Commonwealth Fusion Systems secures new funding worth $84 million to create a fusion reactor in 2025.
What's The Scoop
Commonwealth Fusion Systems was able to secure the millions worth of funding just two weeks ago. Commonwealth's chief executive Bob Mumgaard was surprised and relieved to close a multi-million dollar deal in times of lockdown by saying it was "an interesting thing" that they were able to do so.
The long term impact of the company's first test technology was more of a benefit than an obstacle, said Mumgaard. "We're in a unique position where it's still something that's far enough in the future that any of the recovery models are not going to affect the underlying needs that the world still has a giant climate problem."
The company is using technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to bypass generations of nuclear fusion reactors under development and be able to bring waste-free energy sources to industries worldwide within the next ten years.
Advancement was the creation of a high-power superconducting magnet that could conceivably be used to create the conditions for a sustained fusion reaction. The reactor uses these superconducting magnets to sustain the response and contain the energy generated by the reaction using hydrogen isotopes that are kept under extreme pressure conditions. Designs for reactors demand that their hydrogen fuel supply be heated to tens of millions of degrees.
The design in which the company is trying to create is a massive, multi-decade International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor or called ITER that is currently underway in France. The project began under the Reagan Administration as part of a collaboration between the United States, Soviet Union, Japan, and many European nations. The addition of China and South Korea came a few years after.
The ITER project is ready to be turned on in the year 2025, which operation costs to be over $14 billion. It began construction in 2013 represents a more extended timeframe of completion that the company has set for itself.
Upon the project completion, Commonwealth Fusion Systems will create a ten-ton magnet with a magnetic force equivalent to 20 MRI machines. "We have set off to build what has been our big goal all along, which is to build the full-scale demonstration magnet... we're in the act of building that. We'll turn that on next year."
"After we get the magnet to work, we'll be building a machine that will generate more power than it takes to run. We see that as the Kitty Hawk moment," for fusion, he said while other companies are already speeding to bring newer technologies to the market to be able to coincide with the 2025 timeline.
Within the next six to eight months, the company is hoping to locate a site suitable for its first demonstration of the reactor.