14 Apr Disruptive Innovations in Fusion Energy
General Fusion is developing Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) technology to create fusion energy. MTF dates back to the 1970s – the era of roller skating, Walkman and the first-ever cellphone!
Now, almost five decades later, General Fusion is on the cusp of building the largest privately funded MTF prototype in history. The first-of-a-kind Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) will demonstrate our technology in a power plant-relevant environment.
Thanks to disruptive innovations, the time for fusion is now. Disruptive innovations accelerated the development of fusion energy – bringing us closer to a zero-carbon future.
Computation power and big data analytics
At General Fusion, we have conducted more than 200,000 hydrogen plasma tests, running up to 100 per day. With each test we collect measurements from the plasma, such as its magnetic field, density, and temperature. Data analytics and high-speed computers allow us to rapidly interpret these measurements and quickly adjust our test programs to optimize performance.
In addition, we use this data to develop simulations that allow us to recreate our plasma tests virtually. The level of detail and speed we can achieve now was simply not possible 20 years ago. These simulations are important inputs that guide the design and development of our FDP.
High-speed digital control systems
General Fusion uses high-powered pistons to compress the plasma to fusion conditions. High-speed digital controls manage and synchronize the timing of the individual pistons. The advancements in this technology have allowed us to achieve coordinated accuracy within microseconds – faster than the blink of an eye!
3D printing was invented in the 1980s primarily for prototyping products. The technology has grown in popularity across many industries, including fusion research.
3D printing is one of the best technologies suited for labs that require customization, versatility and design complexity. Also, 3D printing is a more sustainable way to manufacture parts as it results in less waste material.
We used 3D printing to create the cavity formation component on one of our compression testbeds (pictured above). The architecture of this component would have been far more challenging and costly to manufacture without 3D printing.