General Fusion and University of Lisbon Collaborate on State-of-the-Art Diagnostic for LM26 Plasma Injector

RICHMOND, British Columbia, Dec. 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — General Fusion and the University of Lisbon’s Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) have announced a collaboration agreement, through the University’s Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN) research unit, to develop a key diagnostic for the company’s Magnetized Target Fusion technology. The custom diagnostic, being built in both Canada and Portugal, will unlock valuable new data about plasma density in General Fusion’s PI3 plasma injector before its plasmas are compressed in the company’s ground-breaking fusion demonstration, Lawson Machine 26 (LM26).

Plasmas must reach sufficient density, temperature, and energy confinement time for fusion to occur. Together, these factors make up the Lawson criterion, or the triple product. Density – one of the factors in the triple product – is a critical plasma parameter. The specialized device developed by General Fusion and IPFN’s world-leading experts in reflectometer diagnostics will measure plasma density on PI3 and LM26. It will support General Fusion’s robust diagnostics program in preparation for LM26, which is designed to achieve fusion conditions of over 100 million degrees Celsius by 2025, and progress toward scientific breakeven equivalent by 2026.

Uniquely designed for rapid delivery, the back end of the diagnostic is currently being built at the University’s lab in Lisbon, Portugal, with the front-end system underway at General Fusion’s facility in Richmond, Canada. The IPFN team and General Fusion will complete the assembly and installation of the diagnostic on PI3 and start testing ahead of the assembly of LM26.

Quotes:

“Our project with the team at the Instituto Superior Técnico is an excellent example of the rapid innovation going on behind-the-scenes to make world-changing commercial fusion energy a reality,” said Greg Twinney, CEO, General Fusion. “By collaborating with the University of Lisbon, we are broadening our global network of top fusion scientists who are supporting us as we advance our Magnetized Target Fusion technology.”

“General Fusion is a recognized leader in the development of Magnetized Target Fusion, and we’re thrilled to contribute our expertise to their diagnostics program,” said Bruno Soares Gonçalves, President of Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN). “Our team has been involved in fusion research for more than 30 years and is energized by the opportunity to support innovative projects that can push the commercialization of this transformational fusion energy technology, which can deliver the on-demand, zero-emissions power we need for a clean energy future.”

Quick Facts:

  • 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.
  • General Fusion’s 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.
  • General Fusion is fast-tracking its technical progress to provide commercial fusion energy to the grid by the early to mid-2030s. The company’s new LM26 machine, being built at its Richmond headquarters, will integrate the company’s operational PI3 plasma injector with a simplified 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.
  • The University of Lisbon’s IPFN research unit leads the Portuguese participation in the European Fusion programme through EUROfusion, a consortium of national fusion research institutes in the European Union. IPFN has been strongly involved in the development of diagnostics for ITER and DEMO and is one of the largest Portuguese research units in physics.

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 generalfusion.com.

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About Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN)
IPFN is a research unit of the University of Lisbon’s Instituto Superior Técnico with expertise in plasma physics, engineering technologies, controlled fusion, lasers, photonics, and advanced computing. This wide and recognized expertise grants IPFN important participation in landmark large-scale EU research projects and programmes, including EUROfusion, JET, ITER, IFMIF-DONES, ELI, ESA, and FET Open, through scientific and technical collaborations and active presence on their governing boards. IPFN is the sole Portuguese R&D institution in the field of plasma science and engineering and is one of the top physics laboratories in the country (hosting researchers based at different Portuguese universities). It has more than 30 years of experience in fusion R&D. IPFN has the critical mass to foster scientific and technological excellence in an international context, providing a unique setting for world-class research, technology transfer, and advanced training, with the required multidisciplinary to be competitive in the participation of large-scale physics projects. Learn more at www.ipfn.tecnico.ulisboa.pt.

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