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Fusion Startups Step in to Realize Decades-Old Clean Power Dream


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General Fusion's Prototype Compression System

The Canadian startup General Fusions prototype compression system includes a mini sphere and 14 full-size pistons.

Credit: Kristopher Grunert

Startups are trying to make clean fusion-generated electricity a reality by designing systems for squeezing atoms together, partly enabled by computing innovations. First Light Fusion founder Nick Hawker uses advanced computer modeling to find fusion solutions, inspired by his work at the U.K.'s University of Oxford.

Hawker employed sophisticated algorithms and powerful processors to demonstrate how forceful bubble implosions could trigger massively high temperatures for fusion, and his company is building machines to test those models and develop a prototype generator. First Light uses computers to plan reactors that use physical compression to trigger the collapsing bubbles, simulating super-fast shockwaves through advances in processing power, modeling, and machine learning.

Said Hawker, "Just a bigger computer isn't enough."

From The Wall Street Journal
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