MIT declares “major advance” in fusion power

A group of MIT researchers says that it’s effectively cleared what could be the best innovative obstacle between us practical nuclear fusion power.

The scientists figured out how to get a new superconducting electromagnet to create a magnetic field of 20 tesla — that is the unit that actions a magnet’s strength — which a MIT press release says is the strongest of its sort at any point produced on Earth, and a “major advance” toward practical fusion, which numerous specialists say could sometime give the world near-limitless power.

“Fusion in a lot of ways is the ultimate clean energy source,” MIT geophysicist Maria Zuber said in the release. “The amount of power that is available is really game-changing.”

Amazing electromagnets are key to any successful fusion reactor. The energy-generating process itself depends on ultra-hot plasma that should be contained and controlled with solid magnetic fields to support a protected and practical fusion reaction.

“The challenges of making fusion happen are both technical and scientific,” MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center director Dennis Whyte, who’s helping develop MIT’s experimental SPARC fusion reactor, said in the release.

For this situation, the commercial accessibility of a new ribbon-like material permitted the MIT group to make a 20-tesla magnetic field with a facility only one-40th the size that they would have required had they used more conventional magnets. That is a tremendous boon to the group’s vision of making a more modest combination reactor that arrives at higher temperatures — the contrary methodology of that taken by the ITER group in France, which is an enormous facility that works at lower temperatures.

“It’s really a watershed moment, I believe, in fusion science and technology,” Whyte said.