Could the Sun hold the key to a future of clean energy?
Since the 1950s, scientists have attempted to harness nuclear fusion – the process that creates the Sun's energy – to generate near-limitless amounts of electricity.
But the fact that we still have no fusion power plants is testament to the complexities of the challenge. Now, the deepening climate crisis means that researchers around the world are in a race to create a mini-Sun here on Earth. The glittering prize is an energy source that emits no greenhouse gases and could solve energy equity and supply issues at a stroke.
Sharon Ann Holgate, a former Young Professional Physicist of the Year, tells the compelling story of the ongoing scientific quest for a revolutionary new era of green energy production.
Sharon Ann Holgate is a freelance science writer and broadcaster. She has written for Science and New Scientist and was co-author of The Way Science Works, shortlisted for the 2003 Junior Prize in the Aventis Prizes for Science Books.
"If we are to prevent a climate catastrophe and provide a "civilised" standard of living for the population of our planet, renewable energy will not be sufficient to replace fossil fuels. The contribution of clean, safe nuclear fusion power is essential. But what is nuclear fusion? In clear and accessible language, this book explains the basics and the hope for the future. A valuable addition to the Hot Science series."
"Creating a miniature star here on earth must surely rank as the greatest challenge yet for humanity. A working fusion reactor may still be a couple of decades away, but the journey to get us this far is a fascinating one. Holgate guides us expertly and with a deft touch along the journey towards the holy grail of unlimited energy for all. If you enjoy geeking out on giant machines that can heat a gas up to five times the temperature of the Sun's core or 200 lasers so large they have to be housed in a ten-storey building and yet still be focussed onto a something the size of a peppercorn, then you'll love this book."
– Jim Al-Khalili