Following the recent announcement of fusion energy breakeven at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence in California, Longview Fusion Energy Systems has announced plans to build the world’s first laser fusion power plant.
Achievement of fusion ignition, that is, the creation of more energy output from a fusion reaction than that used to cause it, was brought about by NIF, the world’s most energetic laser, which compressed deuterium to a density 100 times greater than lead at a temperature of 100 million degrees, similar to the fusion conditions in the centres of stars.
Longview’s power plants will combine the NIF’s laser fusion breakthrough with modern, efficient lasers and a patented design to replicate these conditions several hundred times a minute – repetitive pulses delivering energy at a level of nearly one million kW.
The Longview team, led by Dr Edward Moses and Ms Valerie Roberts, brought about the successful delivery of the NIF fusion facility. Longview has been working with a broad partnership of US industry, utilities, academic, national laboratories, and strategic investors over the past 18 months to design a power plant based on the physics that has now been proven at the NIF.
Dr Moses commented: “Longview has been working quietly in anticipation of this day – which is historic by all measures. We knew that when breakeven was achieved, it would be too late to begin to plan for full-scale commercialisation. Today is the ‘day after,’ and we are here to ensure the world will have a carbon-free option in time to make a difference.”
Image: Artist's impression of the fusion ignition achieved at LLNL's National Ignition Facility (courtesy of LLNL)