People have asked us—how can we expect to go rapidly from where we are to net energy—when we get more energy out of the device than we put in. So we are going to show you the math. Here’s our plan:
Phase 1: Research to Achieve Net Energy Production in a Laboratory Device
Right now, our task in 2020 is to move our fusion yield up from the one quarter of a joule (J) we have achieved to the 30,000 J we need to get more energy out of the device than we put into it. This sounds like a huge jump. But it is feasible. Let’s do the numbers!
First, we are talking about a very small amount of energy in total. Our goal of 30 kJ (30,000J) per shot is less than the energy you get from eating 3 pistachios.
Second, we are a lot closer than any other private fusion effort. TAE, our closest rival, has to increase their yield a thousand times more than we do.
Third, our process gives us a lot of leverage to convert small gains in compression to large gains in yield. Our device produces a tiny ball of ultra-hot plasma called a “plasmoid”. We have already gotten this plasmoid to the more than 2 BILLION degrees temperature we need. But we have to make it denser. Fortunately for every factor of two we improve the compression, and thus decrease the plasmoid radius, we get a factor of four increase in density. For every factor of four increase in density, we get a factor of 16 increase in fusion yield. In mathematical terms, yield goes up as the compression ratio to the fourth power.
a 3-fold increase in compression will give us a 75-fold increase in yield
a 2-fold increase in current will give us a 16-fold increase in yield
switching to pB11 fuel will give us a 100-fold increase in yield
¼ Jx75x16x100= 30kJ. This is how we can make a huge jump—in not too many steps.
Phase 2. Developing a Working Prototype Generator Ready for Manufacture
In Phase 2, we will develop the Focus Fusion device as a repetitively pulsed generator, pulsing up to a few hundred times a second, develop the conversion devices to convert the ion beams and X- rays to electricity, and perfect the cooling system and general electrical control system. We will also optimize the fusion energy generation efficiency. At the end of Phase 2, which we estimate will take another 3 - 4 years, we plan to have the world’s first functioning fusion generator producing 5 MW of net electricity. It will be ready for mass-production. We estimate the budget for this phase to be about $100 million, to be raised from a combination of government and private sources.
Phase 3: Commercialization
We believe that the fastest and lowest-risk method of generating income from the fusion generator is through selling non-exclusive licenses on the technology. We will be protecting its intellectual property rights with a series of patents. Likely initial licenses agreements will be with large international companies already in the power generation sector and with large governmental energy organizations. The up-front money from the sale of such licenses will generate a relatively large income stream initially that will be supplemented when royalties being to flow after actual production is begun. We also intend to initiate our own production facilities in order to have the manufacturing expertise needed to aid licenses.
Our plan is that, early in Phase 3 when we have reached profitability, we will organize an IPO to become a public company.
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