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A project developed by MIT has made significant progress toward fusion energy

Last Updated on 08th January 2024

According to an MIT report, the successful test of an immensely powerful and energy-efficient magnet is a critical milestone in nuclear fusion development, bringing us one step closer to commercially practical fusion energy.


Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a Bill Gates-backed startup, and MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) announced on Wednesday, September 8, that their tests, which took place on Sunday at 6 a.m. local time at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, were a success.


The magnet attained a strength of 20 tesla during the test, a unit of measurement named for pioneering engineer Nikola Tesla and used to denote the strength of a magnet. As a point of comparison, in 2019, a superconducting magnet set a new world record by displaying a magnetic field intensity of 45.5 tesla, shattering the previous record.


The MIT and CFS magnet, on the other hand, stands out because it was able to reach 20 tesla while only requiring around 30 watts of electricity. This is a significant improvement over a magnet that MIT previously tested that required 200 million watts of energy.


To achieve its magnetic intensity with exceptional power efficiency, the new magnet uses high-temperature superconductors.


It's powerful enough that CFS and MIT will be able to achieve "net energy" with their tokamak fusion reactor, which means they'll be producing more energy than the reactor needs to keep a fusion reaction going. No firm has ever achieved net energy fusion, which is required to tap into nuclear fusion's virtually infinite clean energy.


Nuclear fusion is the process through which the sun and stars generate energy. When two atoms collide to form a heavier nucleus, massive quantities of energy are released in the process.


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