The Rise of Private Fusion
Written by Tim Lash, Focus Fusion Society Contributor.
Historically, governments and universities were centers of cutting edge research. They were the primary types of institutions that could bear the risk of the most ambitious plans. Now a new type of venture is rising. Privately funded research facilities whose path is unexplored but who hold the potential for great rewards. Fusion research exhibits this trend. LPPFusion, Tri-Alpha Energy, General Fusion and Hellion are all privately funded groups pursuing fusion energy. Following the recent announcement of LLPFusion’s WeFunder campaign comes news of a British company, First Light Fusion, obtaining new venture funding.
First Light Fusion (FLF) hopes to harness fusion power via a novel inertial confinement technique. Using proprietary computer simulation, they predict fusion reactions using intense shock waves to collapse pockets of fusion fuel. These gas filled cavities collapse in an asymmetric manner. Such collapse leads to regions of very high temperature and compression. FLF hopes to use the resulting plasma instabilities to generate fusion reactions. Using inherent plasma instabilities follows the LPPFusion approach to plasma control. FLF captured experimental video that confirms their computational model.
First Light Fusion Ltd spun off from the University of Oxford in July 2011. Seed capital came from the IP Group plc, Parkwalk Advisors Ltd and many Angel investors. Until May 2014, the company was named Oxyntix Ltd. Based in Oxford, First Light Fusion employs a team of engineers and physicists. They also collaborate with several academic organisations, including the University of Oxford, Warwick University, UCL and Imperial College, London. The most recent funding came from the University of Oxford’s venture fund.