MIT Reveals Plan for Compact Fusion Reactor

An article on the MIT News website announces a new design for a ‘compact tokamak’ nuclear fusion reactor designed at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center at MIT. The reduction in size is said to be made possible by employing advanced superconducting technology that will allow for stronger magnetic fields to contain the super-hot plasma needed in for fusion to take place.

The proposed reactor has half the diameter of the larger tokamak under construction at the ITER project in France, which would make it less that 10 m (compared to ITER’s 19.4 external diameter). According to the article the reactor will be able to produce at least three times as much electricity as is needed to keep it running, and design improvements could allow that to improve to up to six times.

mitfusion
Image source: MIT News

It is projected that this reactor, which is designed to be used for basic research into fusion energy, and be a potential pototype for a power plant, will be completed in about a decade.

It sounds like this could be an advance for the field of hot fusion, but to my mind it would seem to be far more complex and expensive to build than the E-Cat reactors of Rossi. It will be interesting to see what might happen to the large hot fusion projects if the E-Cat makes it into the commercial realm. Maybe they will adapt their research programs in the light of a new technology, but I think it will be much harder for these projects to justify their claims for large amounts of public funding if a commercial entity is able to produce power much more cheaply, and bring working reactors into the marketplace.

  • Twobob

    When it can make steam 24/7 then I will believe in it.
    May be smaller but do it work for more than a couple of seconds.
    Can I have one in my house?

    • Gerrit

      Can you build an airplane around it ?

      • Christina

        Or an intra-solar-system ship?

        Christina

  • JIPelsor

    With the number of research efforts into LENR now, it would seem that whatever Rossi’s secret sauce is would be appearing with enough regularity & promise, that public research funding would be finding its way into those entities.
    When all the sunk costs are included, it is still reasonable to conclude that LENR is not commercially viable. Rossi still includes a similarly phrased caveat almost every time he reports.
    Many inventions don’t reach commercial reliability for many years, We are all impatient for the magic bullet to increase self sufficiency that Rossi announced almost 4 years ago (the 5KW E-cat). The proof still remains ephemeral as we all turn blue holding our breath for it actually happen.

    • GreenWin

      JIPelsor, cure for turning blue… Take a deep breath. 🙂

  • Alan DeAngelis

    This is real science.

    Unlike chemists, physicists are real scientist. If chemists were real scientist, they wouldn’t do silly things like lowering the energy of activation of a reaction with a catalyst so it can take place at room temperature. If chemists were real scientist they would try to find of way to
    do it properly at thousands of degrees and megabars of pressures.

    Who could take this guy seriously? He’s using a balloon! There must be a way to do this far more inefficiently with an expensive piece of equipment.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PC4DT4ier2Q

    • Alan DeAngelis

      ..find a way…

      • wpj

        Balloons are standard kit for us chemists unless, of course, we are using Nickel and hydrogen and then the temperatures and pressures really have to go up.

        In many cases we forget about the hydrogen and use things like hydrazine which drops apart to hydrogen and nitrogen when we heat it with the catalyst.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    This is real science.

    Unlike chemists, physicists are real scientist. If chemists were real scientist, they wouldn’t do silly things like lowering the energy of activation of a reaction with a catalyst so it can take place at room temperature. If chemists were real scientist they would try to find of way to
    do it properly at thousands of degrees and megabars of pressures.

    Who could take this guy seriously? He’s using a balloon! There must be a way to do this far more inefficiently with an expensive piece of equipment.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PC4DT4ier2Q

    • Alan DeAngelis

      ..find a way…

      • wpj

        Balloons are standard kit for us chemists unless, of course, we are using Nickel and hydrogen and then the temperatures and pressures really have to go up.

        In many cases we forget about the hydrogen and use things like hydrazine which drops apart to hydrogen and nitrogen when we heat it with the catalyst.

  • GreenWin

    JIPelsor, cure for turning blue… Take a deep breath. 🙂

  • GreenWin

    Yawwwwwn. These hot fusionists have been telling us this since 1951. And they have yet to produce ONE WATT useful energy.

    • Daniel Maris

      You have to remember Green Win that this is all “peer-reviewed science” – so doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work.

  • GreenWin

    Yawwwwwn. These hot fusionists have been telling us this since 1951. And they have yet to produce ONE WATT useful energy.

  • Uncle Bob

    If they can just get something working of any size it will be a big step forwards.
    Once it works, the inevitable refinements and miniaturization will certainly bring the dimensions down and the performance up.
    And better than that, the design will probably be published for all to see and think of improvements.
    We will certainly get there eventually.
    It’s not optional. We have to.