Skip to Content
Climate change

MIT researchers say nuclear fusion will feed the grid “in 15 years”

A new research push aims to make the silver bullet for our energy problems a reality by 2033—a very ambitious target.

The news: MIT says its researchers will work with a new company called Commonwealth Fusion Systems, funded by $50 million from Italian energy firm Eni, to “carry out rapid, staged research leading to a new generation of fusion experiments and power plants.”

Huge potential: Using the same process that powers the sun, fusion could, in theory, provide limitless, cheap, clean energy. MIT says its new venture will use “advances in high-temperature superconductors” to contain the fierce reactions more effectively than existing setups, allowing higher temperatures and net energy production.

The claim: Bob Mumgaard, CEO of CFS and until recently a postdoctoral researcher at MIT, tells the Guardian, “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.”

But: Nuclear fusion has been a promised technology for decades. Many large projects, such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, have suffered delays and overspending. Smaller fusion experiments have received more funding recently, but a deadline of 15 years still seems hugely ambitious.

Deep Dive

Climate change

China’s heat wave is creating havoc for electric vehicle drivers

The country is a leader in EV adoption, but extreme weather is exposing weaknesses in its charging infrastructure.

We must fundamentally rethink “net-zero” climate plans. Here are six ways.

Corporate climate plans are too often a mix of fuzzy math, flawed assumptions, and wishful thinking.

This is what’s keeping electric planes from taking off

Batteries could power planes, but weight will limit how far they fly.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.