|Headquarters||Redmond, Washington, United States|
Helion Energy, Inc. is an American company in Redmond, WA developing a magneto-inertial fusion power technology called The Fusion Engine. Their approach combines the stability of magnetic containment and once-per-second heating pulsed inertial fusion. They are developing a 50 MW scale system. 
Helion Energy was founded in 2013 by Dr. David Kirtley, Dr. John Slough, Chris Pihl, and Dr. George Votroubek.  Helion Energy is a spin-off of Redmond company MSNW LLC that now develops space propulsion related technologies. Investors in Helion include YCombinator, Mithril Capital Management, and Capricorn Investment Group.  The management team won the 2013 National Cleantech Open Energy Generation competition and awards at the 2014 ARPA-E Future Energy Startup competition  and were members of the 2014 YCombinator program.
The Fusion Engine technology is based on the Inductive Plasmoid Accelerator (IPA) experiments performed at MSNW LLC from 2005 through 2012. This system theoretically operates at 1 Hz, injecting plasma, compressing it to fusion conditions, expanding it and directly recovering the energy to provide electricity. The IPA experiments claimed 300 km/s velocities, deuterium neutron production, and 2 keV deuterium ion temperatures.
Helion intends to use helium-3/deuterium fuel. This fuel allows essentially aneutronic fusion, releasing only 5% of its energy in the form of neutrons. The helium is captured and reused, eliminating supply concerns.
The IPA experiments used deuterium-deuterium fusion, which produces a 2.4 MeV neutron per reaction. Helion and MSNW published articles describing a deuterium-tritium implementation which is the easiest to achieve but generate 14 MeV neutrons.
This fusion approach uses the magnetic field of a Field Reversed Configuration (FRC) plasmoid (operated with solid state electronics derived from power switching electronics in wind turbines) to prevent plasma losses. An FRC is a magnetized plasma configuration notable for its closed field lines, high Beta and lack of internal penetrations.
To inject the plasmoid into the fusion ‘burn’ chamber two plasmoids are accelerated at high velocity with pulsed magnetic fields and merge into a single plasmoid at high pressure. Their experiments achieved plasmas of 1.5 Tesla and 2 keV temperatures. Published records show plans to compress fusion plasmas to 12 Tesla.
Energy is captured by direct energy conversion that translates high-energy alpha particles directly into a voltage. This eliminates the need for steam turbines and cooling towers (and the associated energy losses).
Helion Energy received $7 million in funding from NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Defense, followed by $1.5 million from the private sector in August 2014, through the seed accelerators Y Combinator and Mithril Capital Management. The company raised an additional $10.6 million in July, 2015.
Helion Energy’s strategy is to generate revenue based on a royalty model of electricity produced with projected electricity prices of 40-60 $/MWhr (4 to 6 cents per kwh). Penetration of the new capacity market is estimated at 20% of market growth (2.5%) per annum eventually reaching 50% of new power generation worldwide – $52 B/yr. Gradual displacement of existing supplies enables continued growth to 20% of world electrical generation after 20 years with a net return of over $300 billion.
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- Votroubek, G.; Slough, J.; Andreason, S.; Pihl, C. (June 2008). "Formation of a Stable Field Reversed Configuration through Merging". Journal of Fusion Energy. 27 (1–2): 123–127. doi:10.1007/s10894-007-9103-4.
- Slough, John; Votroubek, George; Pihl, Chris (13 April 2011). "Creation of a high-temperature plasma through merging and compression of supersonic field reversed configuration plasmoids". Nuclear Fusion. 51 (5): 053008. Bibcode:2011NucFu..51e3008S. doi:10.1088/0029-5515/51/5/053008.
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