One giant leap for Laser Fusion
HB11 Energy is excited by the results of an experiment, announced on 17 August 2021, showing what appears to be the first measured, controlled ignition of a fusion burn via laser (as opposed to complex magnetic fields).
We congratulate the scientists and engineers at California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF). In the experiment, laser beams targeting a capsule of hydrogen isotopes sparked a fusion explosion that produced 1.35 megajoules (MJ) of energy. That result came tantalizingly close to achieving ‘ignition’, as defined as fusion energy generated in the fuel target equal to the energy of the laser pulse that triggered it.
NIF’s approach differs to ours at HB11 Energy. Theirs is thermonuclear fusion of deuterium and tritium, the laser used to heat fuels to many millions of degrees. HB11’s approach is the non-thermal fusion of a proton (hydrogen) and boron-11, the laser used to accelerate protons through a fuel at much higher energies than can be achieved via heating. Regardless, we anticipate the newly achieved results will unveil important new science on laser-based fusion, which will lead the HB11 Energy scientific Roadmap.