General Fusion Large Scale Demo 2025 and Commercial Fusion Targets 2030

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and General Fusion will build and operate its Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) at UKAEA’s Culham Campus. The FDP will demonstrate General Fusion’s proprietary Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) technology. Construction starts 2022.

Liquid Metal Wall
A liquid metal wall will be inside the outer wall. It 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.

Compressed Gas Driver

steam powered pistons compress the plasma to fusion conditions. This avoids the need for lasers or giant magnets found which are used in other fusion approaches. Steam pistons can be practically implemented in a commercial power plant.

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.

Electricity is generated from the General Fusion plant by pumping hot liquid metal through a heat exchanger to heat water, which then turns a steam turbine. General Fusion power plants will also be modular, allowing multiple units to energize large cities or heavy industry.

Nextbigfuture interviewed Christofer Mowry, CEO of General Fusion in May, 2018 at the C2 conference in Montreal. Christofer Mowry indicated that General Fusion was working to get funding and complete a 70% scale pilot plant that will prove out the viability of generating electricity from General Fusion’s magnetized target nuclear fusion. He indicated that the scale pilot could be completed around 2023.

General Fusion does not need to demonstrate fusion containment because they are a pulsed power system like a diesel engine or steampunk fusion.

The pilot system will prove three things:
1. Fusion conditions will be repeatably produced
2. There will be a kill chain from neutrons to electrons
3. Economics will be validated.

SOURCES- General Fusion
Written by Brian Wang,

39 thoughts on “General Fusion Large Scale Demo 2025 and Commercial Fusion Targets 2030”

  1. ITER is the worst thing that has ever happened to fusion. ITER ties up the very people and budgets needed for fusion power research into a 5 decade effort to prove that weak B-field Tokamaks built using 1990's tech are plain useless for power production. If ITER succeeds spectacularly with all its stated goals you've never left square one; you didn't learn what you need to know about much smaller, much stronger B-field tokamaks (which could make sense to commercialize if they work); you didn't learn much you couldn't learn much cheaper in other ways.

  2. Usually quick and dirty in the right place at the right time wins. I'm not sure I'd call that a hare, but it's definitely not a tortoise.

  3. Since carbon dioxide addition is the reason for reduced heat transfer back to space, it might become a question what amount of heat is added from matter to energy conversion (especially if this will be used massively for society's development before closer to Type1 and towards Type2 on Kardashev scale).
    What's the amount of energy that is added within climate change for having nowadays higher average temperatures (every year)?
    (Number read was if planetary albedo is changed by 0.01, comparable to doubling carbon dioxide share in atmosphere, that would add 3.4W/m² heat transfer to Earth's surface (~1/100 of solar constant (1/4 received by Earth, ~340W/m²) -> 1730TW?). But these are assumptions ~15years old.)

  4. Just like with space, we should cheer every effort towards a better future.
    Yay ITER, Yay General Fusion, Yay Tokamac Energy, Yay TAE Technologies

  5. Typically you'd only have to worry about that if the fit between the pistons and the vessel was bad; As long as they're precision matched, and nothing gets too close to it's yield point, you should be fine.

  6. with the way things are going with getting CO2-reducing energy sources, you might lose the beach house irregardless…

  7. Did you hear the news, a decade overdue, National Ignition Facility might have achieved ignition. For real this time.

  8. If any fusion reactor can be made to work they would probably want to combine it with the molten salt heat storage of the Natrium fission reactor.

    BTW I just ran into this
    on spin aligning the fusion reactants to get them to react more readily & to get the neutrons to mostly go in one direction. This article talks about it for fusion rocket propulsion, but it sounds very helpful for getting any sort of power reactor going.

  9. Ignorant question here. How many times can those pistons hit the reactor vessel before it cracks? Would that be a real problem or is that a non-issue ?

  10. I recall that total waste heat is 22kJ/pinch which adds up quite quickly. The device can run hot so they could probably harvest 40% of that.

  11. Interestingly LPP's estimates for produced energy do not include harvesting energy from their waste heat. The waste heat isn't trivial and while it would cost money to harvest the energy it may be necessary to produce surplus electricity.

  12. Interesting for efficiency is gas turbine inlet temperature and nowadays materials might allow ~2500°F (~1350°C) turbine inlet temperatures and therefore maybe 65% on generator shaft for combined cycle (hot gas & steam) power stations on early to mid 202x?
    This needs an answer (within this inspiring concept for electrical power supply) for 1/3 of heat amount to be integrated into seasonal? power generation?
    Baking carbon fibers (pretreatment ~300°C, carbonization ~1700°C, graphitization ~2800-3000°C) sourced from (intake) air's carbon dioxide?
    Fusion power plant areas might get low carbon dioxide ppm areas ((415-280)/415*3000Gt carbon dioxide -> 975Gt CO2 -> equivalent in filtering all out of ~1,6Million Gt of atmosphere. That would be air intake mass of ~5Million Engine Alliance GP7200 (A380) turbofan jet engines 24×7 for 10years. Given one GP7200 is comparable to 30MW shaft power, that would need a 150TW for mass throughput of 5Mt/s for one decade?)?

  13. Sure, you can do direct conversion in at least one type of fission reactor: The dusty plasma reactor.

  14. huh. 6 months from arrival/unpack to install (just place not commission or hook-up) — now that's some serious european bureaucracy.

  15. small and local – likely supported by an umbrella technical firm.
    1GW+ grouping of plants – unlikely.

  16. commercial access and funding and insurance… though i don't believe fusion is as black-listed as fission in many G7 countries – not convinced of its widespread acceptance even when coal becomes so politically suicidal…

  17. Yes.
    Just look at the drive and ambition:
    "… Vacuum vessel sector #7 is expected to reach the ITER site from Korea in August 2021. This will be the second of nine 440-tonne sectors to enter the sub-assembly process, during which a sector is mounted on specialized tooling in the Assembly Hall to be associated with thermal shielding and a pair of toroidal field coils. The lowering of this second sector sub-assembly into the Tokamak pit is planned for the first half of February 2022…"

  18. But LPP is going for direct conversion because they're tackling such a tough reaction, with such puny output, that they don't dare leave one erg of extractable energy on the table. General Fusion is going for the easy, neutronic reaction which doesn't require such heroic measures to have a chance of success.

  19. Yeah. It's single pass on the plasma, which is injected from outside, with a bit of a buffer sheath around it. The high Z impurities don't have time to penetrate to the region where fusion is supposed to take place before the cycle is done, the plasma is exhausted, and a new batch takes its place, because diffusion across field lines is slow.

    LPP is doing fusion in pinch zones within a gas that remains in the chamber, so the impurities don't get frequently flushed. I suppose they could adopt a similar mechanism.

  20. They never give a simple price per KWh-e retail. If over 1 cent, they are out. LSP is 1 cent before cheap Musk rockets. Thermal steam generation costs that much with *free* energy. I would rather have my rectenna blow down than have to fix my local fusion reactor.

  21. I prefer the aesthetic of direct conversion that LPP has going for it, over the the outdated tackiness of Rankine cycle heat engines. Direct conversion is just the thing for the interplanetary Yacht I'm planning. I'll likely use the alpha particles created as my main engine reaction mass.
    I prefer not having to deal with those Philistine 14 MeV neutrons making trouble where ever they go.

  22. Well their Li-Pb metal doesn't really expand that much when it heats up so no. However they could definitely keep with the theme and use the heat to boil water and use that to drive a piston.

    I mean a fusion powered steam locomotive… how can they say no?

  23. So they are creating small explosions and using the heat to boil water to make electricity.
    Could they not also use the high pressure generated from the explosions to ALSO drive a piston and thus create a fusion engine?

  24. Yes the pistons are sequenced to squeeze the plasma in to a ball.

    Plasmas usually don't like to be squeezed in to a ball.

  25. I see too many scary parallels with GF squeezing their plasma and LPP pinching their plasma. Seeing how much high Z impurities in the plasma hurt LPP I am doubtful that steampunk smashing will overcome the high Z impurities in GF's plasma due to Li-Pb being in the chamber at vapor pressure.

    Then again this is so obvious that it must have been considered already.

  26. You had me at steampunk fusion. Is the liquid metal sodium? Will the steam pistons be sequenced to optimize and shape the plasma? It should be interesting best of luck.

  27. "General Fusion does not need to demonstrate fusion containment because
    they are a pulsed power system like a diesel engine or steampunk fusion."

    Nah. All fusion reactors need containment, even bombs are contained by the fact that it takes a finite amount of time for them to blow up. All they've gotten here is that they don't need long term containment.

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