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Nuclear fusion: advances in the development of this type of energy



Nuclear fusion: advances in the development of this type of energy


Our current level of dependence on fossil fuels puts us on a path to rapid depletion of these finite materials. With this in mind, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, is developing a nuclear fusion. This project aims to change the way we generate the energy that moves the world.

After all, what do you imagine when you hear nuclear fusion? If the first thing that comes to your mind is Chernobyl or Fukushima, you are very wrong. Contrary to what you may think, nuclear fusion is one of the most environmentally friendly forms of energy production. Next, we mention the most important points in the MIT proposal.

Which is nuclear fusion?

Put simply, nuclear fusion is what happens in the sun and other stars. This involves joining two atomic nuclei to form a larger one. Consequently, both reactions release large amounts of energy. However, with nuclear fusion the energy efficiency is very high and very low nuclear waste production.

To give you a clearer idea, we are talking about the same phenomenon that feeds the sun. In this process, hydrogen is converted to helium through nuclear reactions. Through nuclear fusion, the sun melts 620 million metric tons of hydrogen and produces 606 million metric tons of helium every second. This same effect is sought to be replicated in nuclear reactors that produce heat in quantities and, consequently, energy.

What does MIT propose and what is its nuclear fusion bet for 2025?

Commonwealth Fusion System (CFS) and MIT have been collaborating for several years on a project to build the first reactor nuclear fusion commercial by 2025. What can be achieved with all this? We are talking about an unlimited source of electricity capable of initially producing between 50 MW and 100 MW of power.

Although its scope is limited, the possibilities for the future are endless. Not in vain does his research have the support of big names such as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.

What are the benefits of creating this reactor?

The current effort to reach its final prototype pursues the following advantages:

How is the development of the fusion reactor going and what is its future?

Currently there are two projects working simultaneously for the same nuclear fusion target. The first of these is the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) based in France. The second is the Sparc project, spearheaded by MIT. The latter has a Tokamak or chamber composed of a high power superconducting magnet as its heart.

Compared to renewable energies like wind and solar, fusion could generate much more power in a much smaller space. Relative to its size, Sparc hopes to get ahead of the French team by managing to create a magnetic field twice as large as that of ITER with a magnet some 40 times smaller.

Currently, scientists at MIT and Commonwealth Fusion Systems said they might have a device ready for everyday use in no time. However, you still have to overcome several obstacles. The first is to produce more energy than it consumes, as it requires high amounts for Tokamak cooling.

What will happen if the Sparc project is not successful?

The successful creation of a fusion device that produces energy would be a great scientific achievement. Even so, the success of this type of project always reaches reserved forecasts.

However, this type of research shows easily applicable technical knowledge in other fields. Something that would still leave us in debt under the objective of finding a source of energy friendly to the planet.