Home » Scientists say they can use artificial intelligence to solve a key problem in the search for almost unlimited clean energy

Scientists say they can use artificial intelligence to solve a key problem in the search for almost unlimited clean energy

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Scientists say they can use artificial intelligence to solve a key problem in the search for almost unlimited clean energy

Scientists Use Artificial Intelligence to Overcome Fusion Energy Challenge

In a groundbreaking development, scientists have found a way to use artificial intelligence (AI) to overcome one of the most significant challenges in the field of fusion energy. Nuclear fusion has long been regarded as a potential solution to the climate crisis, offering a nearly unlimited source of clean energy. However, achieving and maintaining fusion energy has proven to be a challenging task, with experts facing numerous obstacles.

One of the most common methods to achieve fusion energy is through the use of hydrogen as the input fuel and raising temperatures to extremely high levels in a donut-shaped machine known as a tokamak. However, despite these efforts, plasma, which is created as a result, has proven to be unstable and susceptible to tearing and escaping the machine’s powerful magnetic fields designed to contain it.

In a recent report published in the journal Nature, researchers from Princeton University and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory revealed their success in using AI to predict potential plasma instabilities and prevent them from occurring in real time. Conducting experiments at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, the team found that their AI controller could predict potential plasma tears up to 300 milliseconds in advance, preventing the fusion reaction from ending suddenly.

According to a Princeton spokesperson, the experiments lay the foundation for using AI to resolve a wide range of plasma instabilities that have long hampered fusion energy. Egemen Kolemen, a professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University and one of the authors of the study, hailed the results as a significant step forward for nuclear fusion. He emphasized the importance of developing solutions to prevent interruptions and instabilities to ensure continuous operation of fusion reactors.

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Fusion energy is the process that powers the Sun and other stars, and efforts to master it on Earth have been ongoing for decades. Earlier this month, a team near the English city of Oxford set a new nuclear fusion energy record, sustaining 69 megajoules of fusion energy for five seconds using a minuscule amount of fuel. However, challenges remain, as the process currently consumes more energy than it generates.

Despite the promising advances, commercial availability of fusion energy is still a distant prospect, requiring sustained reductions in planet-warming pollution. Scientists emphasize the urgency of reducing pollution in the coming decade to address the impacts of the climate crisis. This latest breakthrough in using AI to overcome fusion energy challenges marks a significant step toward the realization of fusion energy as a viable and sustainable source of clean energy.

– CNN’s Rachel Ramirez contributed to this report.

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