What is fusion energy?

Fusion energy has great potential to deliver safe, sustainable, low-carbon energy for generations to come. It is the ultimate energy source.

UKAEA engineers working on the MAST Upgrade fusion machine

Based on the same processes that power the sun and stars, fusion promises a near-limitless green electricity source for the long term, using small amounts of fuel that can be sourced worldwide from inexpensive materials. It releases nearly four million times more energy than burning coal, oil or gas. 

Here’s what the fusion energy experiments at UKAEA involve: 

  • Two hydrogen gases, deuterium and tritium, are heated to 150 million degrees Celsius in a doughnut-shaped container, called a tokamak, to create a plasma 
  • The atoms fuse together to create helium and release huge amounts of energy 
  • In a future power station, that energy will be used to heat water into steam to turn into electricity

Find out more about our fusion facilities.

Image of the Sun
Fusion: the ultimate energy source

As pressures mount to address the effects of climate change through decarbonising energy production, UKAEA’s experiments are crucial steps forward on fusion’s pathway as an effective means of tackling the global energy crisis.

Fusion will be a critical piece of the future energy puzzle. It has the potential to provide baseload power, complementing many countries’ energy portfolios. As part of a low carbon energy mix alongside other renewables, it will help us sustain net zero in the second half of the century.

The world needs fusion energy.

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