SULI Talk: Bob Mumgaard
Timing: Can fusion solve the clean energy problem?
If it will, this sets the timing for fusion. If it doesn’t meet the timing, then another energy source will solve the problem.
(if fusion were to follow the scaling for any other energy source)
- Scaling rapidly in the 2040s
- First plants in 2030s
- Demonstrating market indicators in 2020s
If we want fusion to work, we need to use 10,000 plants Commercialization is the path of getting from current fusion industry (government + research) to putting fusion energy on the grid so that customers want to switch to fusion energy.
Fusion Companies: - approx. 28 companies
- iterate as fast as possible with the simplest thing you can build
- focus on the most risky feature and test that first
- always build the simplest, fastest, cheapest thing somebody will pay for that retires risk
- learn about the tech and about the market at every cycle you go
- involve users, customers, sponsors early on
- take risks and pivot after failure, experimenting at a smaller scale allows you to pivot faster
- measure success so that it can be rewarded and prove the team as successful
- eventually, scale up solutions
- fail fast and learn fast
Steps of the cycle 1. describe hypothesis 2. identify assumptions 3. identify biggest risks 4. plan a test 5. build something 6. test assumptions 7. analyze and rethink 8. evaluate whether people care –> is your tech even wanted or needed by people?
Have a competitive edge
- What is the reason that someone can’t replicate you? This can be a strategy, patent, network.
- Go as fast as you can go. Go to market fast so that your competition can’t catch up.
Feedback from the energy world
- Excited to participate in fusion energy but want the following:
What they need to see - net energy high power production ASAP - in a package that scales to an economical and market-relevent power plant e.g not ITER - in a robust and simple as possible configuration - in a market relevant timeframe - with concrete timeframe to track progress
There’s no difference between a product that works that nobody buys vs one that doesn’t work.
CFS’s estimate for fusion energy to the grid: 15 years. - This is a really long time relative to 15 years of progress in other industries.