Nuclear Fusion Potential Worth Trillions, Says Industry Group
In 2022, companies in nuclear fusion spent $500m on their supply chain. This number will grow to $7bn with the deployment of the first power plant.
A survey conducted by the Fusion Industry Association found that the nuclear fusion supply chain could be worth trillions of dollars. The survey included about 26 private fusion plant developers. They estimated that a mature fusion industry could be established between 2035 and 2050.
FIA, in the US, said that fusion companies are having problems with their suppliers. They're not willing to make investments right now. The reason is that they think it's risky without guaranteed orders. Most fusion companies, seventy percent of them, reported this issue. They need their suppliers to build capacity for future demand.
The FIA suggested some ways to fix supplier reluctance. They want more money invested in fusion, both from the public and private sectors. They also suggest using "risk-sharing financing" to help suppliers invest in new capacity. This could involve fusion investors putting money into important suppliers.
The FIA wants to standardize and regulate the supply chain. This will give more certainty. It will also help confidence in making long-term investments.
The FIA leader, Andrew Holland, thinks the future growth of the fusion industry is good for business. He said suppliers can make a lot of money. But, the suppliers need more information and support to get ready for future demand. The fusion industry needs better financing, rules, and sharing of risk. And more talking and sharing of knowledge between suppliers and the industry.
The cost of building fuel plants will require a lot of money. Steel and concrete, superconducting wire, and special chambers will make up most of the expenses. There will also be funds allocated for super magnets, lasers, and power supplies. These plants will heat fuels to over 100 million Celsius.
Scaling Up: The Biggest Challenge
Holland says we don't need to worry about supply risks because none of our important parts or materials come from unstable countries. Everything is good!
Holland stated that the main obstacle is scaling. The objective is to inform supply chain firms about the upcoming fusion technology so that they can make necessary investments for greater growth.
Not enough tritium in the world for fusion plants. Companies want to use it as fuel but it's okay because they will make more with lithium.
He estimated that only four electric vehicles worth of lithium would be necessary for a fusion plant.
Fusion is an energy production process like the sun and stars use. It's very cool and has been important for a long time. Fusion can give us almost endless energy without harming the environment. This type of energy doesn't make bad waste or dangerous gases. When we create the first business place for fusion, it's going to be an important time for energy. It will be a new time.
The largest fusion project is the Iter plant. It costs €20bn ($21bn) to build and is in Cadarache, southern France.
Helion Energy made a deal to give Microsoft electricity from its nuclear fusion plant. The agreement was reported earlier in the month. Helion Energy is located in the US and develops reactors.