There has been a major hot fusion breakthrough at MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Researchers at the school have developed a new fuel for fusion reactors and a new process for igniting the superhot plasma that makes the nuclear reaction possible.

The process called radio frequency (RF) heating was tested in the Alcator C-Mod tokamak reactor at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC), a press release indicates. RF heating and a new reactor fuel bring hot fusion one step closer to reality, Popular Mechanics reported.

The new fuel uses three types of ion instead of two in previous fuels. This fuel is also more stable because it contains trace amounts of helium-3. RF heating works by using  megaelectronvolt (MEV) energies to increase the energy in the reactor.

“These higher energy ranges are in the same range as activated fusion products,” PSFC research scientist John C. Wright said. “To be able to create such energetic ions in a non-activated device — not doing a huge amount of fusion — is beneficial, because we can study how ions with energies comparable to fusion reaction products behave, how well they would be confined.”

The results at MIT were so encouraging that the experiment was duplicated at the Joint European Torus Reactor (JET) in Oxfordshire, England. The JET is the largest operational confinement fusion experiment in the world.

Fusion Research Heats Up

The Alcator C-mod works by using industrial electromagnets to contain plasma in the reactor. It set a record for plasma pressure last year, which is another important step on the road to commercial nuclear fusion. Strangely enough the Alcator-C-Mod has been operating at MIT for 23 years.

Tests are also being done on the new process at the Laboratory for Plasma Physics in Brussels, MIT News reported. Professor Miklos Porkolab; one of the inventors of RF heating wants to try the process in Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X stellerator next. A stellerator is a different design of fusion reactors.

It looks as if MIT professor Dennis G. Whyte’s prediction that a commercial hot fusion reactor can be built with off the shelf technology by 2025 is coming true. In mid-August Google announced it had greatly sped up research at fusion unicorn Tri Alpha Energy with a new algorithm called the Optometrist.

That means hot fusion might arrive just in time to stop climate change. One wonders where the money for this research is coming from, the most likely source is Bill Gates, the world’s richest man who is a fusion fan.

Cold fusion researchers had better hurry up because the hot-fusion crowd might just beat them to the punch.