The environment in which we’re operating
This was recently recognised by the President of the European Commission, Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, who has made decarbonisation of energy generation and associated investment one of her two main priorities after describing climate change as an “an existential issue for Europe – and for the world” in her inaugural speech.
It has also been reflected in political activity, as 185 nations have ratified the Paris Agreement that aims to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, primarily by limiting carbon emissions globally.
Some of the first actions from the Paris Agreement include:
- France announcing a plan to ban all petrol and diesel vehicles in 2040 and that they would no longer use coal to produce electricity after 2022.
- Norway and the Netherlands announcing that they will ban the sale of petrol and diesel-powered cars by 2025 and 2030, respectively.
Despite the humanitarian benefits of addressing climate change, meeting the Paris Agreement is estimated to cost between 1 to 1.3% global GDP (€33 trillion to €46 trillion) to meet the 1.5°C target .
While the obvious existing alternate carbon-free energy sources are renewables and fission nuclear, both have limitations. Renewables energy capacity is limited. It is also intermittent and often not centralised, making it more heavily reliant on storage, distribution and transmission, adding significantly to the cost required for its use. Nuclear Fission remains the most viable alternative, currently accounting for 32% of low carbon power production worldwide (50% in the EU and USA). However, cost, safety and environmental concerns remain the key issues with its adoption.
Demonstrating HB11’s Fusion Reaction will have global significance, as it would present the most promising solution to limiting the world’s carbon emissions. It will not have the cost, safety, environmental, distribution or storage concerns faced by renewables and fission nuclear power.
Given these significant benefits, we expect there to be significant new opportunities to partner with governments worldwide as they look for a new carbon-free energy source. For instance, in Australia a $A22 billion annual investment has been flagged as its means of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
Our Competitive Advantage
The many advantages of the HB11 fusion reaction are significant and well understood by the nuclear energy community. Specific benefits of HB11’s approach include:
NO RADIOACTIVE WASTE
Aneutronic HB11 reaction does not generate any harmful neutrons or dangerous waste.
LOW INFRASTRUCTURE COSTS
Inherently safe reaction means a reduced need for safety infrastructure. Early estimates predict costs will be about 1/4 that of coal-fired power.
FUEL IS UNLIMITED, SAFE AND READILIY AVAILABLE
Boron-11 comprises approximately 80% of all boron found in nature and is readily available in open-pit mines. It is a stable isotope, which is non-radioactive.
NO RISK OF REACTOR MELT-DOWN
Reactor can be stopped by the laser and feed rate of fuel. There is no need for large scale external cooling, such as that required from fission nuclear power.
SMALLER PLANT FOOTPRINT
Direct electricity generation from the reaction means no need for steam turbines to operate a generator, as required with all other nuclear and fossil-fuel burning plants.
So there’s no need for a battery infrastructure as with solar and wind energy.
A fascinating marketplace – an exciting Investment Opportunity
The International Energy Agency (World Energy Investment 2018) has quoted the global power sector investment as above $US700B annually. Given the competitive advantages inherent in HB11’s approach, its introduction to the market will be disruptive to this entire industry. This in turn will open the opportunity to take a large share of this market and reach annual revenues in the order of $100B.
Global power sector investment USD (2017) billion
In addition, there is anticipated demand from other markets that are off the power grid, as the reactors could be integrated into ships and submarines, which are now commonly driven by electric engines.
There will also be opportunities to out-licence new intellectual property generated during the experimental program for the propulsion of interstellar spacecraft. The very high energy density (low weight) of the fuels makes it ideal for transport into space. The mode of propulsion is directly from the reaction, where the conservation of momentum of the very high energy alpha particle explosion into space could propel a space craft in the opposite direction.