IP Group plc (LON: IPO), the developer of intellectual property-based businesses, notes the significant announcement by its portfolio company First Light Fusion Ltd that it aims to demonstrate fusion using its ‘Machine 3’ by mid-2019.
First Light, in which IP Group holds an undiluted beneficial stake of 35.9%, valued at £17.7 million, has announced that it has successfully completed building and testing its unique pulsed power device, Machine 3, the biggest pulsed power machine in the world dedicated to researching fusion energy.
Machine 3 is capable of discharging up to 200,000 volts and in excess of 14 million ampere – the equivalent of nearly 500 simultaneous lightning strikes – within two microseconds. The £3.6m machine uses some 3km of high voltage cables and another 10km of diagnostic cables. Similar to a railgun, it will use electromagnetism to fire projectiles at around 20km/s (enough to travel from London to New York in 4 minutes).
Nicholas Hawker, Founder and CEO of First Light Fusion, said: “This is another major milestone for First Light Fusion. Commissioning of Machine 3 has been completed and performance has been confirmed to meet the design specification. We have now started our experimental campaigns. These will culminate in the first demonstration of fusion from one of our target designs. These targets have many elements and we are holding ourselves to a very high scientific standard, verifying operation of each element in isolation and cross-comparing with simulation predictions at all stages. We are confident we will show fusion this year. After fusion, the next phase is to show energy gain, which we aim to complete by 2024.”