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.
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.
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.
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.