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Experiments are an important step in merging components for a Fusion Demonstration Plant By Michael Delage, Chief Technology Officer at General Fusion General Fusion’s design for its Fusion Demonstration Plant calls for forming a magnetized plasma in a cavity of molten lithium, and then rapidly collapsing the cavity to compress the plasma to fusion conditions. Over the years, the technologies for the plasma injection and liquid metal compression have been developed independently. They need to come together, and General Fusion is taking the first step by combining its successful SPECTOR (Spherical Compact Toroid) plasma injectors with a molten lithium system in a new device called SLiC (SPECTOR with Lithium). SLiC is designed to form magnetized plasmas in a target chamber where part of the target chamber’s wall is made up of molten lithium. The SLiC program will not only help us demonstrate that we can achieve plasma performance as good, or better, than achieved on a normal SPECTOR plasma injector, but also serve as a test bed for developing diagnostics compatible with molten lithium and provide data for the development of simulation codes to model the interaction of plasma magnetic fields with a free surface of liquid metal.

By Christofer Mowry, Chief Executive Officer at General Fusion There is strength in numbers. This maxim certainly applies to establishing the credibility of new technology.  The ability of like-minded stakeholders to come together with one voice to promote the benefits of a new idea is essential to the success of any frontier industry.  Not only did the launch of the Fusion Industry Association (FIA) shine a bright light on our emerging industry, but it confirmed that fusion has reached a new level of commercial maturity.  When General Fusion was founded in 2002, our company joined a field of one, effectively doubling the size of a new industrial sector.  Today, there are dozens of active private fusion ventures around the world, ventures built on more than $1 billion of invested private capital over the last decade, all at varying stages of funding and development—but all with the common goal of bringing fusion  into the energy marketplace.

By Christofer Mowry, Chief Executive Officer at General Fusion

Fusion is ubiquitous. Every ray of light that shines down on earth, that nurtures our gardens, that warms our world, has its source in the fusing heart of the sun. It is so elegantly simple. Stars are nothing more than giant spheres of hydrogen, heavy enough to push these most basic atoms together and transmute them into helium in the alchemy of fusion. And yet, the incredible elusiveness of emulating this simple feature of the natural world was fusion’s paradox, at least until now.

By Michael Delage, Chief Technology Officer at General Fusion and Dave Plant, Director of Program Management.

General Fusion’s system, with its piston-studded spherical chamber, has an industrial look about it. Hundreds of powerful pistons, driven by steam, will push down on a liquid metal liner, which in turn pushes on a plasma of superhot hydrogen gas, compressing the fuel to fusion conditions. Underneath the pragmatically industrial exterior, however, are cutting edge electronics that give these pistons an incredible level of control.

By Dr. Michel Laberge, Founder & Chief Scientist, and Michael Delage, Chief Technology Officer at General Fusion. General Fusion has focused a lot of effort on plasma technology over the past few years, and that investment is now paying off. For those of you who don’t spend all day playing with plasma, here’s a quick reminder of what it is: plasma is the superheated gas that is the fuel for a fusion power plant. Controlling the behaviour of plasma is widely considered one of the most difficult aspects of fusion. General Fusion is a leader in the development of plasma, specifically a type of plasma classified as “self-organizing”, and has set some world records along the way. Today we’re going to have a look at how this has been progressing.

By harnessing the same process that powers the sun and the stars, fusion has the potential to be a zero-emission, safe and widely available source of energy. Fusion runs on hydrogen, and this fuel must be heated to immense temperatures – over 150 million degrees Celsius – to release its energy. Learn how a General Fusion power plant creates fusion energy with the infographic below, followed by full explanation of how the process works.

Fusion could provide an effective way of cleanly producing large amounts of energy, substantially reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. For fusion energy to make it to the grid, it needs to be converted into electricity. While this seems simple, the design of many fusion power plants in fact makes it very difficult to extract the energy and convert it to a useful form. General Fusion’s power plant design overcomes this challenge, because it enables the use of existing steam turbine technology to produce electricity from fusion. Learn how a General Fusion power plant converts fusion energy to electricity in the infographic below, followed by full explanation of how the process works.