The world’s largest nuclear fusion machine has been constructed in Germany which is posed to revolutionise the world of energy.
The machine, called the Stellarator W7-X, took the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics around 1.1 million hours to construct. The team hope to fire it up in the next few weeks.
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Known in the plasma physics community as the “black horse” of nuclear fusion reactors, stellarators are notoriously difficult to build. The GIF below shows the different layers of W7-X, which took 19 years to complete:
Between 2003 and 2007, as the project was being built, it suffered some major construction set backs — including one of its contracted manufacturers going out of business — that nearly canceled the whole endeavor.
Only a handful of stellarators have ever been attempted, and even fewer have been completed.
By comparison, the more popular cousin to the stellarator, called a tokamak, is in wider use. There are over 3 dozen operational tokamaks across the globe, and more than 200 built throughout history. These machines are easier to construct and, in the past, have proven to do the job of a nuclear reactor better than the stellarator.
But tokamaks have a major flaw that W7-X is reportedly immune to, suggesting that Germany’s latest monster machine could be a game-changer.