Fusion power is possible in next decade, former US energy chief says

Fusion power plants could supply a limitless amount of carbon-free power. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK – Fusion power plants are possible on the electricity grid within the next decade, a potential game changer that could supply a limitless amount of carbon-free power, former US energy secretary Ernest Moniz said on Thursday. 

“I believe that in this decade, we will demonstrate the science through multiple technologies that can accomplish fusion,” Mr Moniz, who led the Energy Department under former president Barack Obama, said on Bloomberg Television.

“We still have a ways to go to make a commercial power plant, but the prize is incredible.” 

His comments come after the Department of Energy announced on Tuesday that scientists at a laboratory in California managed for the first time to generate more energy from a fusion reaction than they needed to trigger it.

The milestone raises the prospect that some day – perhaps decades from now – the global economy will be run on carbon-free electricity generated by the very process that powers the sun.

President Joe Biden has set a goal of achieving a commercial fusion reactor within a decade, though others, including the director of the Energy Department laboratory where the experiment took place, have said that time frame could be overly optimistic. 

Mr Moniz, who serves on the board of fusion-power developer TAE Technologies, said private companies have attracted as much as US$5 billion (S$6.8 billion) in private capital to explore fusion technologies. BLOOMBERG

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