The Necessity of Experience: Making Fusion Real

By Christofer Mowry, Chief Executive Officer at General Fusion

To experience is to connect emotionally as well as intellectually. Technology innovators often neglect the emotional facet of their enterprise as they fixate on the intellectual challenge of turning theory into reality. The necessary fullness of this connection, attending to the completeness of all the constituent elements of experience, is essential to the successful adoption of disruptive new technologies.

In seeking to transform the global energy system, fusion innovators must confront this emotional component of the experiential barrier to success as much as they must face the technical challenges. For society’s leaders and policy makers, fusion remains a vision of what could be, not what will be. To become reality, the emotional connection with fusion must be created as much as its technology must be proven. Fusion must be embraced by the very society it seeks to benefit in order to create a sustainable future of energy.

Fusion clearly offers a powerful technical value proposition for achieving sustainable deep decarbonization of the global energy system. Its fuel source, water, is ubiquitous. As such, it uniquely addresses the issue of energy autonomy for jurisdictions around the world with limited fuel alternatives to reliably power their domestic energy generation. Fusion also overcomes the increasingly difficult social acceptance challenge of requisitioning land and water at large scales for renewable energy sources. But until we create the full experience of fusion, society will struggle to make the necessary emotional connection with its benefits. As the era of fossil-fueled energy wanes, the world deserves a future distinguished by a better relationship between energy and society.

So, the General Fusion journey from Dr. Michel Laberge’s vision to reality, the road from a fusion science project being explored in a small laboratory to a transformational clean energy technology, necessarily passes through our Fusion Demonstration Plant. This facility, this physical manifestation of a transformational technology, takes what had once been theory and creates the necessary experience of fusion. The Fusion Demonstration Plant will enable the detailed technical understanding of our Magnetized Target Fusion technology in a power plant-relevant environment. But it will also make the introduction of fusion energy to the world by inviting it in, prompting questions, promoting dialog, and providing opportunities to learn. Our Fusion Demonstration Plant will be that place where the sustainable clean energy future is fully experienced.

General Fusion has brought together a talented and diverse team to make this experiential part of our mission, the Fusion Demonstration Plant, real. AL_A, founded by the Stirling award-winning architect Amanda Levete, is leading the building’s design. Skilled in developing public structures spanning museums to corporate headquarters to bridges, AL_A specializes in utilizing the medium of architecture to communicate society’s intentions for its future. As for the Fusion Demonstration Plant, this means imagining a space that captures and shares the wonderful promise of fusion. Sharing the promise of fusion means creating a level of technology transparency previously unexperienced in energy, inviting infrastructure to be something we embrace rather than obscure. Engineering and constructing the design will be our partner firm Hatch, globally recognized for excellence in deploying the infrastructure to support the new economy of our future. Facilitating a new and different experience, the experience of what fusion can offer society as it strives to build a sustainable future and a new relationship with energy, is the essential purpose of our Fusion Demonstration Plant and is the mission which motivates General Fusion and our partners.