Written by Shaweta Saini

General Fusion, a nuclear-fusion energy startup company located in British Columbia, Canada, is in the process of developing nuclear fusion technology in order to provide affordable, environmentally-friendly energy. Although it was founded in 2002, it took longer for the company to make serious progress in its initiative to create such energy.   In 2007, General Fusion received approximately C$1.2 million in financing from a venture capital company, Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, which greatly assisted its capacity to acquire resources appropriate for building nuclear-fusion technology. Currently headed by CEO Doug Richardson, General Fusion has currently been focusing on implementing Magnetized Target Fusion.

This year, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, invested $19.5 million into General Fusion. Such an enormous investment has huge implications for the company in the pursuit of its goals: now, General Fusion has set an accelerated date of 2013 to successfully implement Magnetized Target Fusion. Essentially, Magnetized Target Fusion is a process that produces fusion power by using a magnetic field and plasma to break lithium down into helium and tritium. Then, the two elements are separated and mixed with deuterium, which is consequently fused into the element helium.  The fusion produces enormous amounts of energy, which have the added bonuses of no radioactive waste, greenhouse gas emissions, or pollution. Such energy can be channeled into building power plants at a lower cost than using normal energy.

Currently, General Fusion is in the process of fully developing Magnetized Target Fusion and integrating it into the energy industry by 2013. In terms of the future, however, the company plans to commercialize their fusion energy by the end of the decade. Development of fusion energy has the potential to be truly revolutionary because of the implications it holds in terms of how the world uses energy: fusion energy suggests that energy would always be affordable and plentiful. Thus, it would never run out, which would suit the needs of today’s rapidly growing population and economy. Furthermore, the fact that it has no repercussions on the environment is important – if fusion energy does become commercialized by the end of the decade, then it will effectively reduce and even altogether eliminate the negative effects that energy used today has on the environment. Though General Fusion is nowhere near to having a completed product, the exorbitant investment by Jeff Bezos shows that there is tremendous potential for the project, and if properly executed, it could certainly go a long way.  



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