MIT engineers set themselves a date to demonstrate elusive nuclear process
FUSION power – the clean energy technology wryly said always to be 30 years from reality – could be demonstrated within just 15 years, thanks to new research efforts at MIT.
This acceleration in development has been seized upon by a collaboration between MIT and a new private company called Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), which is backed with funds from Eni. It will support MIT with more than US$30m of funding over the next three years to develop the world’s most powerful large-bore superconducting electromagnets.
These magnets, formed from a newly-available superconducting material – a steel tape coated with yttrium-barium-copper oxide (YBCO) – will enable the construction of a much more compact version of a donut-shaped fusion chamber called a tokamak.
“This is an important historical moment: Advances in superconducting magnets have put fusion energy potentially within reach, offering the prospect of a safe, carbon-free energy future,” said MIT president L Rafael Reif.
This article is adapted from an earlier online version.
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