First Light Fusion strengthens board with appointment of GE’s Andreas Lusch

14/11/2019 - Press Releases

Oxford, UK: First Light Fusion, the fusion energy company spun out from the University of Oxford, has strengthened its Board with the appointment of Andreas Lusch as a Non-Executive Director.

Andreas has had a distinguished 30-year career spanning the international oil & gas, petrochemicals and energy industries. Previously he was a Member of the Executive Committee of GE Power and Global President & CEO of GE Steam Power Business. Prior to joining GE, he was the senior vice president of Alstom Thermal Power’s Steam and Nuclear businesses, where he had global responsibility for Alstom’s steam and nuclear portfolios. He also held a number of senior roles at Lurgi AG and ThyssenKrupp Group. Andreas was educated in Germany and studied chemical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe.

First Light Fusion was founded by Nick Hawker and Professor Yiannis Ventikos in 2011 to address the urgent need to decarbonise the global energy system, by developing a commercial fusion energy solution.

First Light’s approach to fusion, which is safe, clean and virtually limitless (with the source of energy drawn from the deuterium contained in sea water), has the potential to transform the world’s energy supply when it will be applied successfully to power generation and can be a major catalyst to helping the world achieve a zero carbon global energy system by 2050. Unlike existing nuclear fission technologies, there is no long-lived waste and raw materials can be found in abundance.

First Light’s approach, a form of inertial confinement fusion, creates the extreme temperatures and pressures required by compressing a target using a projectile travelling at massive speed. In 2019, First Light completed the construction of “Machine 3”, a high-voltage pulsed power device that delivers a current equivalent to around 500 lightning strikes. Similar to a railgun, it uses electromagnetic forces to fire projectiles at around 20km/s, about 50x faster than a bullet. This machine is used to fire a projectile into First Light’s proprietary targets, to achieve fusion.

Once First Light has achieved (and had independently verified) fusion, it will then move forward to building “Machine 4”, which will seek to prove “gain” (ie. creating net energy – or more energy out than in) by 2024. First Light expects to be able to bring a fusion reactor to the grid by the 2030s.

Welcoming Andreas to the Board, Bart Markus, Chairman of First Light Fusion said:
“We are delighted to welcome Andreas to our Board. As First Light Fusion’s core technology is in the fuel pellets that are used in the power plants, First Light will seek partnerships with companies that have decades of experience in building comparable plants. Andreas’ network, expertise and reputation will be invaluable in developing those relationships and, ultimately, in accelerating the delivery of a commercial fusion energy platform.”

Andreas Lusch added:
“Climate change represents perhaps the greatest challenge we face. Fusion energy will have a vital role to play in the future if we are to meet our long term objectives and achieve a zero carbon global energy system by 2050. First Light’s unique inertial confinement technology, combined with a very clear business plan and route to market, make it an exciting business. I am very much looking forward to helping it grow and develop.”