According to theguardian and nature, nuclear fusion is on a brink of being realized. You probably hear “according to scientists” headlines on a daily basis. Usually nothing comes out of them or the truth is completely different. Also, it takes a significant time to create something revolutionary. Whatever the case may be, it’s always worth taking a look.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge will work with a private firm to develop technology for producing energy from nuclear fusion within the next 15 years. If successful, the multimillion-dollar effort could help to unlock a virtually limitless source of pollution-free energy.
The first challenge will be to transform a commercially available superconductor into a large, high-performance electromagnet, which could take around three years. Within the next decade, the team hopes to develop a prototype reactor that can generate more energy than it consumes. Then, they hope to develop a 200-megwatt pilot power plant that can export electricity to the grid.
There’s definitely a lot of challenges ahead when it comes to nuclear fusion that leaves zero carbon.
The promise of fusion is huge: it represents a zero-carbon, combustion-free source of energy. The problem is that until now every fusion experiment has operated on an energy deficit, making it useless as a form of electricity generation. Decades of disappointment in the field has led to the joke that fusion is the energy of the future – and always will be.
The just-over-the-horizon timeframe normally cited is 30 years, but the MIT team believe they can halve this by using new superconducting materials to produce ultra-powerful magnets, one of the main components of a fusion reactor.
Whatever might happen in the future, it’s great that there’s funding for this project and scientists actively working and looking for solutions. Unlimited and clean energy sounds like a dream, but it might become a reality.