Federico Felici – “Nuclear fusion, the ultimate energy source”
Abundant and widely available fuel, no risk of meltdown and little radioactivity: nuclear fusion, the energy source of the stars, has been hailed for decades as *the* solution to the world’s energy needs. Unfortunately, after 50 years of research, we are still decades from building our first commercial fusion power plant. Still, progress is being made: the experimental ITER reactor, under construction in France, should generate fusion energy in the 2020s and the NIF facility, in California, is inches away from igniting a capsule of fusion fuel. But enormous challenges remain, as one would expect when trying to confine a plasma (hot gas) with temperatures above 150million degrees. We will learn about these challenges, hear about the fascinating history of the worldwide research efforts and get a glimpse of what remains to be done before the energy of the stars will become available in a power outlet near you.
Federico Felici designs control systems for experimental tokamak fusion reactors. He obtained a PhD in Plasma Physics from the École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne, Switzerland and an MSc. in Systems & Control Engineering at Delft University of Technology. He has hobbies, too!
In daily life, Gijs Mulders is an astronomer who researches the origins of planets. In his free time, he listens to excruciating music called heavy metal, collects music festival wristbands around his arms, and breaks his bones in moshpits.