Wendelstein 7-X: Ultimate nuclear fusion game-changer

Wendelstein 7-X: Ultimate nuclear fusion game-changer

The one machine that promises to change the world is finally here!

A team of German researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics were able to produce plasma using the Wendelstein 7-X machine, W7-X, a revolutionary nuclear-fusion generator.

Photo credit: Ipp.mpg.de

Photo credit: Ipp.mpg.de

It took the institute $1.1 billion and a blistering 1.1 million construction hours to fully build the W7-X, the largest and most sophisticated stellarator of its kind.

After superheating helium in the donut-shaped reactor, the engineers use superconducting magnets to control the ionized plasma.

This scientific breakthrough that not only requires massive amounts of energy but is also crucial to nuclear fusion could play an essential role in developing cleaner and cheaper energy sources.

According to the Max Planck Institute’s website, scientific preparations for the W7-X fusion device began in 1980 but the main assembly was concluded 34 years later, in 2014. And on Dec. 10, 2015, the institute tweeted a picture of the machine’s first ever produced plasma.

“A great deal of theory and computation effort was invested to optimise the magnetic field for Wendelstein 7-X, so as to overcome the disadvantages of previous classical stellarators,” the institute’s official website reads.

If it succeeds, the monster machine promises to be a game-changer for the nuclear fusion community.

Cover photo credit: Ipp.mpg.de

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