A fusion reactor projectn of new generation that manages to create and confine a plasma that produces net fusion energy continues, and the start of its construction is set for June 2021. SPARC consists of a tokamak -a toroidal chamber with magnetic coils- with compact combustion and high field, which is currently being designed by a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) y Commonwealth Fusion Systems.
Seven research articles written by 47 researchers from 12 institutions they have now been published in a special issue of the Journal of Plasma Physics. Together, the articles describe the theoretical and empirical physical basis for the new fusion system, which the consortium hopes to start building next year.
Overall, “we continue to aim for construction to begin around June 21,” Martin Greenwald, deputy director of the MIT Center for Plasma Science and Fusion and one of the lead scientists of the project
Work is progressing smoothly and on track. This series of articles provides a high level of confidence in plasma physics and performance predictions for SPARC, he says. There have been no unexpected impediments or surprises, and the remaining challenges appear to be manageable. This lays a solid foundation for how the device works once built, according to Greenwald.
SPARC is planned to be the first experimental device to achieve a “fiery plasma”, that is, a self-sustaining fusion reaction in which different isotopes of the element hydrogen fuse to form helium, without the need for any additional input of energy.
Studying the behavior of this burning plasma, something never before seen on Earth in a controlled way, is considered crucial information to develop the next step, a working prototype of a practical power plant and power generator.
Such fusion power plants could significantly reduce the Emissions of greenhouse gases of the energy generation sector (nuclear power plants, wind farms, large hydroelectric plants), one of the main sources of these emissions worldwide.