LPP Fusion released on April 10, 2017 a new video series, “The New Fusion Race”, providing the first ranking of the world’s leading efforts to achieve fusion energy. The film compares objective measures of the results that various projects have achieved in the race to produce more energy output than the fusion devices consume. It also explains the different approaches. By some important measures, LPP Fusion’s results are ahead of giant government-funded and private efforts that have far larger financial resources. “We’ve compared the leading projects using published, quantitative measures,” explains Ivy Karamitsos, the film’s producer, “and we are making available all the references that we based our work on. We’re sure that anyone will reach the same conclusions.”
Perhaps the most important comparison is the ratio of fusion energy output to the energy used by the devices, a measure called “wall-plug efficiency”. This measures how far the fusion efforts are from the key goal of producing more energy from a machine than is put into it, a necessary condition for practical power production. The video compares projects which have published results using the same fuel, deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen). Here, LPP Fusion’s, $5-million-dollar Focus Fusion-1 (FF-1) device comes in a close second to the largest functioning tokamak device, the Joint European Torus (JET), which has cost nearly a thousand times more. While JET leads FF-1 by only 50% in wall plug efficiency, FF-1 is a factor of 80 ahead of the multibillion-dollar National Ignition Facility (NIF) by the same measure. (See charts from the video included below). Given its strong results and small investment, FF-1 ranks first in the world in efficiency per dollar invested.