A key step towards commercialization of nuclear fusion: the start-up company supported by gates successfully tested a new magnet

TechWeb 2021-09-15 02:26:51

Beijing time. 9 month 9 Morning news , With the successful testing of a key technology —— A very powerful magnet , And consumes very little energy —— Nuclear fusion is a key step in moving from laboratory to commercial feasibility .

New energy startups Commonwealth Fusion Systems( hereinafter referred to as “CFS”) And the MIT Center for plasma science and fusion ( hereinafter referred to as “PSFC”) Wednesday said , stay PSFC On Sunday morning local time in Cambridge, Massachusetts 6 spot , They have tested the technology .

In the test , The magnetic induction intensity of the target magnet has reached 20 tesla . As a reference ,20 Tesla is more traditional than NMR (MRI) The magnetic induction intensity of scanning is higher than 12 times .

PSFC The director of the 、CFS Co founder Dennis · white (Dennis Whyte) Told reporters on a conference call on Wednesday , When the magnetic induction intensity reaches 20 While Tesla , This magnet consumes only about 30 Watt energy —— Than the traditional copper guide magnet previously tested at MIT 2 Gigawatts of energy consumption is several orders of magnitude lower .

Nuclear fusion is a physical reaction that provides energy to the sun and other stars . When two smaller 、 Lighter nuclei merge together , When a heavier nucleus is formed and energy is released , There will be nuclear fusion . If nuclear fusion can be realized and commercialized on earth , It can provide almost unlimited clean energy , Instead of producing waste that may remain radioactive for thousands of years like nuclear fission .

CFS and PSFC Express , This new magnet is strong enough , When their team uses it to build a project called “ Tokamak ”(tokamak) Doughnut shaped fusion machine , Will be available “ Net energy ”, That is, the fusion machine produces more energy than it needs to start and maintain the reaction .

up to now , No company has been able to achieve net energy nuclear fusion , All the energy generated by the fusion reaction in various experiments is used to start and maintain the reaction . Fusion Industry Association (Fusion Industry Association) Of CEO Andrew · Holland (Andrew Holland) In an interview :“ up to now , There are no companies yet 、 university 、 The national laboratory or government has achieved the goal of fusion energy balance .”

CFS and PSFC Scientists and engineers say , The successful performance of the new magnet technology is a key step in the commercial development of nuclear fusion technology .

White said :“ We think , This kind of magnet will change the development track of fusion science and energy , And eventually change the energy pattern of the whole world .”

Howard also thinks ,CFS and PSFC The goal of commercializing nuclear fusion can be achieved . He said :“ It's a big deal .”

“ This is not hype , But the reality . With the progress of the whole nuclear fusion industry , We see a new 、 Clean 、 Sustainable 、 Always available energy is being born .” Holland said .

In the experiment last Sunday , In order to make it possible to achieve 20 Tesla's magnet ,CFS and PSFC High temperature superconductors are used .

“ The size and performance of this magnet are similar to those of MIT 5 The non superconducting magnet that ended the experiment years ago is similar ,” White said , But both “ The difference in energy consumption is quite striking ”.

CFS Unrealized revenue , The company has raised more than from a few investors 2.5 US $100 million , These include the high-profile sustainable development investment fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Supporters of the fund include Bill · gates (Bill Gates)、 Jeff · bezos (Jeff Bezos)、 Richard · Branson (Richard Branson) Hori - Da Li (Ray Dalio) etc. .

CFS The team says , The high-temperature superconducting magnet shown last Sunday will be used for a magnet called “SPARC” Fusion test device , The device has been installed in Devons, Massachusetts (Devens) Build , It is expected that 2025 Show the net energy from fusion years ago , And the company's first fusion power plant ( be known as ARC) Planned for this century 30 It went online in the early s .

On a conference call on Wednesday ,CFS Of CEO Bob · Mengard (Bob Mumgaard) Express ,SPARC“ Not a business system , Because it can't 30 Electricity is delivered to people day by day every year ”. He pointed out that ,SPARC and ARC The difference is that “ Reliability and life ”, It's like building a test plane first , Then make passenger planes .( Tang style )