Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have reportedly tested the most powerful superconducting, high-temperature magnet in the world. This move is a step further in establishing a fusion power facility to generate power free of carbon.
Eni, an Italian energy group, holds a share in CFS, an MIT-spun off fusion energy research company, post the investment of USD 50 million in 2018 and also initiated the Series A funding round of CFS.
The test showcased that the superconducting magnet, jointly constructed by CFS and MIT, could produce a sustained magnetic field powerful enough for a CFS device to obtain net energy from fusion, which the American company mentioned is the first time in history. CFS seeks to use the technology to build a fusion power plant that is commercially viable to produce zero-emission electricity.
Claudio Descalzi, the Chief Executive Officer of Eni, commented that magnetic confinement fusion is crucial for the energy company in tech research on decarbonization. It will enable humans to access large volumes of the energy produced, he said.
As governments across the world initiate efforts to tackle climate change, energy firms like Eni have unveiled transitional strategies to curb carbon emissions.
CFS has stated that it is working on a fusion device called a tokamak. Obtaining net energy from fusion with tokamaks has relied on device scale in the past. However, high-temperature superconductors will allow the company to attain net energy from fusion with an affordable and a smaller tokamak on a faster timeline.
Commonwealth Fusion Systems plans to have a first exploratory device with net production of energy by 2025 and a first facility that will begin to feed energy into the grid by 2030, according to the Italian energy group.
For the record, CFS is a Cambridge-based company established in 2018, focusing on building a compact fusion power plant based on the concept of the ARC tokamak.