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Nuclear Fusion and the Hydrogen Economy

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Nuclear Fusion holds the promise of environmentally benign, safe and secure electricity generation for the late twenty-first century. Research towards this goal has been underway for fifty years and the goal of commercial electricity generation still lies at least forty years away. Dr Nuttall’s presentation extends a suggestion first advanced by General Atomics of San Diego, California that the first commercial use of fusion energy might not be for electricity, but rather to produce hydrogen as an energy carrier in a future transport economy. Together with colleagues Dr Nuttall has developed an outline concept known as “Fusion Island” from which the hydrogen produced is not only a commercial replacement for petroleum-based vehicle fuels but also, as liquid hydrogen in the 15k-20K, range could be a cryogenic coolant for new superconducting coils. Such coils could make possible fusion reactors in most respects simpler and easier to operate commercially than those currently proposed for electricity generation. Dr Nuttall will describe the Fusion Island proposal and recent developments in the project. The Fusion Island concept won a runners’-up Innovation Award in 2006 from the East of England Energy Group.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Student Pugwash Society Talks series.

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