Nextbigftuure covered detailed National Ignition Facility presentations six weeks ago at the 2023 International Conference on Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications. The National Ignition Facility has increased power to 2.2 megajoules for tests this month which is up from 2.05 megajoules earlier in the year. They are investigating a series of new targets. IF this round of experiments goes well the power output could increase to 5-10 megajoules which is up from the best 3.88 megajoule shot. There is a clear path to increasing power to 2.6 megajoules which could achieve 10-20 megajoules of output. The current facility could be maxed out at 3.0 megajoules if substantial upgrades are funded. The 3.0 megajoule tests would be around 2030 and each step up in power takes 1-2 years.
Nextbigfuture has covered all of the laser fusion startups:
Focused Energy, a laser-based fusion startup dedicated to developing fusion as a means of generating clean alternative energy, raised an additional $11 million in Series A funding, bringing their total funding to $82 million. The round was led by Prime Movers Lab, and previous investors VCP Capital and Tony Florence joined the round as well.
Focused Energy wants to build a demonstrator in 8 to 9 years with a 100-beam compression laser producing 500 kilojoule pulses, one-quarter the energy of NIF's. For the short ignition pulses, they plan to use lasers developed for Europe's Extreme Light Infrastructure, a research facility. Each produces pulses of 1.5 kilojoules so Focused Energy will need 100 of them, combining their output into a single beam to set the fuel alight.