Helion Tentra reactor — HelionEnergy.com

We Could Get Commercial Fusion Power By 2024

One company could soon revolutionise the world.

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Fusion reactors are the ultimate in clean energy. Put in hydrogen, one of the most abundant elements in the Universe, squish these particles together into helium and get out an enormous amount of energy. The only waste product can be safely stored away in party balloons. Fusion is so clean that it makes wind, wave and solar energy appear dirty with their extensive use of space and toxic chemicals. But, whilst we have had machines that fuse hydrogen for decades, we struggle to extract energy from them. We can’t even recover the energy used to start the fusion! The slow progress has confined fusion power to the realms of futurists and science fiction writers, but this may soon change. Helion, a private company, just raised half a billion dollars to create a useable commercial fusion reactor by 2024, and it looks like they can hit that target!

So who are Helion? They are a fusion power startup that began back in 2013 and has been funded by Silicon Valley giants like Peter Theil of PayPal fame and Y Combinator, a startup investment company that helped launch Air BnB, Stripe and Coinbase. But government bodies such as NASA, the US Department Of Energy and the US Department Of Defence have also poured cash into this venture.

This butt tonne of funding was enough for the tiny startup to develop a novel fusion reactor, prove it can work and scale it to 95% efficiency (getting 95% of the energy used to create a fusion back), making it one of the most efficient reactors around!

Inside Helion’s Tentra reactor — HelionEnergy.com

But how do they achieve such a high efficiency? And why are they able to make a commercial fusion reactor by 2024?

Well, it is all to do with this novel reactor’s design and the staggering advantages they have been able to squeeze from it.

Most fusion reactors are either ‘magnetic confinement’ or ‘inertial confinement’. The famous Tokamak is of the magnetic confinement type, a doughnut of magnets that push hydrogen together with such force that they fuse. In contrast, the National Ignition Facility (NIF) is an…

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Will Lockett
Predict

Independent journalist covering global politics, climate change and technology. Get articles early at www.planetearthandbeyond.co