Economy, Sci & Tech

New Fusion Power Design Could Work

New Fusion Power Design Could WorkNew Fusion Power Design Could Work

Engineers at MIT spend a lot of time figuring out how to make things better, faster and often smaller. Now a powerful new magnet technology has led the way to a groundbreaking design for a small modular fusion ARC reactor that generates the same amount of power as its larger predecessors.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology's researchers believe this new concept could be realized in as little as 10 years and this type of power generation could be the clean renewable energy the world has been waiting for.

Nuclear fusion power plants are a dream fusion scientists have been chasing for decades and it has always been just out of reach, Inhabitat reported.

Until now, the enormous size and heat involved in a fusion reactor large enough to produce utility-scale power made projects like that very expensive. As with many things, the ability to make a fusion reactor smaller also makes it less expensive and easier to build.

Researchers have published their design proposal in the journal Fusion Engineering and Design. The new breakthrough design is based on a single advancement in magnet technology. The difference is commercially available superconductors and rare-earth barium copper oxide superconducting tapes that researchers propose to use in high-magnetic field coils for the reactor.

According to Dennis Whyte, a professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering and director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, “It changes the whole thing.”

"In addition to being more economical to build, the superconductors in the smaller modular fusion reactor are strong enough to increase fusion power by about a factor of 10 compared to standard superconducting technology," says PhD candidate Brandon Sorbom, who co-authored the report with Whyte and 11 others at MIT.