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Zap Energy Achieves Significant Fusion Energy Milestone: Electron Temperature Exceeding 10 Million Degrees

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) writes about a fusion breakthrough.

The C3 Take
  • Zap Energy and its partners at Lawerence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, UC San Diego, and University of Washington have reached a significant fusion milestone.
  • The startup and its partners recently demonstrated an electron temperature of greater than 10 million degrees (approximately 1 keV, the unit of temperature favored by fusion scientists).
  • While impressive, this 1 keV output is far less than the 10 keV level that is needed to enable appreciable amounts of fusion energy.
  • Public-private partnerships are accelerating energy innovation.

“This result is also a major success story for ARPA-E. Building on earlier scientific studies of sheared-flow stabilization of a Z pinch supported by DOE Fusion Energy Sciences, the University of Washington pursued initial performance scale-up of the concept in the ARPA-E ALPHA program beginning in 2015. From this seed, Zap Energy was spun off, and further performance improvements were funded in the ARPA-E OPEN 2018 program and the BETHE program starting in 2020, before Zap raised over $200M of private capital. Additionally, ARPA-E funded a Thomson-scattering diagnostic capability team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratoryand a neutron diagnostic capability team from Los Alamos National Laboratory. These two teams’ travelling diagnostic capabilities provided independent and consistent measurements, which confirmed the achievement of 1-keV electron temperature.”

Read more here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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