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TECH MIT launches multimillion dollar project to develop Fusion Energy a limitless source of pollution free energy

Published 12 Mar 2018 11:23AM

Words by Naomi Hunter | Staff Writer

"Fusion is the ultimate energy source in the Universe, all the stars in the sky, the Sun,
all of those lighted objects are powered by fusion" Gerald A. Navratil, Applied Physics and Applied Math - Columbia APAM

Over the next 15 years, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge will collaborate with a private firm in order to develop a “virtually limitless source of pollution-free energy”. They will develop technology that is capable of producing nuclear fusion.

Nuclear fusion is a reaction in which two or more atomic nuclei come close enough to form one or more different atomic nuclei and subatomic particles (neutrons or protons), the difference in mass between the reactants and products is manifested as the release of large amounts of energy, a process our very own Sun uses.

“If MIT can do what they are saying — and I have no reason to think that they can’t —
this is a major step forward,” says Stephen Dean, who heads Fusion Power Associates, an advocacy group in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The new tech will be based on high-temperature superconductors that have become commercially available in the past few years. The idea is to create smaller, cheaper and easier to build versions of current nuclear reactors.

Fusing hydrogen atoms to form helium releases massive amounts of energy, which can be harnessed to produce carbon-free electricity

“We feel very confident in what its performance would be if we can build the magnets at that scale,” says Martin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center.

The team has only so far managed to secure $50 Million, the Tesla Gigafactory is costing roughly $5 Billion dollars, which is based on traditional photovoltaic technology.

Details are limited at the moment in terms of just how much funding the team will need and exactly what they fully intend to develop in the future. Most likely, a Fusion Energy power plant that would gradually start to replace the traditional Grid.

It could be decades though before anybody starts to benefit from this venture, and with so much money still be pumped into government by big oil, it could be even longer before we see any form of commercial approval for such a glorious development.




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