Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Z Machine could be the answer to the world's energy shortage

The Z Machine could be the answer to the world's energy shortage, a device that once sparked with a relatively small electrical input can produce 290 terawatts of power. That's equivalent to 80 times the world's total power output. Today that power can only be released in a pulse lasting 70 billionths of a second... but it's a start

Based at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, it is used to research thermonuclear reactions - for example, what happens at the heart of a hydrogen bomb detonation. Now it has a more productive application: finding a way to fuse heavy water atoms to create fusion power. Fusion is the Holy Grail of the power industry: cheap, clean, safe and unlimited. The downside is, with current technology, the reaction is difficult to control.

When the machine fires, 36 cables - each as thick as a horse's torso - spark simultaneously. The cables fire a pulse of 50 trillion watts into a target the size of a cotton reel. Inside the target is a can filled with wires finer than a human hair. The wires vaporise, creating temperatures as high as 3.5 billion degrees C, the highest ever created by man and an X-ray pulse in excess of 290 terawatts

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> posted by Trevor Hammack at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please don't vaporize the world. Wow. Is that like the Arc reactor in Ironman?

January 17, 2010 at 3:31 PM  

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