Thanks to a magnetic field innovation, fusion power is "approaching" reality.
Fusion ignition can almost be accomplished with a little help from magnets.
Fusion power might be closer to reality than you realize. In experiments, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory of the Energy Department found that a new magnetic field setup increased the energy output of the fusion reaction hotspot by more than threefold, "approaching" the level necessary for self-sustaining ignition in plasmas, according to a report by Motherboard. The hotspot's heat was exceptionally well-trapped by the field, increasing the energy production.
200 laser beams were fired at a pellet of fusion fuel comprised of deuterium and tritium, two hydrogen isotopes, to create the hotspot. The pellet imploded as a result of the X-rays, producing the extremely high pressures and heat required for fusion. The team's accomplishment was made possible by coiling a pellet made of unique metals.
Fusion reactors that are usable are still several years distant. The amount of energy needed to produce self-sustaining reactions is still significantly less than the output. However, the discovery greatly increases the possibility of ignition, which in turn raises the possibility of a fusion system that produces energy. The experiments on magnetism are still ongoing. In a later experiment, a cryogenic capsule filled with ice will be used to study fusion physics. Even if ignition is still some time off, the knowledge gained from this study may make the road to that pivotal moment more obvious.