Vancouver energy company General Fusion has been awarded funding from the United States (US) Department of Energy to work with two US national laboratories and advance its magnetized target fusion technology for use in commercial fusion power plants.
The funding was made through the Office of Fusion Energy Science’s Innovation Network for Fusion Energy (INFUSE) program, and will be used for General Fusion’s partnerships with the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
Awards doled out through the INFUSE program are not made directly to applicants, but are provided to laboratories or universities to help eligible private companies overcome scientific and technological challenges in the pursuit of fusion energy. In all cases, a 20 percent cost share is applied, calculated based on the full project cost.
A General Fusion spokesperson told BetaKit that the two projects total approximately $364,000 USD, which includes funding from the INFUSE program and contributions from General Fusion. The company has received four INFUSE funding awards in the past three years, with these projects totalling more than $800,000 USD.
Founded in 2002 by Michel Laberge, General Fusion’s aim is to shift the world’s energy supply by developing a fast, practical, and cost-competitive path to commercial fusion power. Fusion power is a proposed form of power generation that generates electricity by using heat from nuclear fusion reactions.
General Fusion claims that fusion is a limitless, clean, emission-free, and cost-competitive alternative for power generation.
With funding from the US Department of Energy, General Fusion will work with SRNL to advance tritium production within the company’s fusion machine. Through this partnership with SRNL, General Fusion will model its tritium fuel cycle and the total inventory of tritium required for its future commercial power plant.
Engineering work is currently underway for General Fusion’s Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP), which will be based in the United Kingdom. With operations set to begin in 2027, General Fusion touts this power plant as the world’s largest and most capable prototype for a magnetized target fusion power plant.
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Expanding its partnership with ORNL, General Fusion will be tapping into the laboratory’s supercomputing capabilities to enable high-fidelity study of the planned FDP.
“We’re working with General Fusion to provide expertise on GPU porting and performance on the [Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility] systems,” said Mark Berrill, principal investigator at ORNL. “Development work will further benefit the larger fusion community by enabling new capabilities in the open-source code.”
Under previous INFUSE funding partnerships, General Fusion developed computer models and performed physical tests in collaboration with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to provide insights into the development of the FDP.
General Fusion previously raised $166 million CAD in Series E financing last November, following another $85 million CAD Series E round in 2019. In 2018, General Fusion also announced a $49.3 million investment from the Government of Canada.
Featured image from General Fusion’s website.