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General Fusion profiled for Time magazine cover story on fusion energy

Time_Nov2015_CoverGeneral Fusion, a fusion reactor developer based in Burnaby, B.C., is one of several companies profiled for the cover feature of the November 2 issue of Time magazine, written by Lev Grossman, focusing on fusion energy with the headline “Unlimited Energy. For everyone. Forever. Fusion: It Might Actually Work This Time”.

As the old joke goes, “Fusion, it’s always 20 years in the future.”

People who’ve followed the saga of fusion energy as a savior technology that’s going to replace fossil fuels tend to find themselves on very dodgy websites that have the tonal feeling of conspiracy theory hobbyists, the anti-vaxxer movement, or people who feel like the world is controlled by Big Pharma or Big Something-Or-Other.

With the advent of General Fusion and companies like it, though, there is a feeling that things might actually be different this time, and the Time cover story lends a bit of legitimacy to the idea that fusion energy now holds more promise than putting faith in some Italian crackpot boiling water for tea from a box attached to some wires in an undisclosed location near his backyard.

The first thing that’s mentioned about General Fusion founder Michel Laberge is his sense of humour, as he self-deprecatingly tells the Time reporter, “I decided to start a fusion company. Which is pretty insane, but that’s what I went for. I guess, go big in life.”

The article outlines the general history of fusion, with its origins in Soviet-era tokamak reactors, and eventual consolidation in massive projects like the reactor at the National Ignition Facility near San Francisco, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works division, and ITER, the massive $20 billion facility buried beneath the French countryside and slated to deliver results in 2027.

Parallel to these industrial efforts, startups like General Fusion have been bringing the lean philosophy to one of physics’ more intractable problems, with investors like Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel and Goldman Sachs putting money into it.

Founded in 2002, General Fusion has so far attracted over $100 million in investment.

Back in May, General Fusion announced a $27 million fundraising round led by the Government of Malaysia’s investment fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

For all that investment in fusion, though, scientific mystery still surrounds the process, with no assurance of success and a great deal of skepticism that the process is even physically possible, never mind at a scale enough to power cities.

As Laberge tells Time magazine, “It’s like learning to run before you can walk. Or somebody told me it’s like learning to fly before you can walk. You can argue that General Fusion is outrageously ambitious trying to do fusion, but Tri Alpha is outrageously outrageously ambitious,” referring to one of the better funded private fusion companies in the United States, Tri Alpha of Orange County.

As far-fetched as fusion energy has seemed to anyone who has followed its troubled history, recent developments at least mean that serious effort is being put into determining whether fusion has a shot at producing energy or not.

Until then, it’s 20 years away.

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  1. I am always surprised by the media ignoring that billions has been spent on hot fusion over the past half century and billions more continues to be allocated to this extremely difficult undertaking that has never achieved true unity. Yet, the media has largely ignored or worse yet attacked the individuals (Pons & Fleischmann) who discovered anomalous heat with palladium and water, and now attack an individual who is achieving not just unity but also excess and useful energy. You perpetuate this with your “crackpot” comment above.

    Rossi’s E-CAT reactor heat production and transmutation results were validated by a third party research team composed of Swedish and Italian scientists at a Swiss laboratory. Results are here – Net energy output equivalent to 50 gallons of gasoline from 1 gram of metal fuel costing pennies. ORDERS of magnitude less cost than any other fuel source!

    Rather than perpetuating the notion that Cold Fusion is not happening as other journalists/editors have and continue to do, I would encourage you to do the type of journalism that got you into this work. Conduct your own research in this area, be critical of the hot fusion and the cold fusion folks, ask them to explain the results of this report, and prepare yourself to be one of the leading journalist on the topic of Cold Fusion/LENR as it comes out of the closet next year with real results that greatly reduced energy costs at an actual industrial facility operating with an actual 1 MW ECAT reactor plant.

    This WILL BE THE science story of the 21st Century. Everything will change including an immediate cessation of investment in most energy sources; fossil, nuclear fission, solar, wind, and yes hot fusion research. The next five years will be a very very wild ride!

  2. Note that in that article the name of the Us company having acquired rights on E-cat technology, headed by Tom Darden of Cherokee fund, is cited, without any comment.

    Note also that 2 woodford funds, Patient Capital and Income, have invested 50 million $ of industrial Heat.

    Note also that Airbus Innovation, the Technical and Innovation division of Airbus Group, have signed a MOU with LENR-Cities to support the creation of an LENr ecosystem, and few weeks ago, an LENr scientific workshop was organised in Airbus Toulouse with the support of their Executive Chief Scientists.

    What is quite strange, beside naming a LENR startup company in Time Magazine, is that nobody noticed it.
    It is not random, but fear, as for example in Oxford LENRG event, there was 2 journalist of influential top economic journal (as big as Time) present , who get out enthusiastic and were not allowed to publish.

    Note that Tohoku university have created a joint lab with MHI and CleanPlanet to develop LENR transmutation technology.
    A similar project is launched in a G7 country. If journalist were doing their job it would be public.

    Indian Academy’s publication “Current Science” featured a special issue on LENr with 30 peer reviewed articles (mostly reviews, of key phenomenons and key geographic zones) reviewed by non LENR physicists.
    This add up to the hundreds of peer reviewed articles on LENR phenomenons.

    Chinese authorities have signe technology transfer agreements with Tom darden company about this NiH energy. (not batteries, Chinese observers know it is LENR).

    Besite E-cat, Brillouin Energy Corp is cited as company to follow by AONetwork recently.

    Ther was some article on LENR in Nikkei magazine, in Aftenposten magazine, and even recently in Fortune (about Tom Darden).

    I think that to understand how such a global delusion exist in US academic circles, best is to read the work of Roland Benabou on Groupthink, on Motivated Beliefs.

    Best regards.
    I give no link in case it is blocked, with all the keyword I gave, you can quickly find the reality.
    Don’t search on Wikipedia, which is under control of Joshua Cude, a long time opponents who blocked even LENR-CANR site where the no-paywall papers are gathered.

  3. Actually, LENR is neither fission nor fusion,(not Cold fusion i.e. the Coulomb Barrier stands) in the Widom-Larsen Ultra-Low-Momentum Neutron Catalyzed Theory of LENR the reactions are due not to a fusion reaction, which would involve the strong force, but to other low energy nuclear reactions that involve weak interactions, namely neutron formation from electrons and protons/deuterons, followed by local neutron absorption and subsequent beta-decay processes.

  4. To a lay person “local neutron absorption” could be described as fusion (a neutron fusing with another atom). But obviously that’s not the hot fusionist’s definition of fusion.

  5. Let’s also not forget that Goldman Sachs began divesting of their fossil fuel holdings well over a year ago now.

    The problem I have with any fusion technology is that base materials must still be supplied to make the critical functions of this infrastructure actually work. Therefore, whomever controls the supply chain of the necessary ingredients still has a ‘meter’ on the system. The energetic universe at large is unending and we need not pay ad infinitum to monopolies of men with power to impose it.

    Nikola Tesla had no use for fusion energy, that should be the first clue that we’re not going in the right direction. Look up Tesla-like students Gabriel Kron, John Bedini & Deborah Chung, now we’re talking!

  6. Correct, LENR is neither fusion nor fission, it’s a term used by criminals to steal funds from ignorant investors. Kudos to General Fusion , based in Canada and supported by private investment, they are making very good progress.

  7. Fusion would mean that a new element was made so an extra proton. There are lots of pathways but the most common is Tritium and Deuterium.

  8. I wonder if Terry Dawes is going to apologize when he realizes how wrong and how abusive he is. I doubt it. Bully-thinkers never apologize.

  9. Well, I have to admit , that it might be more difficult to prosecute Rossi for fraud when he did honestly state that the results could be positive or negative. Will the twisted minds of his slavish adherents be so forgiving of him? ( Don’t use the word epistemology again,you embarrass yourself with its overuse)

  10. Nice article,Terry, the most promising avenue for fusion, is the proposed ARC reactor from MIT. It should have already been funded by now. Rare Earth Barium Copper Oxide high temperature super conductors have changed the landscape thanks to the power of equations. The power scales to the fourth power from increase in the magnetic field, so double the field and you get 16 times the power or you get a much smaller far cheaper machine. REBCO magnets are not quite double power so we get ten times the benefit.

  11. John, please don’t be surprised that rational people want to make progress. Ancient man made tools from stone, and that age has not ended, we still find ways to make concrete stronger and more useful. Rossi has no results whatsoever, and I don’t care about low power LENR , if Rossi had what he claimed that would be worth billions and a Nobel but he runs tests… for whom??? Who cares what he says? He won’t show anything to anybody, you know once this test end he will start a two year test of the X Cat and so on. He can keep it up forever.

  12. You are still epistemologically retarded. And you are still abusive, arrogant, hostile, elitist, and dishonest. It is a freaking mystery to me why I even converse with you. I would never let someone like you into my house, and if I accidentally shook your hand, I would be forced to take a shower afterwards.

    If Rossi proves to be a crook, I will gladly admit that I made a mistake. My slavishness is my fixation on the evidence and examining and analysing the evidence. Your hatred of Rossi is based upon a slavish respect for the judicial system of Italy.

    All you got really is the Coulomb Barrier. All I got is the soft evidence of numerous people’s reports of their observations.

  13. Chemonuclear Fusion is a type of low
    energy nuclear fusion that has been shown to produce energy in two
    experiments. Aneutronic nuclear fusion can provide unlimited electric
    power without polluting the environment with radioactive waste and
    greenhouse emissions. Chemonuclear processes in small dense white
    dwarf stars accelerate the rate of nuclear fusion and cause them to
    explode in spectacular supernova explosions. Three experiments
    already showed it works.

    We started the Chemonuclear Fusion
    Project is to raise awareness of this new and vitally important
    source of environmentally clean energy and to promote research and
    development. See our video on our INDIGOGO crowdfunding page

  14. My colleagues were needing OPM OF-306 recently and saw a website with a lot of sample forms . If you have been needing OPM OF-306 too , here’s

  15. “some Italian crackpot boiling water for tea from a box attached to some wires in an undisclosed location near his backyard.”

    Indeed, the quotation suggests a need for retooling in the local journalism school. This is not journalism.

  16. But, bachole, the Coulomb barrier is unbreakable except on the sun. Have you been asleep in your physics class again. 😉

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