Scandinavia’s only fusion reactor is in a basement at DTU
The technical university of Denmark is taking the practical part very hardcore. Remember in science class when the teacher made different experiments and let you take part in them? Yeah, me neither. Maybe that’s why so many people don’t get, why is science needed. DTU’s students will definitely have a better experience because they literally have a fucking fusion mini-reactor. Legit.
This mini-reactor can produce temperatures between a million and two million degrees. So basically you have a mini sun in your uni and the best part is, that you can participate in the experiments and researches. You just need to get in the basement below the Technical University of Denmark, where DTU physics has installed the mini-reactor.
The guys from DTU don’t know yet how hot the gaseous plasma inside the reactor gets. The senior scientist Stefan Kragh Nielsen says they haven’t installed a thermometer and they are working on that. They plan a student project for September, where the temperature will be measured. Stefan is also the project manager of the fusion reactor.
The machine is one of a kind in Scandinavia. Its principle is similar to that used in billions of expensive research facilities around Europe and the rest of the world. In large machines, temperatures can reach hundreds of millions of degrees. Or ten times hotter than the center of the sun. But the budgets are also completely different.
For instance, the Iter (international fusion reactor) will cost over $ 200 billion to build. By comparison, the cost of DTU’s experimental reactor is “only” $10 million and the university has been allowed to borrow it from the English manufacturer Tokamak Energy.
Stefan says they are very far from the large plants. But it’s great to have it. It enables a lot of studies that usually they don’t have access to on the big machines. While here they can just go down to the basement immediately when having an idea and can test it in a day or two.
He says that we owe it to our descendants to find a solution. The purpose of both large and small machines is to release energy in the long term by fusing atoms.
If the research isn’t done now then our descendants won’t have the opportunity to build fusion power plants. And I see it as a moral responsibility that we make it possible for the future generations says Bang Korsholm, a senior researcher.
The machine at DTU is far from that goal. Basically, it uses a lot of energy without producing anything.
It’s not only about making physics fun and interesting. It is also about duty and morality.
Korsholm believes it is realistic to build a demonstration power plant in the 2050s. In the meantime, there are some side gains. It’s not that the results will be seen only in 2050. This machine can give very powerful breakthroughs in many aspects of physics and all along the way. Many companies can develop their skills by pushing technology to the limit of what had been achieved in the past.
DTU’s agreement to borrow the tokamak reactor has been upheld by Professor Volker Naulin, who himself has played a leading role in European fusion researches. One of the aims is to give DTU students a chance to try their off their skills on one of the greatest challenges in science.
” It gives a different experience when you have turned it on and developed the understanding of the whole machine. It gives a lot of motivation and motivation to the students”, says Volker.
Volker is an inexorable optimist in achieving the goal of being able to build fusion power plants where energy comes out.” Then comes the next difficult question: Whether you can use it as a source for our energy supply system. It’s also a matter of price and whether you can build enough of the fusion machines on the ground at all”, says Volker Naulin.
But before those issues become relevant, the fusion researchers need to get a lot of shit together and deliver results.
“There will be a lot of development. But by the time we have fusion energy, it will be a complete revolution just like the first plane” says Volker Naulin.