UK fusion project receives government funding

7 December 2018

UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and First Light Fusion, Oxford University’s fusion spin-out, are collaborating on the ‘Fusion Island’ project, which is partly funded by a grant from Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), First Light announced on 6 December.

First Light Fusion is planning to demonstrate fusion by the middle of 2019. The company plans to show gain – generating more energy than that required to create fusion reactions – by 2024. No fusion energy project has so far achieved this.

A crucial step in the development of First Light’s vision is the creation of a ‘fusion island’, a sub-system that converts fusion energy into heat and manages fuel supply in a fusion plant. Supported by an Energy Entrepreneurs Fund grant of £93,000 ($118,000) from BEIS, a £135,000 fusion island concept development project is now underway involving collaboration with the UKAEA facility at Culham.

The Energy Entrepreneurs Fund is a competitive funding scheme designed to support the development and demonstration of state of the art technologies, products and processes in the areas of energy efficiency, power generation and heat and electricity storage.

ick Hawker, Founder and CEO of First Light Fusion said: “We are excited to work together with UKAEA on the fusion island concept….We are delighted that BEIS has recognised the quality, value and credibility of the work we have done so far.”

In July, First Light Fusion successfully fired the first test ‘shot’ on one of the six limbs of its newly-constructed pulsed power machine (Machine 3) and in September tested three-limb shots. The machine is currently being commissioned ahead of schedule.

First Light Fusion, founded by Prof Yiannis Ventikos and Dr Nicholas Hawker, was spun out of the University of Oxford in 2011.

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