The authors used cutting-edge simulations, run on powerful supercomputers, that have been developed to aid the design of ITER. Greenwald says there is still much to be learned about the physics of burning plasmas, and once this machine is up and running, key information can be gained that will help pave the way to commercial, power-producing fusion devices, whose fuel -- the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium -- can be made available in virtually limitless supplies. Popular Mechanics reporter Caroline Delbert writes that new research by MIT scientists provides evidence that the compact nuclear fusion design they are developing should be feasible. By using this new superconductor to develop high-field magnets – capable of producing fields of 12 T at the centre of the plasma, compared to 5 T in ITER – CFS and MIT hope to drastically accelerate the timetable to fusion energy and achieve net energy gain in a device that is roughly 2% the size of ITER. The MIT senior will pursue postgraduate studies in global health in Ireland. Massachusetts Institute of Technology77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, USA. Such fusion power plants might significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the power-generation sector, one of the major sources of these emissions globally. below, credit the images to "MIT.". While Greenwald cautions that the team wants to be careful not to overpromise, and much work remains, the results so far indicate that the project will at least achieve its goals, and specifically will meet its key objective of producing a burning plasma, wherein the self-heating dominates the energy balance. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily, its staff, its contributors, or its partners. That would be the first time a fusion plasma of any kind has produced more energy than it consumed. Compared with older, low-temperature superconductors, HTS magnets are more stable in the face of local heating due to their higher operating temperature.
Delbert writes that the researchers may be able to get the SPARC reactor online within 10 years by “improving materials and shrinking costs.”. It is designed to achieve a Q factor -- a key parameter denoting the efficiency of a fusion plasma -- of at least 2, essentially meaning that twice as much fusion energy is produced as the amount of energy pumped in to generate the reaction. "Their publication marks an important milestone on the road to the study of burning plasmas and the first demonstration of net energy production from controlled fusion, and I applaud the authors for putting this work out for all to see.
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What we're trying to do is put the project on the firmest possible physics basis, so that we're confident about how it's going to perform, and then to provide guidance and answer questions for the engineering design as it proceeds.". The large multi-institutional team of researchers represented in the new set of papers aimed to bring the best consensus tools to the SPARC machine design to increase confidence it will achieve its mission. The SPARC design, though about twice the size as MIT’s now-retired Alcator C-Mod experiment and similar to several other research fusion machines currently in operation, would be far more powerful, achieving fusion performance comparable to that expected in the much larger ITER tokamak being built in France by an international consortium. CFS is looking for further improvement and innovation in the future with HTS joint technology, as well as with other technologies, such as power exhaust via advanced diverters and energy capture and conversion systems for next generation power plants like ARC. Understanding how a quench event initiates and grows, and devising quench detection and mitigation techniques, is critical to the design of robust HTS magnets that are resilient to quench. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is designed to achieve a Q factor — a key parameter denoting the efficiency of a fusion plasma — of at least 2, essentially meaning that twice as much fusion energy is produced as the amount of energy pumped in to generate the reaction.
The website forms part of the Physics World portfolio, a collection of online, digital and print information services for the global scientific community. ScienceDaily. What we’re trying to do is put the project on the firmest possible physics basis, so that we’re confident about how it’s going to perform, and then to provide guidance and answer questions for the engineering design as it proceeds.”. ", Overall, Greenwald says, the work that has gone into the analysis presented in this package of papers "helps to validate our confidence that we will achieve the mission. Considering the ambitions of the SPARC project, there is plenty of room for innovation and new ideas to address the … Materials provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology. says Chris Hegna, a professor of engineering physics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, who was not connected to this work. Tiny microRNAs help destroy unwanted messenger RNAs in cells. Please enter the e-mail address you used to register to reset your password, Thank you for registering with Physics World
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