First Light Fusion has successfully demonstrated hot fusion, the process that powers the sun, using its own proprietary technology that costs between a tenth and a hundredth of existing methods.
The test opens the door to the potential widespread use of nuclear fusion to power homes and gives the government a boost ahead of the publication of its energy security strategy later this week.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “First Light Fusion’s UK-sourced technology has the potential to revolutionize power generation for decades to come.
“That’s why this government is investing in science and innovation in the UK, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of the global scientific effort to make fusion energy safe, own and limitless a reality.”
The Business Department announced plans to commercialize fusion power last fall and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has met twice with the First Light founder.
Ian Chapman, head of Britain’s Atomic Energy Agency, which validated the test results, said: “Fusion promises to be a safe, low-carbon and sustainable part of the future energy supply. of the world, and we support all advances in this scientific and technical challenge.These results are another important step forward.
Fusion, as the process of generating energy is called, offers hope for a clean and abundant source of energy.
The process has been replicated in the past, but First Light claims its method is cheaper and easier to do. It shoots gas at the fuel to implode it and generate power.
Dr. Nick Hawker, co-founder and CEO of First Light Fusion, said: “Our approach to fusion is all about simplicity. We believe that projectile fusion is the fastest path to commercially viable energy production from fusion.
First Light, which was set up by Oxford’s biomedical engineering department in 2011, has spent just £45m on development to date. The start-up has appealed to UBS to help it raise funds and hopes to obtain hundreds of millions to develop its technology.
Chairman Bart Markus said the test results offered the company a path to a “sustainable business model”.
First Light is backed by Oxford University venture capital fund and FTSE 250-listed IP Group. Shares of IP Group jumped more than 4% today to trade near the top of the index.