General Fusion

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General Fusion
Founded 2002
Headquarters Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Key people Doug Richardson, CEO; Dr. Michel Laberge Ph.D, Founder
Products Nuclear fusion development
Website General Fusion home page

General Fusion is a Canadian company based in Burnaby, British Columbia created for the development of fusion power based on magnetized target fusion (MTF).[1][2][3] As of 2013 they are working on a prototype system, which they hope to have working by 2015.[4] They are also working on full-scale versions of several key subsystems. They hope to have a working reactor by 2020. General Fusion is funded by private venture capital and by the Government of Canada.

Funding[edit]

Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, a Vancouver-based venture capital firm, led a C$1.2 million seed round of financing for General Fusion in 2007.[2][5][6] As of 2011 General Fusion remained in Chrysalix' portfolio.[7] Other Canadian venture capital firms that participated in the seed round were GrowthWorks Capital and BDC Venture Capital.

In 2009 a consortium led by General Fusion was awarded C$13.9 million by Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to conduct a four-year research project on "Acoustically Driven Magnetized Target Fusion";[8] SDTC is a foundation established by the Canadian government.[9] The other members of the consortium are Los Alamos National Laboratory and Powertech Labs Inc.[8]

As of 2013, General Fusion had received $45 million in venture capital and $10 million in government funding.[10]

Projects[edit]

Diagram of the General Fusion Reactor

General Fusion will build a ~3-metre diameter spherical tank filled with liquid metal (lead-lithium mixture). The liquid is spun to open up a vertical cylindrical cavity in the centre of the sphere (vortex). This vortex flow is established and maintained by an external pumping system; the liquid flows into the sphere through tangentially directed ports at the equator and is pumped out radially through ports near the poles of the sphere. Two spheromaks (self confined magnetized plasma rings) composed of the deuterium-tritium fuel are then injected from each end of the cavity. They merge in the centre to form a single magnetized plasma target. The outside of the sphere is covered with pneumatic rams. The rams use compressed gas to accelerate pistons to ~50 m/s. These pistons simultaneously impact a set of stationary anvil pistons at the surface of the sphere, which collectively launch a high pressure spherical compression wave into the liquid metal. As the wave travels and focuses towards the centre, it becomes stronger and evolves into a strong shock wave. When the shock arrives in the centre, it rapidly collapses the cavity with the plasma in it. At maximum compression the conditions for fusion are briefly met and a fusion burst occurs releasing its energy in fast neutrons. The neutrons are slowed down by the liquid metal causing it to heat up. A heat exchanger transfers that heat to a standard steam cycle turbo-alternator to produce electricity for the grid. Some of the steam is used to run the rams. The lithium in the liquid metal finally absorbs the neutrons and produces tritium that is extracted and used as fuel for subsequent shots. This cycle is repeated about one time per second.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "This machine might* save the world", Josh Dean, Popular Science, 23 December 2008
  2. ^ a b "Looking for a net gain in the energy sector", Tyler Hamilton, Toronto Star, 20 April 2009
  3. ^ "Garage scientist aims to thwart OPEC" , Nathan VanderKlippe, Financial Post, 16 November 2007
  4. ^ Hein, Treena (2 May 2012). "Canadian firm pursues mechanical approach to fusion energy". Canadian Manufacturing. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "More money for fusion energy", Michael Kanellos, CNet news.com, 5 September 2007
  6. ^ Chrysalix is funded by a number of investors including several energy firms; its investors are listed on Chrysalix' website"
  7. ^ "General Fusion". chrysalix.com. Retrieved Nov 9, 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Sustainable Development Technology Canada. "Round 13 Funded Projects". Retrieved 9 Nov 2011.  Press release.
  9. ^ "Media Backgrounder: Sustainable Development Technology Canada". SDTC website. Retrieved 9 Nov 2011. 
  10. ^ Bartel, Mario (Jan 2, 2014). "Where Are They Now? General Fusion gets closer to the sun". Burnaby NewsLeader. Retrieved Jan 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ "General Fusion's Approach". Archived from the original on Mar 8, 2010. Retrieved Dec 9, 2009. 

External links[edit]

See also[edit]