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The race is on to find new, sustainable electricity sources for a growing population.

Future energy supply options may include fossil fuels, nuclear fission and renewables. However, fusion could provide a significant new long-term source of low-carbon electricity from the second half of this century onwards.

Fusion offers a secure and abundant source of supply for many thousands of years, with important additional advantages. These include: no production of greenhouse gases from the fusion process; less long-lived radioactive waste than nuclear fission and inherent safety features.

Once commercialised, fusion will have a key role to play in the energy market of the future.

By 2050, the planet could be using twice as much electricity compared to today. More people (an increase from seven billion to nine billion) and better living standards will lead to a big rise in energy consumption.

Energy use illustration

World Energy Outlook 2018 – International Energy Agency

No single technology will fulfil this demand. Each has strengths and weaknesses, and a range of power sources will be needed to meet the challenges of energy security, sustainable development and environmental protection.

Oil illustration

Today, more than 80% of the developed world’s energy comes from fossil fuels. Climate change and diminishing fuel reserves mean that reliance on coal, gas and oil must be severely constrained in future decades.

Nuclear fission illustration

Nuclear fission will continue to make a major contribution to electricity generation but its growth may be limited by supply of uranium and issues of public and political acceptability.

Renewable energy illustration

Supplies from renewable sources are reliant on environmental conditions and are transient in nature. To smooth supply, particularly seasonal variations, they are subject to the major technology challenges of large-scale energy storage.

Fusion illustration

To provide constant ‘baseload’ electricity and reduce the need for energy storage, predictable, non-varying sources of energy are needed. This currently means a reliance on fossil fuels and fission, with the addition of fusion power as soon as it becomes available.

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