"It's a watershed moment in fusion science technology,"
A group of scientists from MIT has cleared the biggest technological hurdle that could prevent us from achieving practical nuclear fusion power.
Researchers were able to create a superconducting electromagnetic magnet that generated a magnetic field of 20 tesla. This is according to MIT Press Release. It's the first time that a magnets strength unit has been used to measure a magnets strength. Experts believe that practical fusion could one day provide the world with near limitless power.
Maria Zuber, MIT geophysicist, stated in the release that fusion in many ways is the ultimate source of clean energy. It is truly game-changing to have this much power.
Plasma in a Bottle
A successful fusion reactor requires powerful electromagnets. For safe and practical fusion reactions, the energy-generating process relies on extremely hot plasma. This plasma must be controlled and contained with strong magnetic fields.
According to Dennis Whyte (MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center director), the technical and scientific challenges in making fusion possible are complex. He also helped develop MIT's experimental SPARC fusion reactor.
The commercial availability of a ribbon-like material enabled the MIT team create a 20-tesla magnet field with a facility that is one-fortieth as large as they would need if they had used conventional magnets. This is a major boon for the team's vision of creating a smaller fusion reactor capable of reaching higher temperatures. It is also the opposite approach to that used by the ITER French team, which operates at lower temperatures.
Whyte stated that it was a significant moment in the history of fusion science technology.
READ MORE: MIT-designed project makes major progress toward fusion energy [MIT]
Continue reading: Scientists are excited about an important step towards practical nuclear fusion
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