General Fusion Announces Funding to Build New Fusion Machine Targeting Scientific Breakeven by 2026
RICHMOND, British Columbia, Aug. 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, General Fusion announced a new Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) machine that will fast-track the company's technical progress. To be built at the company's new Richmond headquarters, this ground-breaking machine is designed to achieve fusion conditions of over 100 million degrees Celsius by 2025, and progress toward scientific breakeven by 2026. In addition, the company completed the first close of its Series F raise for a combined $25 million USD (approximately $33.5 million CAD) of funding. The round was anchored by existing investors, BDC Capital and GIC. It also included new grant funding from the Government of British Columbia, which builds upon the Canadian government’s ongoing support through the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF).
This machine represents a significant new pillar to accelerate and de-risk General Fusion's Demonstration Program, designed to leverage the company's recent technological advancements and provide electricity to the grid with commercial fusion energy by the early to mid-2030s.
Called Lawson Machine 26 (LM26), the MTF demonstration is designed to be cost-efficient and produce results quickly using General Fusion’s unique approach to fusion. LM26 will validate the company’s ability to symmetrically compress magnetized plasmas in a repeatable manner and achieve fusion conditions at scale. The machine will integrate General Fusion’s existing operational plasma injector (PI3) with a new lithium liner compression system. PI3 is the culmination of 24 predecessor prototypes and over 200,000 plasma experiments. It is one of the world’s largest and most powerful operational plasma injectors, having already demonstrated plasma temperatures of five million degrees Celsius, along with 10 millisecond self-sustaining energy confinement time. Both are critical steppingstones to achieving LM26’s target of fusion conditions in 2025 and equivalent scientific breakeven in 2026.
Over the next two to three years, General Fusion will work closely with the UK Atomic Energy Authority to validate the data gathered from LM26 and incorporate it into the design of the company's planned commercial scale demonstration in the UK.
General Fusion's MTF technology is unique in the fusion market. Unlike others, it was designed to scale for cost-efficient power plants from its inception by deliberately avoiding the pitfalls of other approaches that require expensive superconducting magnets or high-powered lasers. As a result, the path to generating zero-carbon electricity for the grid is shorter for General Fusion than other approaches, which still need to address longstanding barriers to the commercialization of fusion, such as machine durability (i.e., the “first wall” issue), fuel production, simple energy conversion, and commercial production economics.
“Our government is committed to fighting climate change and achieving net-zero by 2050. Our support in General Fusion will help position Canada as a world leader in fusion energy technology,” said The Honourable François-Phillipe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
“Our government is building on our thriving knowledge and innovation-based economy to create good, sustainable jobs for all British Columbians,” said Brenda Bailey, B.C. Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “B.C.’s $5-million (CAD) contribution to General Fusion’s energy project will support a sustainable and resilient economy and advance fusion research in our province.”
"Our updated three-year Fusion Demonstration Program puts us on the best path forward to commercialize our technology by the 2030s," said Greg Twinney, CEO, General Fusion. "We’re harnessing our team’s existing strengths right here in Canada and delivering high-value, industry-leading technical milestones in the near term.”
“I founded General Fusion driven by a commitment to fundamentally transform the world’s energy grid with zero-carbon energy. The only way to do this, and fight climate change, is with a practical and affordable approach to fusion energy – Magnetized Target Fusion,” said Dr. Michel Laberge, Founder and Chief Science Officer. “Every decision we make at General Fusion comes back to this commitment.”
“Over 20 years, General Fusion has achieved significant technical milestones, and validated all key elements of the MTF approach including plasma stability, temperature, and compression,” said Zoltan Tompa, Senior Partner, BDC Capital’s Climate Tech Fund II. “The new LM26 machine represents a capital efficient steppingstone to de-risk their Fusion Demonstration Program while accelerating the delivery of critical milestones such as fusion conditions and energy breakeven.”
- Fusion energy is the ultimate clean energy solution – it is the energy source that powers the sun and stars. Fusion is the process by which two light nuclei merge to form a heavier one, producing a massive amount of energy.
- Magnetized Target Fusion uniquely sidesteps challenges to commercialization that other technologies face. The game-changer is a proprietary liquid metal liner in the commercial fusion machine that is mechanically compressed by high-powered pistons. This enables fusion conditions to be created in short pulses rather than creating a sustained reaction. General Fusion’s design does not require large superconducting magnets or an expensive array of lasers.
- LM26’s plasmas will be approximately 50 percent scale of a commercial fusion machine. It is designed to reach fusion conditions of over 100 million degrees Celsius (10 keV). It aims to achieve deuterium-tritium breakeven equivalent using deuterium fuel.
- Reference to breakeven in the context of LM26 refers to the deuterium-tritium breakeven equivalent using deuterium fuel, an industry-standard approach.
About General Fusion
General Fusion is pursuing a fast and practical approach to commercial fusion energy and is headquartered in Richmond, Canada. The company was established in 2002 and is funded by a global syndicate of leading energy venture capital firms, industry leaders, and technology pioneers. Learn more at www.generalfusion.com.
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