Fusion Fuel: 7 Important Insights

Fusion is a process of binding two nuclei together. In this article, we are concerned with the study of fusion fuel with detailed facts.

Fusion fuel is a radioactive element that is capable to fuse and produce large potential energy. The fusion fuel uses solar radiation and an electrolyzer. Fusion fuel can be deuterium, tritium, hydrogen, lithium, etc, which are lighter elements and environmentally friendly sources of energy.

Fuel is essential to start the fusion reactor and escalate the fusion reaction. We shall further discuss fusion fuel in detail and also talk about the fusion reactor fuel utility and availability. We shall also ponder on the fusion reactor fuel cycle and discuss how much fuel the fusion reactor uses.

Fusion Reactor Fuel Availability

Most of the fuels are derived from the Earth’s crust, from solar and chemical resources. Let us discuss the availability of a fusion reactor.

The fusion reactor fuel is available in ocean water. Ocean water is a source of deuterium fuel which is an isotope of hydrogen and lithium can also be extracted from the ocean water.  The ocean water is a source of many radioactive elements, isotopes, and fusion matter along with minerals, oils, and fossil fuels.

Fusion Reactor Fuel Cycle

The fusion reactor fuel undergoes a few cycles to generate the energy and produce its byproducts after a complete cycle. The following are the cycles of the fusion reactor fuel.

  • Tritium is extracted from the He and used for fusion.
  • The heat is supplied to the fusion cell to raise the temperature to about a million Kelvin.
  • Tritium is contracted to form heavier particles.
  • Fusion reactor fuel isotopes are purified from the N, C, and O2 compounds.
  • Tritium fuel with a few H and He is left over.

How do you fuel a fusion reactor?

To fuel a fusion reactor, light particles have to be used that can fuse easily. Let us discuss how to fuel a fusion reactor in detail.

The fusion reactor is fueled by using 50% of deuterium along with 50 % of tritium. Deuterium and tritium are isotopes of hydrogen elements and can be fused easily at high-temperature. Thus, nuclear fusion and heat are much essential to fuel a fusion reactor. The neutron produced reacts with Li.

How much fuel does a fusion reactor use?

The fuel used in a fusion reactor is based on the demand for the total energy to be obtained from the fusion reactor. Let us discuss how much fuel can be used in a fusion reactor.

Normally, the tones of fuel are used in a fusion reactor depending on the number of fuel rods inserted in the reactor. One single fusion reaction releases 12.86 MeV of energy and thus a less quantity of fuel can generate a huge amount of energy.

Can nuclear fusion be used as fuel?

Nuclear fusion generates an enormous amount of energy. Let us understand whether this energy can be used as fuel for some other process or not.

Nuclear fusion is used as a fuel for the production of thermal, mechanical, steam, and electrical energy. Fusion fuel is the storage of potential energy and it can be converted into another form. The commercial electric supply can be through the fusion reactor. It produces huge energy as compared to nuclear plants.

fusion reactor
Image credit: Fusion reactor by Evan Mason (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Fusion Reactor Fuel Temperature

Fusion requires a huge temperature and pressure for two atoms to fuse. Let us illuminate the temperature of the fusion reactor fuel in detail.

The fusion reactor fuel temperature is about 100 million degrees to fuse two particles and give away huge energy and heat. Thus, the fusion reactor cells are placed in a cooling bath to terminate the fusion reaction and it takes years for the cells to cool down and stop the further fusion reaction.

How is fusion fuel heated?

Heat is an essential supply of energy for the fusion reactor to carry out the fusion reaction and generate energy. Here is the list of steps applicable to heat the fusion fuel.

  • The x-ray laser is used to heat the outer surface of the fuel capsule.
  • The heated outer surface induces inward force leading to the compression of fuel.
  • The compression leads to the rise in temperature and density of the fuel.                                                                       
  • At high temperatures, the fuel ignites and burns to produce fusion energy.


We can conclude with this article that fusion fuel is a fuel required to conduct the fusion reaction and the energy generated through fusion fuel and its byproducts can be a fuel for commercial uses. The mixture of tritium and deuterium is used in the fusion reactor for easy fusion.

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