An Australian fusion startup called HB11, a spin-off from the University of New South Wales, claims to have found a way to revolutionize current nuclear fusion technology, potentially laying the groundwork for a new era of power generation without running the risk of a nuclear meltdown. Fusion has been the holy grail of energy production for decades, but there have been significant technical challenges. HB11 has developed a new approach that is extremely simplified and significantly cheaper.
The new approach relies on hydrogen and a boron B-11 isotope instead of extremely rare and expensive radioactive isotopes such as tritium and employs a specialized set of lasers to get the reaction going. Fuel pellets of HB-11 isotopes are ignited with two lasers to trigger an ‘avalanche’ fusion chain reaction. This process skips the need for a heat exchanger or a steam turbine generator and can feed electricity almost directly into the existing power grid. The result is no nuclear waste, no steam, and zero chance of a nuclear meltdown.