First Light Fusion wants to demonstrate fusion using what it says is a unique approach to inertial confinement fusion, which aims to create the extreme temperatures and pressures required for fusion by compressing the fuel inside a target using a projectile travelling at massive speed.
In 2021, the company installed in the UK’s largest two-stage hyper velocity gas gun, which launches projectiles at 6.5 kms per second, or 20 times the speed of sound.
In 2022, First Light Fusion said it wants to speed up its “gain” experiment, in which the amount of energy generated in its proposed process is higher that the energy used to spark the reaction.
First Light has said its approach is safe, clean, virtually limitless and 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 such as deuterium and tritium can be produced in abundance from water. Unlike many other fusion approaches, First Light’s power plant can be realised with existing technology and materials.
First Light Fusion was spun out from the University of Oxford in July 2011, with seed capital from IP Group, Parkwalk Advisors Ltd and private investors. Invesco and OSI provided follow-on capital.