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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.

By Michael Delage - Chief Technology Officer at General Fusion The media coverage surrounding the Fusion 2030 proposal has been a reminder that the promise of fusion is not lost on the world. In shining the spotlight on this report, a discussion has ignited about practical pathways for clean energy technology and its development. General Fusion is a strong supporter of Fusion 2030, and I have been speaking to people around the country and describing to them what the pathway to making fusion a commercial reality might look like. As for any new technology, there’s a development pathway that needs to be travelled to take fusion from lab experiment to power on the grid. We’re further along this pathway than at any point in history, but there’s still road to travel and challenges to overcome. For Canada, the first step is capacity building: national leadership to renew our research infrastructure and invest in Canadian talent.

By Michael Delage - Chief Technology Officer at General Fusion General Fusion’s Founder, Dr. Michel Laberge, can often be heard remarking that “Fusion and plasma physics research sounds exotic and exciting, but a lot of it still boils down to plumbing and wiring.” It’s perhaps a simple way of pointing out that the pursuit of fusion energy is a thoroughly multi-disciplinary endeavour, and that there are more than a few challenging technologies that underpin any fusion research program, before you can get to the cutting-edge physics. Some examples: