UK Fusion Startup Shatters Pressure Record with Enormous ‘Gun’ Device

# Pioneering the Fusion Energy Frontier: A British Startup’s Breakthrough

Have you ever wondered about the power that lights up the stars, including our own Sun, and thought, “Hey, what if we could harness that celestial might here on Earth?” Well, it turns out, a British [startup](https://thenextweb.com/topic/startups) is on an extraordinary quest to turn this science-fiction dream into reality. They’ve just set a new pressure record with a device so powerful, it makes Earth’s core pressures seem like a gentle hug.

This audacious adventure involves the Z Machine, a behemoth tucked away in Albuquerque, US, boasting a peak power of a jaw-dropping 80 trillion watts. Yes, you read that correctly—80 trillion watts! That’s more than all the electricity bustling through the world’s grid at any given moment. But what’s truly remarkable is how this startup utilized the Z Machine to electrify their path towards a cheaper, faster way to achieve fusion energy.

![Fusion Energy Experiment](https://img-cdn.tnwcdn.com/image?fit=796%2C417&url=https%3A%2F%2Fcdn0.tnwcdn.com%2Fwp-content%2Fblogs.dir%2F1%2Ffiles%2F2024%2F03%2Fz-machine-fusion-energy-first-light.jpg&signature=b57745d1dd44053ff4a691b6a984710b)

Imagine launching a projectile at over 20 kilometers per second (that’s 72,000 km/h!) into a piece of quartz crystal. The result? Pressure soaring beyond 1.85 terapascals—almost four times the pressure found at the heart of our planet. This feat was achieved through the strategic brains at First Light Fusion, who are experimenting with a form of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) dubbed projectile fusion.

Projectile fusion works a bit like a cosmic pinball machine on steroids. Something akin to a copper coin is shot at mind-numbing speeds into a target containing fusion fuel. This sets the stage for the extreme temperatures and pressures needed to coax atoms into fusing together, unleashing energy in the process similar to what powers the cosmos.

But wait, there’s more! This isn’t just about smashing things together really fast. First Light has devised a clever piece of technology known as an amplifier that directs and amplifies the impact’s effects, maximizing heat and pressure. And judging by their record-smashing endeavor, it’s safe to say their amplifier isn’t just pulling its weight—it’s revolutionizing the game.

Curious to see this process in action? Check out [this breathtaking animation](https://img.youtube.com/vi/JN7lyxC11n0/hqdefault.jpg) that showcases the projectile making its high-velocity rendezvous with the target.

As if commandeering the world’s most powerful pulsed power machine wasn’t cool enough, First Light’s game plan diverges from the traditional, and often complex, fusion approaches like the tokamak design. Instead of relying on intricate lasers or massive magnets, they’re betting on a simpler, more affordable, and potentially more efficient route to achieving fusion, reducing the so-called “physics risk.”

In 2021, First Light illuminated their path further by successfully demonstrating fusion at their Oxford facility. With proof of concept in hand, the next monumental challenge lies in proving energy gain, or getting out more energy than what’s put in—a milestone that could reshape our energy landscape.

Fueled by an impressive €95 million in funding, the startup is currently piecing together its own version of the Z Machine, set to fling projectiles at 60 kilometers per second—60 times faster than an average gunshot. This isn’t just about breaking records; it’s about breaking barriers towards a future where fusion energy could light up our world.

So, as you marvel at the night sky, remember that there’s a team out there not just reaching for the stars but working tirelessly to bring the power of the stars down to Earth. And who knows? In our quest for clean, limitless energy, we might just find ourselves one step closer to a future as brilliant as the stars themselves.

Hey, if you find this journey through fusion as electrifying as I do, why not delve into the vibrant tech scene at the [TNW Conference 2024](https://thenextweb.com/conference/tickets?utm_source=TNW-media&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=TNW2024groups)? It promises to be a stellar gathering where innovation lights the way. Plus, there’s a sweet deal to save up to 40% with group offers. Let’s keep pushing the boundaries, one fusion experiment at a time!

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