A team of researchers from MIT and other institutions claims that their "SPARC" compact fusion reactor will actually work , at least in theory, as they argue in a series of recently published research papers.
In total, well seven articles Written by 47 researchers from 12 institutions, the team says no unexpected hindrances or surprises emerged during the planning stages. In other words, the research "confirms that the SPARC fusion reactor project we are working on is highly likely to work," he said. said to New York Times Martin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center and project leader.
The power of fusion remains elusive, but technology promises to someday become a safe and clean way of producing energy by fusing together atomic nuclei like the sun. Basically, creating a star on Earth and harnessing its energy. Despite nearly a century of research, however, no one has yet managed to make it.
Now try SPARC
SPARC, one of the largest projects of its kind in the privately funded sector, would be the first of its kind: a "burning plasma" reactor that fuses isotopes of hydrogen to form helium, without the need for other energy inputs.
Thanks to advances in the field of superconducting magnets, the team hopes to achieve the same performance as much larger reactors, such as the giant ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) reactor, which began assembly in July.
Magnets are used to contain the extremely hot and high pressure reactions going on inside the fusion reactor - this is one of the biggest challenges. According to the team's calculations, SPARC should be able to produce twice the fusion energy of the amount needed to generate the reaction. It would be a huge leap, today even a "balanced budget" cannot be achieved.
Indeed, in the papers, the researchers note that the SPARC fusion reactor could theoretically generate ten times the amount of energy input, but there is a lot of work to be done before they can say for sure.
When will we see the SPARC fusion reactor in action?
What we try to do is put the design on the strongest physical foundation possible. That way we can be confident in how it will work and then provide guidance for the engineering design as it goesMartin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center
The MIT team hopes to build its compact reactor in the next three to four years.