Amazon Founder invests in Canadian Fusion Venture

Jeff Bezos

American billionaire, Jeff Bezos, the man behind Amazon.com has reportedly invested in a Canadian company that is trying to develop a hot fusion process that uses hydrogen and seawater. General Fusion based in Vancouver, British Columbia, reportedly raised $19.5 million in venture capital for the development of a fusion or Low Energy Nuclear Reaction process in May. Part of this money apparently came from Bezos’ company Bezos Expeditions.

The funds will be used to finance the building of a plant to demonstrate General Fusion’s cold fusion hot fusion process. The funds come from a variety of American and Canadian venture capital firms including Bezos Expeditions and the Development Bank of Canada.

Drawing of General Fusion's Fusion device

General Fusion intends to create fusion by creating plasma out of deuterium and tritium, trapping it with a magnetic field and compressing it. This would generate large amounts of heat that would power a steam engine that would be used to generate electricity. This process would be a hot fusion process but it would achieve the same results as cold fusion.

Drawing of General Fusion's Plasma Injector

The company’s website states that it has applied for a patent for its fusion process and that it intends to build a full scale plant for demonstration. So far there is word on when or where this plant would be built although it would probably be located in Vancouver.

General Fusion is a privately held company which means it has not issued stock. The company is led by Dr. Michel Laberge, a physicist who serves as President and Chief Technology Officer. Laberge was formerly with Creo Products in Vancouver. He has done post doctoral research at the Canadian National Research Council in Ottawa and the L’ecole Polytechnique in Paris. Laberge is apparently the inventor of General Fusion’s process.

Michel Laberge

General Fusion’s CEO is Doug Richardson a former systems engineer and Director of Development with Creo Products. Richardson is an expert on developing and commercializing new products. Like Laberge he holds three patents.

General Fusion CEO Doug Richardson

Bezos role in General Fusion is unclear as is the amount of money he has invested in it. Bezos is the founder, president and CEO of Amazon.com.

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12 Responses to Amazon Founder invests in Canadian Fusion Venture

  • Lars says:

    Thanks for a good article. Do you know how much power one plant will give?
    It seems more complicated than Rossis e-cat but if it produce much more power it is okey I guess.

  • Francesco CH says:

    This might be very important.
    I know that 35 years ago in Italy researchers Omero Speri and Piero Zorzi worked on the same principle (tritium deuterium from water) with striking results (there is a patent too – now it is expired because it is a 1974 patent).
    Therefore this way is very promising IMHO

    • jennifer says:

      Good point, unfortunately there could be lots of old patents out there that could affect this process. Note that new technological advances often make it possible to generate more power.

  • Brian Ahern says:

    This technology is hopelessly underpowered. The energy concentration from all the piston is about 9 orders of magnitude too low to ignite a fusion reaction.

  • Fred says:

    Sorry to tell you this, but General Fusion is pursuing good ‘ol fashioned Deuterium Tritium hot fusion, not LENR. Their system is all designed to form, heat, and compress plasma to hot fusion conditions (150 milloin degrees).

  • Barnabas Brackwasser says:

    1. The fusion process intended by General Fusion is NOT cold fusion, it’s nuclear fusion like in the H-Bomb
    2. It will not just consume hydrogen and seawater! While deuterium is indeed extracted from seawater, tritium is not. It needs to be bred from Lithium with a sufficient amount of neutrons redirected from the fusion process.
    3. The company is NOT on a direct lane to a power plant but is working on another experiment which could demonstrate break even as early as 2012. Break even only means that the fusion process gains more energy than energy was required for ignition. No electricity will be produced The plain break even experiment yet would be a scientific sensation.

    • jennifer says:

      Yes this would be hot fusion. If this is not a direct lane to a power plant why are so many venture capitalists interested in. It could mean that they know something we do not. As for your comments. We will not know if it will work until they test it.

  • Tom says:

    What temperature range does it operate in? I noticed a plasma port suggesting it is not cold fusion.

  • traymark says:

    GF (General Fusion) is using a hot fusion method called Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF). It is generally not considered as cold fusion.

    • jennifer says:

      Interesting point. Note that all Cold Fusion methods generate a large amount of heat so Cold Fusion is not an entirely accurate term.

  • BarnabasBrackwasser says:

    »NOT on a direct lane to a power plant« doesn’t mean that there will never be one. Venture capitalists are aware of the importance of a successful break even experiment. Only then the investment into a prototype power plant has at least a chance to pay off one day. I’m surprised that you don’t adjust the article above as it doesn’t cast a positive light on the LENR subject of your website.

    I’m glad you mentioned the Focus Fusion approach to nuclear fusion in your latest post.
    »There is no word on when or if LPP will actually try to use their device for power generation or other applications.«
    Well, they will immediately do so when the device is capable of this. Yet it is just an experiment to study a tiny plasmoid effect caused by high currents.
    Currently they only fuse deuterium and tritium, which is fusion like »General Fusion« does, with lots of dangerous neutrons emitted.

    Later this year they may switch to hydrogen and boron (called: pb11, proton-boron11), which is a-neutronic and would have several advantages. If that succeeds, the next giant leap may be their break even experiment. But this can take months or even year, if it ever succeeds.

    • jennifer says:

      Good point. We are trying to publicize what is happening in fusion and to let people make up their minds. My guess is nobody will mention plans publicly until they have something they can demonstrate which makes sense. Venture capitalists are taking a risk. Something to remember is that in the United States any money invested in something like hot or cold fusion research is tax deductible. That means it lessens the income tax payments of rich people so they often invest in things with questionable prospects of return for the tax benefits. Many venture capitalists are also motivated by altruism and a desire to improve the world.