MIT recognise superconducting magnets are key to unlocking fusion energy
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge announced last week that it will work with private firm Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), to develop technology for producing fusion energy, according to reports in Nature. The approach — which has attracted US$50 million thus far — is based on high-temperature superconductors that have become commercially available in the past few years.
Tokamak Energy welcomes the announcement, with the news reinforcing our view that High Temperature Superconductors (HTS) are central to achieving fusion energy. MIT is a leading light in the fusion energy space and its work with Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), and the investment from Italian oil company Eni, is encouraging for the industry as a whole.
Tokamak Energy has long held the view that this type of magnet can bring us closer to achieving the ultimate goal of commercial fusion. In 2015 Tokamak Energy built and tested the world’s first tokamak with all its magnets made from HTS. This device was able to sustain a plasma continuously for over 29 hours. Since then our world class team of HTS engineers have continued development in this area, filing 19 patent applications, and the announcement from CFS further validates the approach taken by Tokamak Energy.
The strong magnetic fields generated by these magnets will be used to trap the hot plasma at high pressure. However, rather than using a traditional doughnut-shaped tokamak, we believe that the use of HTS in conjunction with the more efficient spherical tokamak will pave the way to a more compact and commercially viable end product, and ultimately a faster way to fusion.