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
Abraham Cambridge, CEO and Founder of The Sun Exchange talks about how they are bypassing the disinterest of governments and banks in solar energy, while combining the best decentralised technology and financing model to create game changing impact.
The Sun Exchange’s vision is enable Africa to leapfrog into a new clean energy future using a blockchain enabled crowdfunding platform. Their solution enables anyone, anywhere in the world, to buy and lease solar assets to power villages starting in South Africa.
Abe talks about how solar energy is the most distributed and democratic source of energy and why the openness and transparency is key to making their platform work. Abe also shared on how a change in market conditions and his experience running a solar installation cooperative in Cornwall, UK lead to the founding of The Sun Exchange.
Connect with Abraham Cambridge on linkedin.
Christine Lins of REN21 talks Trump, record-breaking year, baseload myths and going 100% renewable
Just prior to the launch of their Renewables 2017 Global Status Report, which found there was a record of 161 GW added to global power capacity, for 23% less investment, I talked with Christine Lins, the Executive Secretary of REN21, which is based at the UNEP.
In this fascinating conversation, Christine and I discussed Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, and why it may aid global action on climate change, baseload myths, fossil fuel divestment and how policy makers and innovative small businesses can help drive the renewable revolution.
REN21 was created in 2004 as a ‘Coalition of the Willing’: all those in the private and the public sector that are keen on advancing renewable energy. Their members span from national governments to different international institutions such as the UN, European Commission, World Bank, industry associations, NGOs and actors in the field of science and academia.
Karl & Tom of Clean Energy UK talk Al Gore, COP21, renewable revolution and the big clean switch
On this podcast I’m joined by Tom Old and Karl Walker who are both directors of Clean Energy UK, which is a leading light in the renewables revolution, helping businesses switch to 100% clean supply.
They share their adventures in sustainability, with Al Gore being their matchmaker, and then taking us through their visit to COP21 and onto founding Clean Energy UK together in addition to being involved with The Big Clean Switch and the Carbon Free Group. On the way we discuss the learnings from An Inconvenient Truth and how they are looking towards the exponential growth of climate solutions.
In addition to helping clients communicate, connect and change, I love highlighting stories from the front line of inspiring sustainability.