Fusion 15 years away…from today

Article by Adam Duckett

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.

Article by Adam Duckett

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