A major milestone for First Light Fusion: a unique pulsed power device

An abstract image to illustrate the concept of energy generation by First Light Fusion
© iStock/coffeekai

First Light Fusion is a spin-out from the University of Oxford. They have reached another major milestone in their building and tested of a unique pulsed power device.

First Light Fusion is researching energy generation via inertial fusion. The pulsed power device has been called Machine 3. Machine 3 is the world’s largest device for researching inertial fusion energy.

When will Machine 3 be demonstrated?

First Light Fusion is aiming to demonstrate the use of Machine 3 by the middle of 2019. They have targeted 2024 as the year in which the machine will achieve a gain, or in other words, when the machine will generate more energy than it uses to spark a reaction.

First Light Fusion

Nicholas Hawker, the founder and CEO of FLF commented: “This is another major milestone for First Light Fusion. Commissioning of Machine 3 has been completed and performance has been confirmed to meet the design specification. We have now started our experimental campaigns. These will culminate in the first demonstration of fusion from one of our target designs. These targets have many elements and we are holding ourselves to a very high scientific standard, verifying operation of each element in isolation and cross-comparing with simulation predictions at all stages. We are confident we will show fusion this year. After fusion, the next phase is to show energy gain, which we aim to complete by 2024.”

He added: “In parallel we are working on the reactor concept and on the commercial aspects of the technology. Our technology is uniquely scalable and we believe we can see a clear pathway to the first reactors producing power. We must be led by the science and there is still a lot to do, but if we can find the target that works with our reactor design, fusion would not be ‘always 30 years away’ – we could make it happen much faster than that.”

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