Renewable Energy: yes, but... The promise of nuclear fusion for our future energy supply

Energy physics fusion renewable energy sources

07 March 2023 13h00-14h00

by dr. Jef ONGENA & Lt. Kol. Maarten VERGOTE

The consequences of the massive expansion of solar and wind energy for electricity generation are illustrated based on results from the German Energiewende of the past 5 years. The large variability in production leads to periods of both massive overproduction and important shortages of renewable electricity. To compensate for this, storage and backup systems are needed that can absorb the surpluses at any time and compensate for the shortages to guarantee Security-of-Supply. A backup system is necessarily nuclear or fossil and both are currently under discussion. Developing a storage system necessary for a 100% renewable electricity system is also not easy with the current state of technology and science. We therefore need to develop additional technologies for the generation of electricity (and energy in general) in an environmentally friendly way. One promising option is nuclear fusion, a technology in full development. The Laboratory for Plasma Physics of the RMA enjoys international recognition in the nuclear fusion research field.

In the context of the research on controlled nuclear fusion, the Physics Department of the RMA regularly monitors the evolution of electricity generation. In this webinar, the researchers involved describe the current state of affairs of this issue in the European context, and give a brief overview of the expectations in nuclear fusion research.

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