Competition: Comparing 12 Energy Technologies
Competition with the hot fusion approaches of competitors can be accomplished either with neutronic or aneutronic fusion. Of the forty or so competitors in the Fusion Industry Association >90% of them are using neutronic (radiation producing) fusion approaches. These fusion competitor design approaches generate neutrons that create heat and steam which subsequently drives a steam turbine with an electric generator before power can be deliver to the grid. This balance of station requirement for competition is a huge ongoing maintenance as well as an upfront purchase expense that is not necessary. EFS’s LEEF fusion technology is direct to electricity design that bypasses the the competition’s complexity, size and expense of those competitors.
EFS believes that competitors neutronic fusion technological approach is doomed to financial and technical failure for a wide variety of reasons listed below:
- Fundamentally, the competition is not cost-effective even when compared to traditional renewables, such as solar, wind, even natural gas power plants or the newer smaller scale fission power plants of tomorrow. See the table below for 3rd party comparisons from credible organizations.
- Competitors require rare, expensive, nearly impossible to get fuels: Tritium or Helium3 fusion fuels. There is substantial, regulatory, logistics issues with these tritium fuels.
- Competitors are years perhaps decades from being on the grid delivering electricity via their own publicly stated timelines.
- The installations will be massive, the size of a house on the small end to the size of an industrial park with prohibitive near billion dollar capital expenses. Can third world countries afford such expense?
- The fusion research community relies on derived empirical scaling laws for energy fusion confinement times in their fusion reactor designs, rather than real experimental data. They will keep trying, however, the paper below lays out the conundrums they face in technical detail.
- The electron kinetic energy power loss from spontaneous electron cyclotron radiation is the key loss mechanism in a magnetically confined fusion plasma with no solution at hand.
- The challenges of magnetically compressing and containing a fusion plasma are unsolved and challenging.
- Traditional fusion science has sixty years of science and about $50 billion dollars invested and they have not solved the problem. Traditional fusion approaches historically are an utter failure, novel (outside the mainstream) thinking is required for a breakthrough.
12 Energy Technology Comparisons - from ARPA-e Submission
|Electric Fusion Systems||$ 900||$ 5||Excellent|
|Fusion (large stationary reactor)||$ 3,940||$ 25||Poor|
|On-Shore Wind Turbines||$ 1,846||$ 28||Poor|
|Hydroelectric Power||$ 2,752||$ 30||Poor|
|Solar PV Thin Film (utility w/track)||$ 1,248||$ 32||Poor|
|Combined Cycle Gas Turbines||$ 2,471||$ 44||Average|
|Small Modular Fission Nuclear Reactor||$ 3,600||$ 65||Average|
|Ultra-Super Critical Coal Fired||$ 3,672||$ 66||Poor|
|Fuel Cells||$ 7,200||$ 106||Poor|
|Existing Fission (light water nuclear)||$ 6,034||$ 118||Poor|
|Battery Storage (utility 6 hr, 2025)||$ 1,400||$ 187||Average|
|Diesel Reciprocating Engine||$ 1,813||$ 197||Excellent|
The Fusion Industry Challenge: Plasma Confinement Time
The core question for fusion companies and startups is will their technologies really work and produce an appreciable net power output. This is the single most important scientific question in fusion research dominated by the issue of fusion plasma confinement time. The 2022 poster (link below) develops a scientific model for the confinement time of ion kinetic energy in a material where fusion reactions occur.
In the theoretical model where ion stopping was considered as a key mechanism for ion kinetic energy loss, an estimate was obtained for the confinement time of ion kinetic energy in a warm-dense D-T plasma and others. An advanced Lawson criterion is derived for a magnetically confined thermonuclear fusion reactors. The predicted fusion energy relative to supplied heating energy is modeled and is consistent with the latest fusion energy record achieved experimentally at JET.
The bottom line, everyone, dare we say—fails to get more energy out than in because of the required confinement time versus the magnetic energy required to achieve it.
Electric Fusion Systems’ approach is different in many ways, and we don’t suffer from these show-stopping issues.