Fusing the energy of the sun and start-ups is the topic of this podcast, where we find out how Tokamak Energy is planning to recreate the power of the sun... on a business park in Oxfordshire, and thus deliver almost limitless renewable energy.
Physicist and communications consultant at Tokamak Energy, and polar explorer and conqueror of Everest, Dr Melanie Windridge, explains how nuclear fusion is not science fiction, but an energy source that will be clean, green and safe.
Fusion energy has famously always been 30 years away from commercial utilisation, starting from the first international agreement to build a fusion reactor by the leaders of the USA and USSR, Reagan and Gorbachev, in 1985. There is still no clarity on when this massive global initiative will start producing energy commercially.
Tokamak Energy, which started in 2009, is developing a small scale fusion reactor, which recently reached a temperature hotter than the centre of the Sun, 15 million degrees, and they plan to be producing industrial scale energy by 2025.
Melanie who has a PhD in Plasma Physics from Imperial College London shares the history of fusion energy from the development of the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) and the JET (Joint European Thorus) to the current race for fusion energy which is now being led by start-ups around the world.
Highlights of this episode:
Tokamak Energy: https://www.tokamakenergy.co.uk/
Recent news release: https://www.tokamakenergy.co.uk/hotter-than-the-centre-of-the-sun-uk-prototype-reaches-15-million-degrees-paving-the-way-for-commercial-fusion-energy/
Melanie Windridge’s personal website: http://melaniewindridge.co.uk/
Melanie’s book - Aurora: In search of the Nothern Lights: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28014506-aurora
Nuclear Fusion as a renewable resource: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_proposed_as_renewable_energy#Fusion_fuel_supply
[0:50] What is nuclear fusion?
[5:00] Why is nuclear fusion energy always still 30 years away?
[10:00] Tokamak Energy
[13:00] A worldwide collaboration to create ITER big meeting between Reagan and Gorbachev
[15:00] 3 things that affects output of fusion energy
[17:00] Magnetic technology has moved on
[19:00] Pivoting to making power stations with small tokamaks
[20:40] Milestones to commercialise Tokamak Energy
[23:00] Science is difficult to predict
[26:00] Climate change is happening
[29:00] Other types of fusion energy
[32:00] Criticism of fusion energy
[34:00] Background of Melanie Windridge
[37:00] Polar exploration and climbing Everest
[39:00] Being a woman in science
In addition to helping clients communicate, connect and change, I love highlighting stories from the front line of inspiring sustainability.