Department of Energy

How Does Fusion Energy Work?

July 29, 2016

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A plain building in Plainsboro, New Jersey houses a machine that can produce plasma -- superheated, charged gas -- hotter than the center of the sun. We’re talking 100 million degrees Fahrenheit...in a building...in New Jersey.

It’s the NSTX-U, the National Spherical Torus Experiment - Upgrade, America’s newest fusion energy machine, located at the Energy Department’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The scientists using this mind-boggling machine are attempting to create a star on Earth. If they’re successful, the world could benefit from virtually limitless carbon-free electricity fueled by the same energy source as the Sun: nuclear fusion.

Check out the infographic to learn about this futuristic energy source. You’ll find out how fusion reactions power the Sun, how researchers replicate them in the lab and what lies ahead for fusion energy.

A fusion power plant might sound like science fiction, but it could be a reality in the not-too-distant future. Take a look.