December 20, 2023

2023 by the Numbers

Photo of man with glasses behind a lot of big cables and wires with an overlay that says "2023 by the numbers"

As 2023 comes to a close, we’ve compiled a set of noteworthy figures that highlight accomplishments from the past year.

5,574 fusion plasmas.

Zap devices produced a record number of Z-pinch plasmas this year.

In the past year, our two fusion devices — FuZE and FuZE-Q — have generated more than 5,574 neutron-producing plasmas (as of last count). Combined with a world-class set of diagnostics, this year’s research and development has resulted in the most detailed study of sheared-flow-stabilized Z pinches ever done.

Read more about how Zap fusion devices work.

1,505,000,000 neutrons produced by a single shot.  
Thousands of shots on FuZE and FuZE-Q demonstrate neutron yield increases along with the total device input current.

Over the course of the year, the fusion produced during R&D operations generated nearly a trillion neutrons, including a single shot that surpassed one and a half billion alone! Critically, FuZE-Q’s high-performance plasmas continue to advance exponentially and remain consistent with adiabatic scaling laws.

The scientific details were published in a paper this September.

100 hours of circulating liquid metal.
Videos capture liquid metal flowing over a wall under vacuum.

This fall, Zap’s liquid metals team hit an important milestone, testing out a second-generation circulating liquid metal loop. The new loop integrates a weir wall, a rim inside a vacuum chamber that the liquid metals flow up to and over. This fountain-like design creates a well that provides a protective cavity capable of withstanding the extremes of fusion and converting neutrons to heat, steadily replacing all inner surfaces. The new system ran 400° C hot metal for 100 straight hours to demonstrate long-duration operations.

See videos of the flowing wall in action (already viewed over 300,000 times on X) or read more about its role from one of the metallurgists working to develop it.

1,000 rapid consecutive pulses of high-voltage power.
A Zap engineer explains the components of the first generation 100 kW Power Supply (100kWPS-01).

This year Zap’s advanced pulsed power team tested a power supply that successfully discharged one thousand consecutive high-voltage pulses, at a rate of roughly one pulse every 10 seconds, without failure. This kind of repetitive pulsed power technology is needed to generate continuous bursts of fusion energy inside a Zap core and is a key enabling technology for our commercial systems.

Read more about how pulsed power serves as the heartbeat of Zap’s fusion system.

1,100,000 pounds of capacitor manufacturing equipment.
A winder used for manufacturing power capacitors.

To further supercharge the development of our pulsed power systems, Zap acquired 1.1 million pounds of gear from a global manufacturer of electrical components. Before shutting down its operations, Italy-based ICAR was a world leader in capacitors and power supply equipment and even supplied capacitors to the National Ignition Facility for the fusion experiments that first achieved scientific breakeven last year.

See our press release about the purchase.

7 peer-reviewed publications.
One of the scientific posters presented by Zap scientists.

Our scientists and collaborators published seven peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals this year, as well as 18 scientific posters and 35 presentations at conferences, symposiums, or seminars. Topics ranged from plasma physics to pulsed power to advanced materials. One highlight is a paper describing how we measure and calculate energy gain, or Q, in our devices.

Visit the Research page to read the papers.

$5,000,000 DOE award.
The DOE launched a program to directly support U.S.-based private fusion companies in May.

This May, Zap was selected as one of eight private fusion companies to receive initial federal awards supporting the development of a fusion energy pilot plant. The U.S. Department of Energy allocated the funds as part of its public/private Milestone-Based Fusion Development Program.

1 invitation to the World Economic Forum.
Zap CEO Benj Conway participates in a meeting of the World Economic Forum Innovators Community.

Zap accepted an invitation earlier this year from the World Economic Forum to join its Technology Unicorn cohort. The WEF’s 54th annual meeting will be held next month in Davos, Switzerland. There Zap CEO and Co-founder Benj Conway will give fusion energy a seat at the table as governments, international organizations, civil society leaders, experts, youth representatives, social entrepreneurs, and news outlets gather to build initiatives for cooperation and progress.

6 letters of community support for power plant development.
Zap VP of Product & Partnerships Ryan Umstattd answering questions from Centralia community members.

Concluding a one-year grant to assess the feasibility of installing a Zap pilot plant at a retiring coal power station in Centralia, Washington, leaders from six organizations — the Lewis County Board of Commissioners, the Centralia mayor’s office, Centralia City Light, Riverside Fire, Centralia College and the Pacific Northwest Center of Excellence for Clean Energy — have submitted official letters of support for the project.

Read more about the Centralia community’s innovative clean energy transition efforts in the Seattle Times.

10 C.F.R. Part 30 regulation framework for fusion.
Detectors measure the neutron output of Zap fusion devices.

In an important decision about how fusion technologies will be handled in the U.S., the National Regulatory Commission announced that they have voted to develop fusion regulations under what’s known as the byproduct material framework contained in Title 10, Part 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations — similar to how they currently regulate particle accelerators and many types of medical facilities.

The announcement provides important clarity for fusion technologies to continue to advance in the U.S., and lowers regulatory hurdles for future devices developed by Zap Energy and its peers.

9 blog posts sharing more about Zap’s history, technology and team members.
Zap’s blog publishes a mix of team member highlights and deeper dives into fusion and our technology.

If these highlights leave you wanting more, be sure to check out the rest of our blog where we posted nine stories this year. You can also visit the newsroom to see the latest announcements or subscribe to our mailing list to get updates right to your inbox. Stay tuned — the stage is set for even more exciting developments in 2024!