General Fusion’s Magnetized Target Fusion system uses a sphere filled with molten lead-lithium that is pumped to form a vortex. A pulse of magnetically-confined plasma fuel is then injected into the vortex. Around the sphere, an array of pistons drive a pressure wave into the centre of the sphere, compressing the plasma to fusion conditions. This process is then repeated, while the heat from the reaction is captured in the liquid metal and used to generate electricity via a steam turbine.
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A major practical advantage, the liquid metal wall absorbs energy from the fusion reaction which can then be pumped to heat exchangers. The liquid metal also protects the solid outer wall from damage, and can be combined with liquid lithium to breed tritium within the power plant.
Using practical, existing technology, steam powered pistons compress the plasma to fusion conditions. Not requiring the exotic lasers or giant magnets found in other fusion approaches, steam pistons can be practically implemented in a commercial power plant.
The compression target is comprised only of magnetized plasma (fusion fuel), which does not need to be manufactured and is effectively cost free.
The key components of a Magnetized Target Fusion power plant are the plasma injectors, pistons and liquid metal vortex. Currently, General Fusion is developing and optimizing these components in parallel to accelerate construction of a demonstration power plant.
General Fusion’s approach is designed from the ground up to enable a practical, commercially viable power plant. Electricity is generated from the fusion plant by pumping the hot liquid metal through a heat exchanger to heat water, which then turns a steam turbine – the same as existing infrastructure used in power generation today. General Fusion power plants will also be modular, allowing multiple units to be deployed to power large cities or heavy industry.