Fusion cannon will fire a 1 billion G projectile at a fusion fuel pellet
Inertial Fusion vs Magnetic Fusion
First Light Fusion calls its approach inertial fusion. The company claims it is closer to achieving net energy production — producing more energy than is needed to run the necessary machinery — on a commercial scale than tokamak reactor alternatives. In April, it even announced that it had achieved merger, declare that it made the breakthrough “faster and cheaper than traditional fusion approaches.”
“Net energy gain has been demonstrated with inertial fusion, but the driver was, rather than a laser, an underground weapons test,” CEO Nick Hawker told Newsweek in an interview. “So there’s that empirical evidence that you can get a high energy gain with inertial fusion.” However, Hawker notes that First Light Fusion’s work would not have been possible without the collective knowledge gained through the industry’s work with tokamaks. Ultimately, however, he believes that inertial fusion “bypasses” the challenges faced by companies developing tokamak reactors.
Comparing tokamak reactors to inertial fusion, Hawker added that “magnetic fusion is like a furnace. It’s an always active hot process because the particles go around the donut. While inertial fusion is more like an internal combustion engine. It’s a pulsed process where you have a repetition rate and the energy per event multiplied by the frequency gives you the power.”
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