Breakthrough Fusion Technology

Harnessing Lithium-Proton Nuclear Fusion

Fusion Technology Summary

In the simplest terms, we have taken a mercury vapor lamp, changed its fuel and wrapped coils around and added a more sophisticated ballast control to extract fusion energy. Of course, it is far more complicated than that, but that is the fusion reactor idea in a nutshell.

It is this combination of the lithium-proton fuel, external alpha sources, electron screening and tunneling, coulomb explosions, in a magnetic field along with the Rydberg matter nature of the fuel that sets the conditions for fusion reactions. Then with the pulse of an electrical arc, like in a xenon arc searchlight of old the fusion energy occurs than fizzles. We capture the energy of this reaction via diamagnetic pressure that is inductively coupled to external coils that surround the reaction chamber to produce electricity.

Each pulse of the electrical arc releases a large amount of radiation free fusion energy; the power output in the energy per pulse is multiplied by the frequency. A pulsed approach gives great design flexibility, trading off energy per arc and frequency. 

Image credit: Berndthaller 

Product Development

Electric Fusion Systems is developing a portable, appliance-sized fusion technology consisting of a stainless-steel reactor vessel, the lithium-proton fuel inside, primary arc electrodes and inductively coupled extraction coils along with a power supply that controls the magnetic field oscillation, arcing and power extraction rates.

Our goal is to create cartridges and fusion power modules that can be mixed and matched to achieve long duration (decades) of low or high-power output targeted to the respective application. Yet, we also can load-follow and drive up the power output, consuming more lithium or less within certain parameters. This clean energy approach also can support multiple phases of electric power and provide redundancy to ensure grid reliability and resilience too.

The fusion power plant designs we envision allow for simple and modular scale-up. If you want a 10-megawatt transformer for an electrical substation there are no physics issues; it is a matter of good engineering execution, time, money, and strategic partners.

Recent Prototyping

Pictured is a small fusion prototype (less the electronic controls and power supply) that is capable of kilowatts of power output.

The EFS design variables that we can adjust or tune for optimal output are many. For example, we know that physical pressure can improve the fusion rates, along with higher electrical arcing currents, magnetic field strength, alpha particles, and different concentrations of fusion fuel. Tuning and optimizing these parameters will lead to more cost-effective fusion power generators along with volume production. 

Ultimately, the economics will not be driven by the cost of lithium metal, but by power semiconductor pricing, stainless steel prices, labor automation and target industry regulations. Unlike other fusion power approaches, EFS has a clear opportunity to lower the cost of electricity by > 10x. 

Frequently Asked Questions

EFS was founded in 2020 by Ken E. Kopp and Ryan S. Wood to advance a breakthrough approach to safe, cost-effective fusion power with the lowest cost of energy in a small and scalable way with a clean environmental profile. With our patent pending approaches EFS is poised to deliver a transformational energy source capable of supporting the planet for centuries. EFS is based in Colorado and is using our proprietary science insights and engineering to deliver a global transformation for all humanity.

The first thing to recognize is that all fusion efforts have failed to deliver on the promise. Over $50 billion has been spent and there are no successful reactors producing electricity. These scientific approaches, no matter how sophisticated by some of the brightest minds in the world, have all failed and the promise is always ten or more years off.

It is time for a new approach, EFS has the problem solved; aneutronic nuclear fusion with lithium + proton = helium + energy converted directly to useable electricity. EFS is pioneering this revolutionary clean energy technology, using a novel electrochemical fusion physics that does not emit dangerous radiation. The founders have found an easier and safer way to generate fusion chain reactions. First, we do not try and contain the sun in a huge tokamak, we use a cyclical process that dances into and out of fusion in a dense plasma with electrical arcing, coulomb explosions, with magnetic induction field and pressure confinement. Think of it as an electrical arc, passing through a dense plasma fuel, with pressure confinement. In short, a fusion plasma transformer. One of the keys is our unique lithium ammonia noble gas fuel that creates a super dense plasma much denser than historically failed approaches.

The lithium-proton fusion reaction is preferred because in generates virtually no neutrons (aneutronic fusion) or radiation and has a strong energy output. A proton is a hydrogen atom stripped of its electron; lithium is a light, non-radioactive element that is used in lithium-ion batteries and many other industrial applications, it is virtually limitless, besides the ocean is full of it. Hydrogen-lithium represents a clean energy, and abundant nuclear fusion fuel cycle making it the ideal fuel source for EFS’ s commercial fusion reactor cartridge solutions.

The fusion reaction parameters of light element electric fusion (LEEF) create an energy surplus condition because our proprietary fuel modifies the coulomb barrier through the electron screening, Rydberg matter and coulomb explosions. It is this combination of our  clean energy fuel, which already starts out as a very dense plasma and oscillating from fusion then fizzle that enables a different way of achieving useable fusion energy.

Since our fusion reactions do not continuously sustain fusion chain reactions and our fuel is already orders of magnitude denser that traditional deuterium tritium fusion fuels, we do not need the massive magnetic or electrostatic confinement, typical of multi-story fusion experimental reactors of the past or modern competitors.

We have shrunk the electrochemical apparatus to the size of a small appliance, and we can go smaller and larger for more or less electrical power generation based on our cartridge design. How we do this is an artifact of the revolutionary approach of the EFS fuel insights and fusion reactor design.

The billions of dollars invested over the decades into fusion have been for the most part been wasted. Our clean energy technology will sweep away all of it creating tremendous possibilities.

The science behind aneutronic fusion and particularly proton + lithium fusion is well documented in the scientific peer-reviewed literature.

Today, EFS has built a series of laboratory experiments that show fusion reactions on laboratory table top as evidence in part by the generation of helium atoms. This is confirmed via neutron detection, and optical spectroscopy that substantiate fusion reactions. There are also historical experiments in capillary fusion that support our insights. Yet, EFS is on the cutting edge, there is not a rich paper trail of peer-reviewed science that is on point. If there were, our approach would be known, and the world would be different. 

The science behind all aspects of our fusion energy apparatus and approach to the practical fusion problem is grounded in known and practiced science. Scores of scientific papers, dance around the edge of our insights, in Rydberg matter, noble gases and coulomb explosions. For example, there are supporting papers in magnetic and electrical fields to plasma physics, pressure confinement, electromagnetic pulses, and energy extraction via inductive coupling. It is the novel combination of our special fusion fuel and traditional electrical engineering and plasma physics that enables the clean energy breakthrough.

Proton kinetic energy required to start fusing is ~15 keV for aneutronic proton-lithium fusion. How do we get to ignition? There are complementary aspects at work, beginning with electron screening (enhanced quantum tunnelling) contributing (~0.8 keV), electrical high current arcing (10’s to 100’s of keV), noble gas Rydberg matter clusters, local physical pressure, and resonant mechanical cavities. Ideally, we are confining the fuel in an axial cartridge cylinder (creating a focal point) and then driving it with electromagnetic waves at near critical density of the heavy Rydberg matter  plasma. This all occurs with a resonant electrical control circuit to provide sufficient electrical energy input for fusion.

   Also, there is the concept of Rydberg matter ions at a higher principal quantum number in the form of energetic clusters that collide and cascade during the coulomb explosion. Although an individual Rydberg ion fuel cluster may not have enough energy for fusion when they interact, elastically the electrostatic force will be a multiple of bond energies. As they cascade into one another they add energy with each interaction, so at the end of the coulomb explosion, some of the Rydberg cluster ions have massively more energy (100’s of keV) to impart toward a fusion reaction. Even at extremely low energy levels, a small number of fusion events yielding energy of 17.3 MeV per event cost us as little as 15 keV to initiate and reflects an ideal theoretical performance gain limit of over 1000 to 1.

We are confident that once one contemplates the nature of states of matter it will become clear that densities vary greatly between solid, liquid, and gas states. While it is true that most plasmas are gaseous and most certainly within the normal context of tried and failed fusion approaches. EFS technology does not depend on magnetic compression nor is our technology using rarified gaseous plasma.

As stated in our first press release, we differ greatly from historical approaches using magnetic compression. Furthermore, magnetic field strength is not the only factor affecting density. What of physical pressure? What of the state of the fuel? The unique fuel discovery does indeed account for a massive increase in density.

Key reasons for EFS economic superiority, (lowering the cost of electricity by 10 to 100 times), of our light element electric fusion (LEEF) power generator are the following: a LEEF reactor has no minimum critical fusion mass therefore it can be produced in small or large sizes in a factory. It cannot experience a criticality accident. It has no special nuclear materials of concern for weapons proliferation, and no high-level radioactive waste. 

This set clean energy characteristics will dramatically reduce the design, licensing, construction, safety, public relations, and operating costs compared to the fission or fusion power generators they may replace; even compared to the new fission based Small Modular Reactors currently being designed to utilize high asset low enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel.

What the EFS clean energy technology enables is a small, modular, and scalable electrochemical fusion appliance that is safe and inexpensive to manufacture, in a factory rather than on an installation site. Our patent-pending embodiments create a globally transformative change in energy production delivering constant, distributed energy, anywhere, anytime, without generating greenhouse gases or other waste products.  This is exemplified by the table in the competitive section of website which compares hydrocarbon power generation, solar, fission and fusion.

As the fusion reactions dance into and out of a fusion state they create a burst of electromagnetic pressure which oscillates back and forth based on how our design drives the containment vessel. This pulse of energy, and electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is harvested into electrical coils wrapped around the reactor and subsequently rectified via traditional power supply designs into AC or DC output at the voltage, current and frequency for the desired application, be it 800VDC for a transportation application, or 35 kilovolts AC in an electrical substation.

Fission and fusion are two physical processes that produce massive amounts of energy from atoms. They yield millions of times more energy through atom transmutation reactions. The fusion process is the exact opposite of fission.

Although both occur at the atomic level and release energy as a byproduct, fusion achieves this by combining light elements such as hydrogen, deuterium, and boron, while fission splits up heavy atoms such as uranium and plutonium. Fission is propagated by a chain reaction. Once the reaction starts, it’s hard to stop. This is not how an EFS power generator works, so it can’t meltdown—no China syndrome.

Fusion is a driven process, meaning all steps are deliberately initiated and actively maintained. Once the external drivers stop, the fusion process stops–faster than any kill switch or emergency power-off system could shut down a plant. Fusion possesses nature’s ultimate safety valve: there is simply no way for a meltdown to occur. In this way, fusion is an inherently safe proposition.

The specific hardware that EFS is working with, is aneutronic fusion (without neutrons—that cause radiation poisoning) in a stainless-steel vessel with a very small amount of lithium-proton fuel less than 0.1 liters. Even if the vessel were crushed and the fuel leaks out, it is less dangerous than gasoline and can be readily neutralized and cleaned-up with water.