Clean energy company preparing to scale up
VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA — (March 6, 2017) – General Fusion has revealed that one of the most critical and complex areas of its research and development – plasma injector technology – has now reached the minimum performance levels required for a larger scale, integrated prototype. This marks a significant step in the company’s progress toward development of its fusion energy technology.
“If you compare our approach to fusion to how a diesel engine works, we inject the fuel into a compression chamber and compress it until it gets hot enough to ignite. In our case the fuel is plasma, and the ignition is fusion.” said Chief Financial Officer and Interim CEO Bruce Colwill. “The investment we have made in our plasma injection program over the last few years has paid off.”
General Fusion presented its most recent plasma injector results at the American Physical Society’s Division of Plasma Physics annual meeting in November, 2016, demonstrating plasma that now lasts long enough to be compressed using the company’s system. The results were produced on the company’s 40cm diameter experimental scale SPECTOR plasma injectors, and the technology is now being developed into a new large-scale injector, matching the size required for integration with General Fusion’s compression technology. The APS presentation is available online at the company’s website.
“The dramatic improvement in plasma performance has brought us to the point where we can now increase our focus on the compression stage,” said Mr. Colwill. “While there is still a lot of work to be done, this is a very large step forward for our research and development program.”
General Fusion’s proprietary fusion system is designed to use compression to heat a magnetized plasma of superheated hydrogen gas to temperatures above 150 million degrees Celsius. The company’s program is now advancing to the next stage – developing and integrating plasma injector, compression chamber and pistons in the design of a larger scale prototype.
The Vancouver-based private company anticipates that its approach to creating fusion energy, referred to as Magnetized Target Fusion, will be a practical path to making fusion a commercially available form of power.
“General Fusion’s system is unique in that it combines cutting-edge plasma physics with established technologies,” said the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Michael Delage. “This gives us a range of practical advantages when it comes to designing an eventual power plant that will produce electricity for the grid.”
Fusion energy has the potential to safely provide carbon-free electricity, on-demand, anywhere in the world. A commercially viable fusion power plant could play a vital role in meeting growing energy demand, which is expected to double over the next 30 years, while at the same time tackling climate change.