An Australian fusion start-up called HB11 has secured patents for its new laser-powered technique for fusion energy generation. HB11 is a spin-off from Sydney’s University of New South Wales (UNSW).
The University stated that this technique used to create fusion energy does not depend on radioactive fuel, unlike earlier methods.
UNSW Emeritus Professor of theoretical physics Heinrich Hora is the one who conceived HB11 Energy’s idea. This technique is distinctly distinguishable for other experimental fusion operations.
The Science Behind It All
Most fusion groups employ the method of heating Deuterium-Tritium fuel to the level of 15 million degrees Celsius. However, in HB11’s technique, hydrogen-boron fusion is obtained by utilizing two powerful lasers.
Their pulses apply exact nonlinear forces in order to compress the nuclei together. Other sources of power and energy, like coal or gas, depend heavily on heating liquids like water for the purpose of driving turbines.
Contrastingly, the energy coming out of this hydrogen-boron fusion converts to electric power directly. Its generators have a compact, secure, and clean design and would not emit nuclear wastes or superheated steam, and there would be no potential meltdown.
According to Professor Hora, there was a thorough investigation of the laser-boron fusion approach that went on for more than four decades in the University. Finally, this pioneering method has been able to secure patents in three countries.
These countries are Japan, China, and the USA. He added that the patents act as the harbinger of HB11 Energy’s initial stage fundraising campaign. This campaign will establish the world’s first and only approach that qualifies a safe hydrogen-boron reaction using lasers.
It will also be the beginning of Australia’s first commercialized fusion company.
Only due to the recent scientific advancements in the laser technology has this approach become possible. There is a credit to the Nobel Prize-winning Chirped Pulse Amplification technology.
Dr. Warren McKenzie, the Managing Director of HB11 Energy, said that this new technique might be the only possible way to reach the target of very low carbon emissions by the year 2050.
According to them, this technique side-steps all the scientific challenges that have been obstacles for all these years in the path of fusion energy.