MIT Goal: Fusion Demonstration Plant in 15 Years

A news release from MIT announces a collaborative research project between MIT and a private company, Commonwealth Fusion Systems with a goal to demonstrate a prototype fusion reactor within 15 years.

http://news.mit.edu/2018/mit-newly-formed-company-launch-novel-approach-fusion-power-0309

Some excerpts from the release:

“CFS will join with MIT to carry out rapid, staged research leading to a new generation of fusion experiments and power plants based on advances in high-temperature superconductors — work made possible by decades of federal government funding for basic research.

“CFS is announcing today that it has attracted an investment of $50 million in support of this effort from the Italian energy company Eni . . .

“The new effort aims to build a compact device capable of generating 100 million watts, or 100 megawatts (MW), of fusion power. This device will, if all goes according to plan, demonstrate key technical milestones needed to ultimately achieve a full-scale prototype of a fusion power plant that could set the world on a path to low-carbon energy . . .

“SPARC is designed to produce about 100 MW of heat. While it will not turn that heat into electricity, it will produce, in pulses of about 10 seconds, as much power as is used by a small city. That output would be more than twice the power used to heat the plasma, achieving the ultimate technical milestone: positive net energy from fusion.”

So it looks like MIT is seeing an opportunity to move fusion forward faster than the other projects such as ITER and US National Ignition Facility which are notoriously slow in reaching their goals. There are other private companies like Lockheed Martin, Tri Alpha Energy, Helion Energy and General Fusion which are trying to speed up commercialization of fusion.

Still, if Andrea Rossi can actually break through into the commercial space with a much cheaper, more efficient commercial energy solution, we might find more research efforts moving into the LENR arena.

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