- Long term collaboration agreement to develop the reactor chamber for a commercial projectile fusion power plant
OXFORD, England, July 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — First Light Fusion, the Oxford-based fusion energy pioneer, has entered a long-term collaboration agreement with IDOM, one of the world’s largest and most well-renowned engineering firms, to develop engineering plans for a critical part of its pilot power plant.
First Light is working with the engineering services leaders on the design of a fusion reactor chamber, as part of its plans to design and build a pilot fusion energy power plant, based on its unique target and projectile technology. IDOM will work closely with First Light’s experimental physics and engineering teams to scope the design and provide detailed design analysis and options for the reactor head, the reactor vessel, and its components.
Designing the reactor chamber forms a vital step in First Light’s plan to launch a pilot plant in the next decade, as part of the company’s roadmap for delivering commercial fusion by the 2040s. Once finalised, the kind of reactor being designed with the collaboration of IDOM will be the first of its kind, built specifically for a First Light commercial power plant.
First Light has successfully worked with IDOM over the last 12 months on specific project work. This longer-term agreement to develop a fusion reactor chamber will stretch over several years. Headquartered in Spain, IDOM is one of the most respected firms of its kind in the global fusion industry and has worked on a number of other significant fusion projects for public and private clients. This collaboration is led by IDOM UK based in Manchester.
The partnership follows First Light’s announcement in April, when it confirmed to have achieved fusion for the first time using its unique projectile approach. The company achieved fusion having spent less than £45 million, with a rate of performance improvement faster than any other fusion scheme in history.
After demonstrating fusion earlier this year, First Light’s plans for a ‘gain’ demonstrator – whereby the amount of energy generated outstrips that used to spark the reaction – are advancing rapidly. First Light believes that once it has achieved gain, the next major problem to solve commercial fusion becomes an engineering, rather than a physics one – and is working with IDOM on solving a number of those challenges.
First Light is working towards a pilot plant producing ~150 MW of electricity and costing less than $1 billion in the 2030s. The company’s power plant design involves the target being injected into the reaction chamber, and the projectile launched downwards through the same entrance, so it catches up with and impacts the target at the right moment (see: https://firstlightfusion.com/technology/power-plant).
First Light differs from other players by taking a simple approach to fusion, which it believes will accelerate the journey to commercial fusion. This is because it can leverage a large amount of existing engineering to realise its proposed plant design, sidestepping some of the most difficult issues of fusion engineering.
Dr Nick Hawker, Co-Founder & CEO of First Light Fusion, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating long term with IDOM, which is well-renowned worldwide for its capabilities and expertise in fusion. Bringing together our teams will accelerate our progress, enabling us to deliver a pilot power plant in the next decade. The reactor chamber is a critical piece of the jigsaw puzzle for bringing commercial fusion to the market. Designing and developing a commercial fusion power plant is a great challenge, but our approach is all about simplicity, and we believe our projectile technology offers the fastest path to power generation from fusion.”
David Zaragoza, Manager of the Fusion Business of IDOM, said: “First Light have proven their unique projectile technology has the potential to deliver fusion. We are excited to work together to design a reactor chamber. This is in line with our mission to support the development of new approaches to fusion and deliver a fusion power plant to the grid as quickly as we can.”
For more information, please contact:
First Light Fusion Ltd
Gianluca Pisanello, Chief Operating Officer
+44 (0) 1865 807 670
Powerscourt Group (Public Relations Adviser)
+44 (0) 20 7250 1446
About First Light Fusion
First Light Fusion was spun out from the University of Oxford in 2011 to address the urgent need to decarbonise the global energy system. First Light’s inertial confinement approach aims to create the extreme temperatures and pressures required for fusion by compressing a target using a hypervelocity projectile. First Light’s approach to fusion, which is safe, clean, and virtually limitless, has the potential to transform the world’s energy system. Unlike existing nuclear, there is no long-lived waste, no meltdown risk, and raw materials can be found in abundance.
IDOM is an independent, employee-owned consulting firm. The multi-disciplinary team of engineers working in IDOM’s Fusion Business is collaborating in different disciplines with multiple public and private actors aiming at achieving fusion energy production.