High-Tech Energy Firm Crowdsources Engineering Challenge
April 22, 2015
General Fusion enlists 350,000-plus potential “solvers” around the world
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – April 22, 2015) – A Vancouver area high-tech energy company is now crowdsourcing some of its tough engineering and science challenges.
The idea, says General Fusion CEO Nathan Gilliland, is to engage a global community of keen, disciplined problem solvers in the exciting field of fusion energy: “Just as technical powerhouses like NASA, GE, Pfizer and many others have used crowdsourcing as a viable process to add creativity to technical challenges, General Fusion will do the same.”
Teaming up with InnoCentive of Waltham Mass., which has a roster of 355,000 registered “solvers” from nearly 200 countries, General Fusion, the fusion energy development company, is starting with the thorny problem of finding a seal for its fusion system that will withstand withering impacts, pressure, heat and rapid repetition. The winner of the challenge, formally titled “Method for Sealing Anvil under Repetitive Impacts Against Molten Metal”, will claim a $20,000 prize offered by General Fusion.
To date, InnoCentive has posted more than $40 million in awards for hopeful “seekers”. InnoCentive says that more than 1,500 awards have been given out and claims an 85 per cent success rate for its premium challenges.
“This challenge marks the beginning of our Open Innovation Program,” said Nathan Gilliland. “We believe that fusion is more than ‘disruptive’ or a ‘game changer’; we believe clean, safe abundant fusion energy will change the world, and through InnoCentive and other open innovation methods, we’re enlisting as many collaborators as possible to ensure that we are successful.”
General Fusion’s Magnetized Target Fusion approach has shown promising results using shock waves to compress hydrogen plasma to fusion temperatures and pressures, with the goal of producing energy. In a fusion power plant, hundreds of pistons will fire simultaneously and repetitively against a corresponding array of anvils.
The challenge went up on April 15; and already, 120 “active solvers” are hard at work on the solution. The challenge runs for 30 days, until May 15, followed by a 30-day evaluation period. Good news for solvers – the winner doesn’t have to build the seal, just come up with a written submission that will work.
Solvers, if you don’t win this challenge, keep your sharpened pencils at the ready – Mr. Gilliland promises that further challenges will be revealed in the months to come.
About General Fusion:
General Fusion is developing the fastest, most practical, and lowest cost path to commercial fusion energy. The company was established in 2002 and is supported by a global syndicate of leading energy venture capital funds, industry leaders, and technology pioneers, including: Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, Bezos Expeditions, Cenovus Energy, Growthworks, Braemar Energy Ventures, BDC, Entrepreneurs Fund, SET Ventures, and Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
InnoCentive is the global leader in crowdsourcing innovation solutions from the world’s smartest people who compete to provide ideas and solutions to important business, social, policy, scientific and technical challenges. Our global network of millions of problem solvers, proven challenge methodology and cloud-based technology combine to help our clients transform their economics of innovation through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. For more than a decade, leading organizations such as AARP Foundation, Air Force Research Labs, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cleveland Clinic, Eli Lilly & Company, EMC Corporation, NASA, Nature Publishing Group, Procter & Gamble, Scientific American, Syngenta, The Economist, Thomson Reuters and the U.S. EPA have partnered with InnoCentive to rapidly generate innovative new ideas and solve problems faster, more cost effectively and with less risk than ever before.