Fusion Energy News International - EDITORIAL
The CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Dr. Bob Mumgaard’s written testimony
to the U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Energy.
Fostering a New Era of Fusion Energy Research and Technology Development
Tony Gerillo, Principal-Editor FENi - 01/01/2022
In late November 2021 a group of private sector, public sector and academic witnesses testified to the Energy Subcommittee of the United States House of Representatives, Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Bob Mumgaard CEO of Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) represented the private industry’s testimony. As you might expect from Bob Mumgaard, he precisely “nailed it.”
Bob of course began with a brief review of Fusion Energy’s developments but quickly moved to what Fusion Energy will do for the U.S. and the world. He does have some sincere concerns over the international race for the commercialization of Fusion Energy but obviously wanted to present congress with the positivity of Fusion Energy’s future.
Starting with Fusion Energy’s role in the global energy transition he emphasized these Key Attributes of commercial Fusion Energy: (quoted directly from testimony)
• Zero emissions: no carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases or pollutant emissions
• Dispatchable: can operate constantly and integrate with intermittent sources
• Scalable: freely available and inexhaustible fuel supply
• Safety: inherently safe with no meltdown or long-lived nuclear waste
• Siting flexibility: relatively small footprint and can be built anywhere
• Robust Domestic Supply Chain: built of mostly steel and concrete; manufacturable in the U.S. and would not require reimagining supply chains
• Markets: in addition to producing electricity, fusion is also a dispatchable source of high-quality heat that can unlock other hard-to-decarbonize markets e.g., hydrogen production, industrial process heat, green fuels, district heating, direct air capture of carbon dioxide, desalination, and others
• Clean energy jobs: replace existing energy production facilities and create clean energy, sustainable jobs for the future
It is important to note that Dr. Mumgaard’s interests are the importance of growing the U.S. Fusion Energy industry, leading the world in Fusion Energy, connecting Fusion Energy power to the grid and of greatest importance, defeating climate change. His concerns for the future of Fusion Energy are mostly overcoming the technical shift from understanding plasmas to developing a Fusion Energy industry. This is best quoted from his testimony.
“The key elements of this plan are a switch in mission from understanding plasmas to developing a fusion power industry, a switch in focus of the publicly funded program from plasma confinement physics to fusion technology development, and the construction of new facilities and test stands to solve the challenges of harnessing fusion power. This includes the construction of the fusion prototypical neutron source test stand, development of heat exhaust solutions, test stands for the tritium fuel cycle, and an increased emphasis on the material science for next generation fusion materials.”
These elements while not simple are defined. Dr. Mumgaard's presentation of these key elements to congress must be acted upon to bring Fusion Energy to fruition. The private sector and academia need much greater support from government. We as citizens should act to convince congress to take greater action. Fusion Energy News International has begun a process of surveying the US congress and other international governments on their positions concerning the future of Fusion Energy. Contact FENi if you wish to be a part of this endeavor. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take a few minutes to read Dr. Mumgaard’s testimony. It is best observed in context as presented.
It is available at: Mumgaard Testimony.pdf (house.gov)
You can find other witness' testimony at: Hearings | Hearings & Legislation | House Committee on Science, Space and Technology