nuclear fusion

Construction Continues On Wendelstein 7-X Reactor

What would it mean to have an essentially limitless amount of energy? If we can harness fusion power, we can have energy that is clean, safe, sustainable, and secure. It will be the power of a sun on earth. The dream of fusion energy has been a scientific goal for decades, but it has remained… Keep reading →

Northeast Debates Benefits And Dangers Of Hydrofracking

Southwestern Energy agreed to acquire Marcellus and Utica acreage and equipment from Chesapeake Energy for $5.4 billion. “The early drilling in both the liquids-rich Marcellus and emerging Utica plays has confirmed the resource potential and the economic strength of a long-term development program,” Southwestern CEO Steve Mueller said in a written statement. [Fuel Fix] A… Keep reading →

Construction Continues On Wendelstein 7-X Reactor

There is still a very long way to go before a commercial reactor is built, but scientists at the National Ignition Facility succeeded in creating a reaction in which more energy came out than went in. “The real significance of this is, we’re now matching our models, we have our feet back on the ground… Keep reading →


Both! The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is a large research device located at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The NIF uses powerful lasers to heat and compress hydrogen fuel to the point where nuclear fusion reactions take place. It is currently the largest and most energetic inertial confinement fusion device in the world. Researchers use the… Keep reading →

America’s debate on energy policy is consumed by partisanship and short-term thinking. Whether the debate today focuses on tax credits for specific technologies or removing regulatory hurdles to allow for more energy production, policymakers are failing to plan for the long haul. Instead we should ask: what do we want our energy mix to look like in 10, 20, or 30 years? How do we address climate change, ensure energy reliability, and create high-tech industries for the next generation?

Existing energy technologies will play a part. However, the world also needs transformational change in the energy industry. Fusion energy holds this potential. By fusing together two hydrogen atoms, enormous quantities of energy can be produced. When successfully commercialized, it will be a near-optimal source of power – clean, safe, secure, and virtually inexhaustible. Keep reading →

On Saturday October 6th, the New York Times wrote an editorial that criticized the mission, effectiveness, and budget of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), an experimental laser at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. This editorial followed an article from the prior week noting scientific challenges in the NIF’s mission and airing division among scientists about the facility’s future.

The NIF consists of 192 lasers, each of which is among the largest and most energetic in the world. It was built between 1997 and 2009 for the purposes of conducting experiments with fusion energy. Keep reading →

The U.S. innovation system has a rich history of developing transformational technologies that usher in new eras of economic growth. The ultimate success of all energy technologies – whether coal, natural gas, oil, hydropower, nuclear, solar, or wind – has depended upon a tradition of public support during their research and development stage.

Consistent R&D support allowed new technologies to move through the stages of innovation – from basic and applied research, to prototyping, demonstration, commercialization, until they are finally market competitive. This process often takes decades, so returns are uncertain and dispersed, meanwhile, costs are certain, immediate, and focused, – so the private sector underinvests in R&D. Since the private market is not designed to address these problems, there is a clear role for smart government policy. Keep reading →

While eating lunch at a recent energy conference with the usual random selection of delegates and speakers, I asked the co-founder of a leading energy venture capital firm what technology he finds most exciting right now. Without hesitation, he began telling me about his company’s ambitious, longer-term bet on a small nuclear fusion company. He then put me in contact with his partner and co-founder, who helped fill in the details for this story. Keep reading →