A Clean Energy Start Up You Need to Know
The American fusion research company, Helion, is developing clean electricity. Located in Everett, Washington, Helion has succesfully used magneto-inertial fusion technology to create electricity. What the what? This sounds like science fiction, but it’s the real deal. This company’s tech is skipping the process followed for the last two eras to create more efficient electric energy. Is this Serendipity? With the GOP over, and countries on average promising to reduce emissions by only 7%, what can Helion do?
I don’t know about you, but I literally set myself on fire in Chemistry in high school. It’s not my best or favorite subject. And maybe you already know what fusion is, but in case you don’t, here ya go. Fusion is the reaction between two atoms of hydrogen when they combine (or fuse) to form an atom of helium. Helion uses magneto-inertial fusion (MIF), which is the process of using powerful magnetic fields to fuse three hydrogen molecules together.
According to Helion, “Fusion technology promises all the benefits of current-generation nuclear fission generators, at a fraction of the risk, with far less radioactivity when running, and with very little radioactive waste. There’s been one catch: So far, it has been hard to get the fusion process to generate more energy than it has been consuming to keep the reaction under control.” Helion has switched their focus from charting new science to saving our planet. Their focus is to use their technology to create cleaner electricity on a commercial and industrial scale.
No More Fukushimas
During the production of electricity, gases are released during combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. In 2019 Natural gas was responsible for 37 percent of the electricity produced. Petroleum was less than one percent. By eliminating the use of natural gas, we will be miles ahead. If that’s not enough to excite you, Hellion’s fusion solution will also protect our most precious resource, water. According to Green Peace, radioactive waste expelled into the ocean has lasting hazardous effects for up to thousands of years.
As we saw with the Tsunami that hit Japan’s Nuclear power plant in Fukushima, widespread water contamination is devastating. Fukushima spilled over 1 million metric tons of contaminated water. “Water generated by the Fukushima … [came] into direct contact with contamination from the melted down cores of three reactors and as such is severely contaminated with many radionuclides…. The Japanese government, [reported] 62 radioactive isotopes were found in the existing nuclear water tanks in Fukushima, among which concentration of a… tritium…far exceeding the acceptable norm,” (greenpeace.org). For specific contamination isotopes click here.
Remember Helion Energy Inc.
When the global summit failed, Helion raised their hand. The cry for clean energy has been sounding for decades. But Helion is building a plant to produce that clean energy now. As you read this, they have systems the size of shipping containers that can create 50 megawatts of electricity. “We are excited about being at the 50-megawatt scale and being able to get electricity costs down to a cent per kilowatt-hour. You can completely change how data centers work, and you can really start answering climate change. Our focus is making low-cost and carbon-free electricity.” According to the EPA, 25% of greenhouse emissions are caused by electricity production.
“Approximately 62 percent of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas.” With Helion’s new fusion created energy, that’s 25% less emissions than the scanty 7 % governments promise to reduce. Rachel Cleetus (the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists) said, “We need about a 45 to 50 percent decrease by 2030 to stay in line with what the science shows is necessary,” (npr.org). Now that Helion has produced 50 megawatts, a solution seems possible. With their shipping-container-size generators we now have the potential to create the energy needed to power 40,000 homes. This also opens up the possibility to power entire grids. This is a big, no HUGE deal. Helion is a making a huge step to slow humanities eviction from Earth.
“If Helion is successful, we can avert climate disaster and provide a much better quality of life for people.”