INNOVATION SPOTLIGHT - HOW GENERAL FUSION IS PIONEERING COMMERCIAL FUSION ENERGY
"Fusion energy is the vaccine of climate change." - Christofer Mowry, CEO, General Fusion.
Fusion - Nature’s Way of Making Energy
Fusion powers the sun and the stars, where gravity compresses hydrogen gas to the temperatures required for fusion. The challenge for fusion energy is how to create those conditions on Earth in a controlled way that can be used to provide power. Fusion occurs when atoms are heated to very high temperatures, causing them to collide at high velocity and fuse together. When two light nuclei collide to form a heavier nucleus the process releases a large amount of energy. The most practical fusion reaction uses isotopes of hydrogen named “deuterium” and “tritium”. These can be extracted from seawater and derived from lithium, both in abundant supply. There is enough fusion fuel on earth to power the planet for hundreds of millions of years.
Fusion has the unique capability to provide utility-scale energy on-demand wherever it is needed, making it an excellent complement for intermittent renewables and battery storage. Combined, these technologies make for a practical energy portfolio that mitigates climate change while driving economic prosperity.
General Fusion is a World Leader in Commercial Fusion
General Fusion was founded in 2002 with a goal to transform the world’s energy supply by developing the fastest, most practical, and cost-competitive path to commercial fusion power.
General Fusion pursues a fast, efficient, and collaborative path to practical fusion power. We are completing an aggressive development plan to deliver economical carbon-free fusion energy with our proprietary Magnetized Target Fusion technology by the 2030s. Our mission is supported by a global syndicate of leading institutional investors, venture capital firms, and technology pioneers, together with governments across North America and Europe. General Fusion collaborates with a global network of partners to create a sustainable future built on cleaner energy, better materials, and a comprehensive life cycle approach to the world’s infrastructure. Founded in 2002, we are headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, with additional centers co-located with internationally recognized fusion research laboratories near London, U.K., and in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A.
General Fusion has achieved a critical technology milestone for practical fusion power.
Successful performance of plasma compression prototype confirms path to commercialization.
General Fusion announced recently it has successfully achieved several aggressive performance goals of a prototype system for its Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP). The company’s plasma compression prototype, located at its Vancouver, Canada laboratory, is being used to demonstrate a critical element of its proprietary Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) technology.
Commissioned in early 2021, the prototype machine drives a forceful, but precisely shaped, symmetric collapse of a large liquid vortex cavity in tens of milliseconds. The forces involved in the full-scale FDP compression system will be immense, pushing the limits of material science, fluid dynamics, and mechanical design. Achieving this milestone with the prototype significantly reduces engineering and technical risks for General Fusion’s FDP. It will use a collapsing liquid metal cavity to heat and compress plasma fuel to fusion conditions at 100 million degrees Celsius.
The idea of using a collapsing liquid metal cavity to create fusion has been around for decades, but General Fusion has been able to bring new enabling technologies such as high-speed digital control systems, additive manufacturing, and advanced composite materials to make this concept viable and to de-risk its implementation in the FDP. Driving a rapid, smooth, and spherically shaped collapse of a cavity created inside a rotating liquid has been a difficult engineering challenge that General Fusion has now demonstrated in this prototype machine. It is the pathfinder for a larger prototype being built in 2022 to validate further refinements to various engineering aspects of this technology.
General Fusion’s unique MTF technology overcomes several key challenges of creating practical fusion energy. MTF will economically create fusion conditions, efficiently convert fusion energy into carbon-free electricity, protect the fusion machine from burning fusion plasma, and produce enough fusion fuel for its own use. General Fusion’s prototype compression system validates one of the most critical parts of its MTF technology because a mechanically collapsed liquid cavity is a cornerstone for MTF overcoming all these challenges.
"Net energy production is essential, but not really the ultimate goal of commercializing fusion energy, which is building economical, carbon-free fusion power plants. Our unique technology, two decades in the making, solves the long-standing challenges of building practical fusion power plants for the world’s energy markets struggling to move away from fossil fuels. The successful performance of this important prototype validates we are on the path to success." - Christofer Mowry, CEO, General Fusion.
General Fusion building a global market for fusion energy with industry leaders.
World’s leading energy and industrial companies advising General Fusion on the development of practical commercial fusion power.
General Fusion also recently announced the formation of a unique Market Development Advisory Committee (MDAC) to guide the development of its commercial fusion power plant. MDAC members include utilities serving millions of customers, innovative renewable energy providers, and companies leading the decarbonization of heavy industry. These companies span global markets in need of carbon-free, on-demand power to meet increasingly ambitious net-zero carbon emission policy goals. Many bring extensive expertise in evaluating, deploying, and operating commercial power generation assets.
General Fusion’s global network of investors and government, institutional, and industrial partners enable the company to pursue a more ambitious fusion technology commercialization program. Through the MDAC, General Fusion is proactively engaging the market to form a portfolio of prospective early fusion adopters to ensure that the performance and specifications of its Magnetized Target Fusion power plant will align with customer needs. The MDAC benefits its membership by providing a mechanism to monitor the development of General Fusion’s technology, understand when and how to include fusion in their new energy generation plans, guide the development of appropriate regulatory frameworks, and influence the company’s future product development.
Launched with nearly a dozen member companies spanning North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe, the MDAC will support General Fusion in designing a practical and compelling fusion power plant that can be deployed by the early 2030s. The MDAC will also recommend and support opportunities to evolve public energy policies promoting the early adoption of commercial fusion power plants as part of the energy transition to net-zero carbon.
“Now is the time to develop the global market for fusion energy. Companies are increasingly recognizing that to achieve their net-zero mandates and aspirations, they’re going to need fusion. Our Market Development Advisory Committee will help guide General Fusion in addressing this need using a partnership and collaboration strategy.” - Christofer Mowry, CEO, General Fusion.
“Bruce Power is committed to advancing a net-zero future and clean energy technologies that are essential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Fusion is a key emerging technology that is complementary to the emissions-free electricity we produce. We look forward to applying our experience and expertise in innovation, clean energy production, and policy development to collaborate with General Fusion." - Richard Horrobin, Vice President, Business Development & Energy Innovation, Bruce Power.
“The path to net-zero means developing new sources of clean energy and reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels, which is all the more important given the current issues in global energy markets and the situation in Ukraine. Energy-intensive industrial customers particularly will need alternative technologies if they are to meet net-zero targets and remain competitive in their own markets, and as the UK’s largest electricity provider, we are pleased to have the opportunity to work with General Fusion to look at how the market for their products could evolve in the UK and develop a new way to take action for the climate.” - Michael Lewis, CEO, E.ON UK.
“H2 Green Steel is on a mission to undertake the global steel industry’s greatest ever technological shift. That’s why we are teaming up with General Fusion to explore the global scalability of our technology, not limited by in-country power generation constraints. Fusion energy has the potential to accelerate the decarbonization of steel production. We look forward to working together with General Fusion on the practical application of fusion energy in heavy industry.” - Henrik Henriksson, CEO, H2 Green Steel.
“Specializing in renewable energy, pioneering sustainable and innovative technologies is in our DNA. That is why we have joined General Fusion’s international committee, to support bringing clean fusion energy technology to market. We will represent the Italian energy sector on the committee. We hope that fusion energy will soon represent a further opportunity to promote an energy mix less dependent on fossil fuels.” - Riccardo Toto, General Manager, Renexia.
“Nuclear power currently provides over 40% of the electric energy TVA produces for the people and businesses we serve in seven states. Developing advanced nuclear and other technologies is important for TVA’s energy system of the future. The recent support of the United States Congress for public-private partnerships that promise to accelerate the growth of fusion is encouraging. We will continue exploring business relationships to innovate new clean-energy technologies in support of TVA’s aspirational goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.” - Joe Hoagland, Vice President for Innovation & Research, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
General Fusion’s Magnetized Target Fusion removes the traditional technological barriers to delivering economical fusion power plants. The company recently reached a critical technology milestone, demonstrating the advanced engineering capabilities needed to scale its compression prototype to a full power system. Later in 2022, the company anticipates celebrating another milestone when it breaks ground on its Fusion Demonstration Plant at the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. The Fusion Demonstration Plant will create the template for General Fusion’s first commercial power plant. It will confirm the performance and economics of the company’s technology at a power-plant-relevant scale.
General Fusion is pursuing the fastest and most practical path to commercial fusion energy and is based in Vancouver, Canada, with locations in London, U.K., and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, U.S.A. The company was established in 2002 and is funded by a global syndicate of leading energy venture capital firms, industry leaders, and technology pioneers.
Learn more at generalfusion.com