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Companies, Universities Join 'Crusade' to Replace Fossil Fuels with Nuclear Fusion by 2030 in Canada

Feb 13, 2017 01:13 PM EST
Nuclear fusion
GREIFSWALD, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 03: The interior of the new Wendelstein 7-X nuclear fusion experimental device is seen during an initial hydrogen plasma test at the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Plasmaphysik (Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics, or IPP) on February 3, 2016 in Greifswald, Germany.
(Photo : Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Scientists are finally one step closer to harnessing massive amounts of clean energy via nuclear fusion. If all goes well, humans may not need fossil fuels as early as 2030.

To recall, nuclear fusion is a process that replicates the Sun's ability to generate energy. The Sun harness energy by fusing two hydrogen atoms to make helium -- the energy released is hypothetically replicable enough to be everlasting. If the theory behind nuclear fusion is correct, this means that humans can now harness energy from an "almost limitless source" without harmful effects to the environment.

Now, a team of Canadian scientists is hoping to take nuclear fusion into a larger scale by building a full-blown nuclear fusion device and plant by 2030 through a project called Fusion 2030, Science Alert reports. But in order to this, the team -- composed of students and organizations -- need the government's help to make this happen.

University of Alberta and University of Saskatchewan, two of the universities that are part of Fusion 2030, said that the project needs around $96 million -- a "minor investment," according to the group, considering the benefitial returns once the plant is built.

Given that we are still in an era where humans mainly depend on fossil fiels, there are reasonable doubts of nuclear fusion's efficiency. However, a Fusion 2030 report says how nuclear fusion is the best source of energy available because it has the best payback ratio with high amount of energy production while, at the same time, having extremely low carbon footprint.

Not only will it give cleaner energy, it can also be a platform for new learning. Michael Delage, the chief technology officer of General Fusion, told CBC News that the project opens up new opportunities for graduates, who have skills on the field, to contribute.

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