COP 26: Wind and nuclear fusion to fight climate change

COP 26: Wind and nuclear fusion to fight climate change

Researchers studying nuclear fusion are trying to domesticate and harness the energy source of stars. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

Wind power and nuclear fusion are two promising avenues to reduce the planet’s dependence on fossil fuels and tackle climate change, it was assured on Thursday at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

When completed on the east coast of the UK, the Dogger Banks wind farm will be the largest floating wind farm in the world and will be able to supply electricity to around six million UK homes.

Laboratories around the world, including at least one in Canada, have made significant progress in recent years in the dominance of nuclear fusion, which many see as the holy grail and clean energy.

dog bank

The Dogger Bank wind farm is developed in three phases, each with a capacity of 1.2 GW. In the longer term, in 2026, the Dogger Bank will be able to generate 3.6 GW of electricity per year, which would correspond to about six million households in the United Kingdom (i.e. the whole of Scotland), or 6 percent of the electricity needs. country’s energy needs.

The three phases have been developed between 125 and 290 kilometers off the coast of Yorkshire and will cover an area of ​​just 8,600 square kilometres.

The setting up of an offshore wind farm in an environment described so far as “hostile” requires a number of technological innovations.

Dogger Bank uses the Haliade-X turbine developed by General Electric. Each blade is 107 metres, about the length of a football field, for a total rotor width of 220 metres. A single rotation generates enough electricity to power a UK home for two days, and a single turbine can power 16,000 UK homes for a year – ie 9,000 vehicles off the road.

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These turbines will produce twice as much energy as the most powerful turbines that can be installed on land.

A GE executive at COP26 indicated that the components of these turbines are almost completely reusable. It is also anticipated that Dogger Bank may attract workers who currently work in polluting sectors such as hydrocarbons, and whose skills will be project-friendly.

atom fusion

Researchers studying nuclear fusion are trying to domesticate and harness the energy source of stars. If successful, nuclear fusion promises abundant, renewable and clean energy.

However, the technical challenges remain enormous. Asian, European and North American laboratories have made great strides in recent years, and a Chinese researcher said at COP26 that he believes nuclear fusion may have become domesticated during his lifetime.

In Canada, British Columbia-based firm General Fusion aims to provide the planet with clean energy derived from nuclear fusion by 2030, said their owner, Christopher Mowry, in a pre-recorded presentation.

“Fusion is the most powerful source of energy in the universe,” he said. The merger will provide all societies with a practical and cost-effective solution to the (…) challenge of decarbonizing the energy system that powers everything we do and everything we use.

General Fusion uses a different technology from its competitors to master fusion, the details of which are incomprehensible to neophytes. However, the company claims to be able to “briefly” reproduce the temperature and pressure found in the heart of the Sun.

This energy can be used to generate steam and produce clean electricity. The company is now building a factory near London to demonstrate the benefits of its technology.

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“We have the ambition to demonstrate that fusion is a vaccine for climate change,” Lowry said.

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