Two and a half years ago, MIT entered into a research agreement with startup company Commonwealth Fusion Systems to develop a next-generation fusion research experiment, called SPARC, as a precursor to a practical, emissions-free power plant.
Now, after many months of intensive research and engineering work, the researchers charged with defining and refining the physics behind the ambitious reactor design have published a series of papers summarizing the progress they have made and outlining the key research questions SPARC will enable.
Overall, says Martin Greenwald, deputy director of MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center and one of the project’s lead scientists, the work is progressing smoothly and on track. This series of papers provides a high level of confidence in the plasma physics and the performance predictions for SPARC, he says. No unexpected impediments or surprises have shown up, and the remaining challenges appear to be manageable. This sets a