INERTIAL FUSION: OVERVIEW
Inertial Fusion is, along with magnetic confinement fusion, one of two extensively researched, credible, approaches to obtaining energy from nuclear fusion. Fusion has the potential to provide humankind with a safe, clean, green source of carbon-free baseload electricity; if realised it would complement intermittent wind and solar sources by filling supply gaps and providing the approximate doubling in generation capacity required to move away from fossil fuels. In contrast to nuclear fission, fusion is inherently safe, creates no long-lived radioactive waste, and is essentially limitless. The Inertial Fusion approach to energy generation is fundamentally different to other fusion approaches. This offers numerous potential technological advantages, and importantly, technological diversity in an area with huge commercial potential.
Inertial Fusion uses a ‘driver’ to induce an implosion which in turn creates density and temperature conditions exceeding those in the centre of the Sun. The fusion fuel’s own inertia confines it, holding it in place while it burns. A number of different driver technologies exist, including lasers and magnetic drivers, and numerous methods for achieving Inertial Fusion Ignition (fusion energy gain) are being investigated. The term Inertial Fusion encompasses all the inertially confined methodologies.
Click on the links below to find out more about the most extensively researched Inertial Fusion methods.