Next Big Future May 23, 2018
This is information from an interview with Christofer Mowry, CEO of General Fusion. The highlights are that General Fusion is rapidly pushing ahead to achieve commercialization and the next step is to make a 70% scale pilot plant that will prove out the viability of generating electricity from General Fusion’s magnetized target nuclear fusion.
This interview was conducted at C2 Montreal.
General Fusion does not need to demonstrate fusion containment because they are pulsed power system like a diesel engine or steam punk fusion.
The pilot system will prove three things:
1. Fusion conditions will be repeatably produced
2. There will be a kill chain from neutrons to electrons
3. Economics will be validated.
Simulation will be used to validate the economics and design specifics to move to a 100% system.
The next system after the 70% scale system will be a full commercial system.
The Demo system will cost several hundred million dollars. General fusion is fundraising now. Several existing funders (Jeff Bezos, Canadian and Malaysian government) are likely participants in the next round. However, the fundraising cannot have actual disclosure until it is completed. As of late 2016, General Fusion had received over $100 million in funding from a global syndicate of investors and the Canadian Government’s Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) fund.
All of the individual components have been matured enough to enable integration into a prototype pilot plant.
Over the five years of the demo plant there will be design, construction and a nominal 18 months of testing.
The plasma injector component built so far is a 2 meter plasma injector. It will be a 3 meter injector for the pilot plant.
Titanium fabrication is with GE Additive as a partner.
The current component for has 14 pistons and was not to achieve plasma compression but to work out other engineering issues.
The demo system will have several hundred pistons. Perhaps around 500.
The next system could have more or fewer pistons depending upon how experiments inform the design and how smoothly the plasma will need to be compressed.
It will be deuterium fusion.
The demo plant will not add tritium. Addition of tritium is a well understood process and would have predictable impact.
Tritium will be added in the follow up commercial system.
General Fusion took its PI2 plasma injector to the 2018 GLOBE Forum in Vancouver.