One of the biggest problems facing the world today is the issue of energy. Finding a renewable energy source that doesn't destroy that planet is a complex task that has puzzled many countries for many years.
However, China may have come up with a solution. Chinese scientists are working on harvesting the energy of the Sun, but not in the traditional sense of solar energy, rather fusion energy. The “artificial sun” which has been developed is actually a nuclear fusion device which is believed to be the future of clean energy.
On Tuesday, China announced the completion of its reactor device and stated that they expect it to become operational as soon as 2020. The actual name of China’s artificial sun is HL-2M, which doesn't make it sound all that special. The reactor is located in Leshan, Sichuan province, where it was built to research fusion technology by the China National Nuclear Corporation and the Southwestern Institute of Physics. In reality, its become so much more and is potentially the future of the world's energy.
This is essentially a giant nuclear fusion device, which basically forces atoms together, which releases heat, which can then be harvested for energy. While the device is being referred to as an artificial sun, it can actually reach temperatures 13 times hotter than the real star. The HL-2M will be able to reach 200 million degrees Celsius (360 million degrees Fahrenheit, compared to just 15 million degrees Celsius (27 million degrees Fahrenheit) at the core of the sun. The resulting energy is not only cheaper, but also a lot cleaner than current nuclear options meaning the Earth wouldn't get damaged from it.
That said, it's not as straight-forward as it seems. There are of course a number of issues when dealing with such high temperatures - the main one being that they're difficult to achieve. Completing reactions like this can be complicated and need to be done correctly so that they don't go wrong. The consequences could be dire. Therefore there are a number of issues that need to be worked out before this sun can be put to work.
While it's not yet functional, it will be soon, and the artificial sun could possibly revolutionize the world's energy sources and the way we use it.