Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jeff Bezos Invests in Nuclear Fusion. (AMZN)

As the truism goes, "commercial fusion has been 20 years away for the last 50 years".
From Greentech:
General Fusion gets $19.5 million. But we’re still waiting for that technological demonstration. 

Jeff Bezos Invests in Nuclear Fusion. But When’s the Demo?
General Fusion, a Canadian company that wants to harness fusion power, said it has raised $19.5 million from Bezos Expeditions (the personal VC fund for Jeff Bezos) in a second round that will help it create a demonstration of its technology.

General uses a technique called Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF). In this scenario, an electric current is generated in a conductive cavity containing lithium and a plasma. The electric current produces a magnetic field and the cavity is collapsed, which results in a massive temperature spike.

The lithium breaks down into helium and tritium. Tritium, an unstable form of hydrogen, is separated and then mixed with deuterium, another form of hydrogen. The two fuse and make helium, a reaction that releases energy that can be harvested. So in short, lithium, a fairly inexpensive and plentiful metal, gets converted to helium in a reaction that generates lots of power and leaves only a harmless gas as a byproduct. MTF has an advantage over other fusion techniques in that the plasma only has to stay at thermonuclear temperatures (150 million degrees Celsius) for a microsecond for a reaction to occur.

They also used to have a really cool picture of a dinosaur on the website. Today's picture is an artist's rendering of General's technology....MORE