Ahmedabad: A Gujarat-based research institute has claimed to have made a breakthrough in confining plasma, the fourth state of matter, in a Steady State Super Conducting Tokamak (SST-1).
A Tokamak is a device that uses a magnetic field to confine plasma.
The invention by Institute of Plasma Research (IPR) will help in boosting energy generation, an official said. “We have got a breakthrough in confining plasma many times during our experiments. We have produced and confined the high temperature plasma from hydrogen with the help of superconducting magnets inside the machine (Tokamak),” IPR Director Dhiraj Bora told PTI.
It is similar to creating sun-like energy inside a laboratory, he said.
The plasma is confined and given heat inside ‘Steady State Super Conducting Tokamak (SST-1)'. The most important source of energy for our earth is the sun which is a perfect spherical ball of hot plasma, the fourth state of matter, with internal convective motion and generates a magnetic field like a dynamo process.
Similar to that, the scientists at IPR, located on the outskirts of the city, have conducted a fusion experiment with a device named Tokamak and got a breakthrough in confining plasma which gives a hope to create a sun-like energy in near future.
“A microwave current is passed to keep the plasma hot and to confine it inside a Tokamak. A current of the order of 70,000 amperes is passed and plasma is heated to 200 to 300 million degrees. In such process, plasma gets confined inside it (device) and through that heat energy can be generated,” Bora said.
“We would like to heat plasma further, then we will be able to confine it for longer period of time. This heat can be extracted in the form of energy and can be connected to turbines,” said Bora.
Confining plasma is necessary for creating such an environment to simulate conditions for fusion reactions, similar to which takes place inside the sun, he said. According to Bora, about 5,000 MW of thermal energy can be produced by using just 50 MW of electricity. The IPR has been running such experiments for around 25 years with the contribution from nearly 50 scientists.
The IPR is an autonomous physics research institute. It is involved in research in aspects of plasma science, including basic plasma physics, research on magnetically confined hot plasmas and plasma technologies for industrial applications.