The world’s largest nuclear fusion machine has been constructed in Germany which is posed to revolutionise the world of energy.
The machine, called the Stellarator W7-X, took the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics around 1.1 million hours to construct. The team hope to fire it up in the next few weeks.
Known in the plasma physics community as the “black horse” of nuclear fusion reactors, stellarators are notoriously difficult to build. The GIF below shows the different layers of W7-X, which took 19 years to complete:
Between 2003 and 2007, as the project was being built, it suffered some major construction set backs — including one of its contracted manufacturers going out of business — that nearly canceled the whole endeavor.
Only a handful of stellarators have ever been attempted, and even fewer have been completed.
By comparison, the more popular cousin to the stellarator, called a tokamak, is in wider use. There are over 3 dozen operational tokamaks across the globe, and more than 200 built throughout history. These machines are easier to construct and, in the past, have proven to do the job of a nuclear reactor better than the stellarator.
But tokamaks have a major flaw that W7-X is reportedly immune to, suggesting that Germany’s latest monster machine could be a game-changer.