Summary of “Nuclear fusion on brink of being realised, say MIT scientists”

The dream of nuclear fusion is on the brink of being realised, according to a major new US initiative that says it will put fusion power on the grid within 15 years.
The project, a collaboration between scientists at MIT and a private company, will take a radically different approach to other efforts to transform fusion from an expensive science experiment into a viable commercial energy source.
The team intend to use a new class of high-temperature superconductors they predict will allow them to create the world’s first fusion reactor that produces more energy than needs to be put in to get the fusion reaction going.
Bob Mumgaard, CEO of the private company Commonwealth Fusion Systems, which has attracted $50 million in support of this effort from the Italian energy company Eni, said: “The aspiration is to have a working power plant in time to combat climate change. We think we have the science, speed and scale to put carbon-free fusion power on the grid in 15 years.”
The ultimate goal of fusion research, yet to be achieved, is creating a fusion reactor that produces more energy than it took to ignite and contain the process.
The just-over-the-horizon timeframe normally cited is 30 years, but the MIT team believe they can halve this by using new superconducting materials to produce ultra-powerful magnets, one of the main components of a fusion reactor.
The planned fusion experiment, called Sparc, is set to be far smaller – about 1/65th of the volume – than that of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project, an international collaboration currently being constructed in France.
The scientists anticipate the output would be more than twice the power used to heat the plasma, achieving the ultimate technical milestone: positive net energy from fusion.

The orginal article.