point of reference for what it takes to develop and commercialise fusion energy.’” – bto: richtig. Aus der Tatsache, dass es bisher so langsam vorangegangen ist, darf man nicht schließen, dass es so bleibt.
  • “In total, private fusion companies have raised $2.3bn in investment, according to the industry association. More than a fifth of that funding was raised just this month by Altman’s Helion, which uses yet another approach that it calls pulsed non-ignition fusion. It involves raising the temperature of the fuel to 100m C in a 40-foot-wide, six-foot-high dumbbell-shaped ‘plasma accelerator’ to capture the energy as the reaction expands and pushes back on the system’s magnetic field.” – bto: Natürlich kann ich das technisch nicht beurteilen, nur ist die Summe an privatem Kapital schon gigantisch.

Quelle: FT

  • “(…) progress is undoubtedly being made, including at the US government’s National Ignition Facility, where in August scientists used 192 lasers to generate a fusion reaction that appears to have come the closest yet to achieving net energy. ‘It was the biggest breakthrough in fusion for literally decades,’ says Turrell, adding that getting fusion energy on to the grid in 2030 is a ‘great ambition’. ‘But if they get there in 2040 instead that is still going to be a huge win for the world,’ he adds. ‘And even if they get there after 2050 and the world has [already] reached net zero that will still be a massive win for humanity because we need a portfolio of energy sources.’” – bto: was stimmt.
  • “At that stage, Turrell says, fusion could be used to power energy-intensive carbon capture systems enabling the world to begin to reverse, rather than slow, some of the environmental damage brought by climate change.” – bto: zum Beispiel.
  • Existing renewable energy sources, particularly wind and solar power, can be scaled up to replace fossil fuels but will struggle to also meet forecast increases in power demand owing to the electrification of the global energy system and rising energy consumption in developing countries (…) In 2050, the world will need 12 times more clean electricity than is produced today (…) Anything at all that we have which adds on top of the existing picture is a great thing (…) and we should be doing it at maximum speed.” – bto: So denkt der vernünftige Teil der Welt.

ft.com (Anmeldung erforderlich): „It is time to bet big on fusion energy”, 18. November 2021

ft.com (Anmeldung erforderlich): „Nuclear fusion: why the race to harness the power of the sun just sped up “, 24. November 2021