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Michel Laberge quit his job to invent a "glorified jackhammer" that he hoped would save the planet. That was 10 years ago.

Now, investors are betting more than $30 million on that jackhammer idea, which may yield a holy grail of energy -- a safe, clean and unlimited power source called hot fusion.

One of Canada's leading purveyors of fossil fuels, oil sands company Cenovus Energy Inc. , is placing a bet on a sci-fi energy source in hopes that nuclear fusion can one day help squeeze bitumen out of Fort McMurray.

The company is making a $4-million investment in General Fusion, a Burnaby, B.C.-based startup that on Thursday announced $19.5-million in new development capital, including some from Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos.

Nuclear fusion, the mother of all alternative energies, is a quandary that will take dozens of countries, hundreds of scientists, and billions of dollars to unlock. Unless Burnaby's General Fusion does it first.

In an unassuming corner of Burnaby, a lush, green suburb of Vancouver, BC, I’ve arrived at the doorway of a company that could potentially change the world. But you’d never know it from the nondescript office park it’s situated in, or the bare bones furniture and office equipment I see once I open the door and announce my presence. It’s almost as if I’ve stepped back into the office of an insurance actuary circa 1973, right down to spartan wall decoration and all-male staff. Only the “General Fusion” sign on the door indicates anything out of the ordinary.

A Canadian-based startup that is experimenting with fusion energy technology has quietly raised $22 million in early stage funding from venture capitalists.

Burnaby, British Columbia-based startup General Fusion plans to develop a prototype that will show its fusion technology can produce energy cheaper than coal-fire plants and safer than standard nuclear fission plants.

A startup snags funding to start early work on a low-budget test reactor.

General Fusion, a startup in Vancouver, Canada, says it can build a prototype fusion power plant within the next decade and do it for less than a billion dollars. So far, it has raised $13.5 million from public and private investors to help kick-start its ambitious effort.

Construction of the world's largest laser device is finally complete, the U.S. Department of Energy proudly announced late last month, and it only took $4 billion (U.S.) and 15 years to do it.
Scientists at the new National Ignition Facility plan to take its 192 massive lasers and aim them at a tiny pellet containing the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium. If all goes as planned, the isotopes will compress, heat up and finally fuse into helium, releasing a split-second wallop of emission-free energy.

Two desktop-printer engineers quit their jobs to search for the ultimate source of endless energy: nuclear fusion. Could this highly improbable enterprise actually succeed?

 The source of endless energy for all humankind resides just off Government Street in Burnaby, British Columbia, up the little spit of blacktop on Bonneville Place and across the parking lot from Shade-O-Matic blind manufacturers and wholesalers. The future is there, in that mostly empty office with the vomit-green walls -- and inside the brain of Michel Laberge, 47, bearded and French-Canadian.

The endless race for fusion energy pits a giant reactor in France against two upstarts in North America.

In the still and silent scrublands of Provence, France, near a 1,000-year-old castle that overlooks two rivers, 3,500 scientists from countries that represent over half of the world’s population are about to start work on ITER, a device as grand as its ambitions: a $15 billion, aircraft-carrier-size reactor built to withstand a fire that will burn at 100 million degrees and prove, finally, whether fusion, the energy that powers the sun and stars, can be harnessed.

Tucked away in the back corner of an old mattress warehouse in this Vancouver suburb sits a silver sphere not much larger than a human head. Like some mad inventor’s futuristic Chia pet, it sprouts numerous wires that lead to banks of capacitors, batteries capable of delivering their charge at lightning speed.