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 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, 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.
Electric Fusion Systems is developing a portable, roller-bag-sized fusion reactor 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 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.
Pictured is a small 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 reaction 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, there is 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 nuclear 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 nuclear fusion efforts have failed to deliver on the promise. Over $50 billion has been spent and there are no nuclear 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 energy technology, using a novel nuclear 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 nuclear reactor, we use a cyclical process that dances into and out of fusion in a plasma with electrical arcing, 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 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, and abundant nuclear fusion fuel cycle making it the ideal fuel source for EFS’ s commercial fusion cartridge reactor 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. It is this combination of our fuel already starting out as a very dense plasma, the electron screening, coulomb explosions, and the oscillations of going into and out of fusion then fizzle enable a different way of achieving useable fusion energy.
Since our fusion reactions do not continuously sustain nuclear fusion chain reactions and our fuel is already orders of magnitude denser that traditional deuterium tritium fuels, we do not need the massive magnetic or electrostatic confinement, typical of multi-story nuclear fusion experimental reactors of the past or modern competitors.
We have shrunk the nuclear reactor to the size of a suitcase, 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 reactor design.
The billions of dollars invested over the decades into fusion have been for the most part been wasted. Our 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 nuclear fusion reactions on laboratory table top as evidence in part by the generation of helium atoms. This is confirmed via neutron detection, gamma 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 apparatus and approach to the practical fusion problem is grounded in known and practiced science. From magnetic and electrical fields to plasma physics, pressure confinement, electromagnetic pulses, and energy extraction via inductive coupling. It is the novel combination of our fuel and traditional electrical engineering and plasma physics that enables the breakthrough.
It is that the proton kinetic energy required to start fusing is ~15 keV for aneutronic proton-lithium fusion. How do we get there? There are many complementary aspects at work, beginning with electron screening contributing (~.8 keV), quantum tunneling (~1keV), electrical high current arcing (10’s to 100’s of keV), noble gas clusters, local physical pressure and resonant mechanical cavities. Confining the fuel in an axial cartridge cylinder (creating a focal point) and driven by electromagnetic waves in near critical density of the Rydberg matter plasma. This all occurs with a resonant electrical control circuit to provide sufficient electrical energy for fusion.
Then there is the concept of Rydberg matter at a higher principal quantum number in the form of thousands to millions of clusters that collide and cascade during the coulomb explosion. Although an individual 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 chain, some of the atoms have massively more energy (100’s of keV) to impart toward a fusion reaction. Don’t forget that the LEEF cycle is fusion then fizzle cyclical process. We only need a relatively small number of atoms to release their fusion energy of (17 MeV/atom) which cost us just 50 keV to initiate. An ideal Coefficient of Performance (COP) limit of 340 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 effecting 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) reactor are the following: a LEEF reactor has no minimum critical nuclear 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 of characteristics will dramatically reduce the design, licensing, construction, safety, public relations, and operating costs compared to the fission or fusion nuclear reactors 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 technology enables is a small, modular, and scalable fusion reactor 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 reactor. 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.