May 21, 2020

British Fusion Energy Technology on Show at Key Climate Chan

Bizclik Editor
4 min

- First Light Fusion is exhibiting at the Mission Innovation climate change forum together with the UK Atomic Energy Authority

- Mission Innovation's fourth annual Ministerial gathering (MI-4). MI-4 brings together ministers, business leaders and innovators to share ideas, best practices and to facilitate collaboration towards the development of affordable and sustainable clean energy solutions

OXFORD, England, May 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- First Light Fusion, the fusion energy company spun out from the University of Oxford, will be demonstrating the potential for British technology to tackle climate change in Vancouver next week.

Energy ministers representing the world's biggest emitters of greenhouse gases are attending the Fourth Mission Innovation Ministerial (MI-4), a global forum which explores how technology can propel the transition to a global clean energy economy. The forum runs from 26 – 29 May. A delegation from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is also expected to attend.

Under the overarching CEM10/MI-4 theme of "accelerating progress towards a clean energy future", this year's MI-4 programme is focusing on "Demonstrating Impact and Raising Ambition".

First Light Fusion was founded by Nick Hawker and Professor Yiannis Ventikos in 2011 specifically to address the urgent need to decarbonise the global energy system. At MI-4, First Light will present its work on clean energy generation via a unique form of inertial fusion. First Light's approach creates the extreme temperatures and pressures required for fusion by compressing a target using a projectile travelling at massive speed. The company, which has met all its major milestones, is on track to deliver first fusion in 2019 and to demonstrate 'gain' (whereby the energy created outstrips that used to spark the reaction) by 2024.

First Light Fusion will represent the UK's efforts to create cleaner sources of energy at the showcase alongside the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

Nicholas Hawker, Founder and CEO of FLF said:

"There is a clear need for a new clean baseload technology. Yet the options currently available all have major drawbacks. Fusion can provide a new zero-carbon solution with none of the problems associated with nuclear technology. It is important that energy ministers and policy advisors understand the exciting stage that fusion energy is currently at, and its potential to provide abundant, clean and affordable energy."

First Light Fusion history

First Light Fusion was founded by Professor Yiannis Ventikos, who is currently the Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department at University College, London, and Dr Nicholas Hawker, formerly an Engineering lecturer at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.

The company was spun out from the University of Oxford in July 2011, with seed capital from IP Group plc, Parkwalk Advisors Ltd and private investors. Invesco and OSI provided follow-on capital.

The business has developed from a research-focused university project to a fully-fledged company that has developed not only a strategy for how to make fusion energy work, but also a sustainable business model based on the technology. 

The team comprises experts in relevant scientific and engineering fields plus the management experience necessary to address the challenges which lie ahead. 

The company has been able to attract a world class advisory board, meaning it can benefit from decades of relevant experience to help it streamline the path towards realising its vision.

Inertial Confinement Fusion

First Light uses a high-velocity projectile to create a shockwave to collapse a cavity containing plasma inside a 'target'. The design of these targets is First Light's technical USP. 

The company's approach was inspired by the only example of inertial confinement found on Earth – the pistol shrimp, which clicks its claw to produce a shockwave that stuns its prey. The only other naturally occurring inertial confinement phenomenon is a supernova. The reaction created by the collapsing cavity is what creates energy, which can then be captured and used.

Fusion has already been demonstrated by other approaches. The two most advanced are the tokamak and laser-driven inertial fusion. ITER, being built in the south of France, will be the world's largest tokamak, aiming to demonstrate gain. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California is the world's most energetic laser and is also aiming to demonstrate gain. Both these projects have encountered substantial difficulties, both relating to the fusion process itself but also the complexity of the engineering required. First Light must demonstrate fusion before then undertaking an equivalent gain-scale experiment. However, if First Light succeeds in the fundamental demonstration of fusion, the pathway to gain and a power plant is potentially much simpler, quicker and cheaper than the mainstream approaches. 

First Light's approach to fusion, which is safe, clean and virtually limitless (with the source of energy drawn from the deuterium contained in sea water), has the potential to transform the world's energy supply when it will be applied successfully to power generation. Unlike existing nuclear power, there is no long-lived waste and raw materials can be found in abundance. As demand for alternatives to carbon-based energy grows, mainstream scientists and research institutions are looking to fusion power to answer the world's energy requirements. 

For more information please contact:

First Light Fusion Ltd

Gianluca Pisanello, Chief Operating Officer 

Powerscourt Group (Public Relations Adviser)
Steve Marinker, Ben Griffiths, Peter Ogden

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