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Startups bring a new attitude to the energy quest — will it be enough? The lab where a company called General Fusion is trying to spark an energy revolution looks like a cross between a hardware store and a mad scientist’s lair. Bins full of electrical gadgets are piled high against the walls. Capacitors recycled from a bygone experiment are stacked up like bottles in wine racks. Ten-foot-high contraptions bristle with tangled wires and shiny plumbing.

On a sprawling campus in southern France, a revolutionary kind of power plant is steadily rising from the ground. Scientists and engineers from dozens of countries are building a facility that will eliminate all the negatives of today’s power supplies -- greenhouse gas emissions, toxic air pollution, radioactive meltdowns -- while still providing massive amounts of electricity around the clock. At least, that’s the goal.

Sharing Science Radio is one of the ventures by the members of UBC Sharing Science, a group of students dedicated to making science interesting and accessible to all members of the community. Sharing Science toured General Fusion and spoke with Michael Delage, General Fusion's VP Strategy and Corporate Development, on the differences between nuclear fusion and nuclear fission, why General Fusion has built a huge metal everlasting gobstopper (or at least what looks like one), and how to tame plasma with a temperature of 150 million degrees C.

After decades of slow progress and massive investment, some fusion power researchers are changing tactics You can accuse fusion power advocates of being overly optimistic but never of thinking small. Fusion occurs when two elements combine, or “fuse,” together to form a new, third element, converting matter to energy. It is the process that powers the sun, and the fusion world's marquee projects are accordingly grand.

A group of start-ups is promising a new and virtually unlimited source of power, one that produces none of the gases scientists say contribute to global warming.

The only problem? A way to harness the energy source, nuclear fusion — the reaction that gives birth to sunlight — still needs to be invented.