Bruce Power Signs Partners to Explore Fusion Plant

  • Canada’s Bruce Power Signs Partners for Fusion Plant in Ontario
  • Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Partners with France-based Renaissance Fusion
  • Kyoto Fusioneering Secures $11.7M For Fusion Work
  • Marvel Fusion Gets €35 Million Series A Funding

Bruce Power Signs Partners to Explore Fusion Plant

types-of-fusion-tech_thumbNuclear utility Bruce Power, which is one of Canada’s major electric power utilities, has signed an agreement with General Fusion, a startup based in Vancouver, BC, Canada, and the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII), a nonprofit technology accelerator. also based in Ontario.

The objective of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) among the three organizations, is to evaluate the potential for construction and deployment of a fusion energy power plant in Ontario, including in the tri-county Clean Energy Frontier region of Bruce, Grey and Huron and in a timeframe located in the 2030s.  (Press Release)

The first step for the team is to carry out stakeholder and public outreach activities to raise awareness of the transformative potential of powering Canadian homes, businesses, and industry with zero-carbon, reliable, and affordable fusion energy.

Eventually, the team members will get to the point where they will apply a preferred set of site characteristics for a commercial scale fusion plant. In the UK the UKAEA is currently looking at five such sites for a similar use. The development of site selection criteria for a fusion energy plant is still a work in progress, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from working out how they could be defined and used.

Bruce Power

For Bruce Power, the MOU represents one way the company is looking to advance new clean energy technologies.

“In order to achieve a net-zero future here in Ontario, and Canada, we need to continue expanding the clean electricity production of our existing facilities and will need innovation as part of the future,” said Mike Rencheck, President and CEO, Bruce Power.

“Our partnership will explore these innovations and leverage the established capability in this region as a home to new technologies that will contribute to a carbon-free future.”

Bruce Power is the licensed operator of the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, located on the shores of Lake Huron, 250 km northwest of Toronto, between the towns of Kincardine and Saugeen Shores.  (map)

Bruce Power operates eight nuclear reactors on the shores of Lake Huron. With those eight units in operation, the facility has a capacity of 6,400 MWe and supplies nearly 30% of the electricity used in Ontario’s provincial power grid.

General Fusion

General Fusion is a private company which has plans to build a commercial fusion power plant based on Magnetised Target Fusion (MTF) technology. This technical approach involves injecting hydrogen plasma into a liquid metal sphere, where it is compressed and heated so that fusion occurs.  (video)

General Fusion is building a Fusion Demonstration Plant to confirm the performance and economics of its Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) technology at a power-plant-relevant scale. A Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) at the Culham Campus near Oxford in the UK is scheduled to be operational in 2025, and the company says it aims to bring commercial scale units to the world’s energy systems by the early 2030s.

According to World Nuclear News, construction of the FDP, which General Fusion says will be “the largest privately funded MTF prototype in history” is to begin in 2022. The demonstration plant will be used to prove the viability of the MTF technology and is a 70%-scaled version of the commercial pilot plant. It will create fusion conditions in a “power-plant relevant” environment but will not be used to produce power.

The MOU with Bruce Power indicates that a location in the same general area as its nuclear reactor power station could be a potential site for a commercial scale fusion energy plant and that Bruce Power could, potentially, be the utility to own and operate it.

Christofer Mowry, CEO, General Fusion. “We look forward to advancing this partnership to help meet Canada’s climate targets and the increasing electricity needs of Canadians.”

“This landmark MOU provides a framework in which Canada’s energy leaders can benefit from each other’s technology innovations and expertise to lead the way in adopting fusion power in Ontario and across Canada.”

Nuclear Innovation Institute

Bruce Wallace, President and CEO, of the the third partner in the MOU, the Nuclear Innovation Institute, said, “As we seek innovative solutions to combat climate change, the tri-county region of Bruce, Grey and Huron is well positioned to build on its existing strengths as the Clean Energy Frontier. NII’s Clean Energy Frontier program has a network of more than 60 clean energy companies in the tri-county region who are committed to advancing Canada’s net-zero goals.”

& & &

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Partners with France-based Renaissance Fusion

(WNN) Grenoble, France-based Renaissance Fusion aims to put fusion energy from stellarator-based devices on the grid in the next 13 years or by 2035. A newly announced public-private partnership between the company’s US affiliate, Renaissance Fusion America, and three scientists at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

PPPL aims to further speed the development of the technology by generating an open-source dataset of stellarator configurations that scientists around the world can use to train their own models and advance artificial intelligence research in stellarators.

PPPL said in its statement that stellarators, like tokamaks, are devices for the magnetic confinement of fusion plasmas. Unlike tokamaks, they have no toroidal plasma current, meaning that they offer increased plasma stability compared with tokamaks.

Because the burning plasma can be more easily controlled and monitored, stellarators have an intrinsic potential for steady-state, continuous operation. This makes stellarators potentially easier to operate than tokamaks, but their greater complexity makes them more difficult and expensive to design and build.

Developing machine-learning software to speed up predictions of the loss of alpha particles from fusion reactions should enable designers to quickly enhance the shape, or geometry, of stellarator magnetic fields to improve alpha particle confinement, PPPL said.

The year-long collaboration is sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s Innovation Network for Fusion Energy (INFUSE) program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, launched in 2015 to accelerate fusion energy development in the private sector by reducing impediments to collaboration involving the expertise and unique resources available at DOE laboratories and universities.

& & &

Kyoto Fusioneering Secures $11.7M For Fusion Work

Kyoto Fusioneering, a fusion energy startup based in Japan has raised 1.33 billion yen (US$ 11.7 million) in its latest round of funding. The oversubscribed series B funding round was supported by existing investors, Coral Capital Co., and underwritten by five new investors from some of Japan’s top VC firms (in alphabetical order): Daiwa Corporate Investment, DBJ Capital, JAFCO Group, JGC MIRAI Innovation Fund and JIC Venture Growth Investments. This capital increase brings the total amount of funds raised by Kyoto Fusioneering Ltd. to 1.67 billion yen (US$ 14.7 million).

KF has also secured an 800 million yen ($7 million) debt financing from Bank of Kyoto, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and MUFG Bank.

In 2020 Kyoto Fusioneering was awarded several contracts to support the U.K. government-backed STEP, a prototype reactor, aiming to have it operating by 2040.  These contracts are key to the firm’s future.

James Riney, Founding Partner & CEO of Coral Capital, said: “Climate change is an existential threat to humanity, and a fusion energy future, if achieved, could be the silver bullet that literally saves the world.. While many startups talk about how they want to change the world, this company is actually doing it.”

KF will use the funds acquired through this investment round, as well as the knowledge of its new investors, to accelerate its research and expand the business to capture new areas of the budding fusion technology market.

In particular, KF will use funds for the concentrated development of its plant engineering technologies for plasma heating (gyrotrons) and heat extraction (blankets), which are required for fusion reactor projects currently under development worldwide.

The company can also accelerate its global expansion to recruit talented engineers and business professionals globally, including at its subsidiary in the UK, while at the same time furthering its reach by leveraging existing industrial capabilities unique to Japan.

Kyoto Fusioneering Ltd. was established in October 2019 as a spin-off from Kyoto University. Kyoto Fusioneering is a privately held technology start-up founded in 2019, with its headquarters in Kyoto, Japan.

The company is focused on developing advanced technologies for commercial fusion reactors, including gyrotron systems, tritium fuel cycle technologies, and breeding blankets for tritium production and power generation.

The Fusion Device Information System (FusDIS), developed and maintained by the IAEA, lists 134 fusion technology development efforts worldwide. Of that number, 24 fusion projects are active in Japan second only to the U.S. which has 31.

& & &

Marvel Fusion Gets €35 Million Series A Funding

Munich’s Marvel Fusion has closed a €35 million Series A funding round to fund the development and commercial realization of fusion energy technologies.

Supported by technology partners Siemens Energy, TRUMPF, and Thales, Marvel Fusion is pursuing the usage of short-pulse laser and nanotechnologies to trigger non-thermal nuclear fusion reactions.

The approach is based upon 2018 Nobel Prize-winning work pioneered by Donna Strickland and Gérard Mourou and uses precisely controlled laser energy to accelerate fuel particles through nanostructured targets to trigger a reaction.

Marvel Fusion was founded in 2019 by Moritz von der Linden, Dr. Karl-Georg Schlesinger, Dr. Georg Korn, and Dr. Pasha Shabalin, and the team they have assembled are from backgrounds including nanotechnology, plasma physics, computational science, optics, and short-pulse laser physics.

Marvel Fusion’s €35 million Series A funding round was led by Earlybird and saw participation from PRIMEPULSE, Thistledown Capital, Taavet Hinrikus & Sten Tamkivi (OÜ Notorius), Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Trust, and Heinz Dürr Invest, and other undisclosed investors. Existing investors Hartmut Neven, Albert Wenger, and Possible Ventures also participated in the round. To date, Marvel Fusion has raised a total of €60 million.

“We are currently witnessing a new global spirit of optimism for fusion technologies and – even more importantly – there is a completely new and promising approach for a disruptive, truly clean and uncompromisingly safe fusion technology: Marvel Fusion,” concluded Earlybird’s Hendrik Brandis.

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