Helion Energy inks big contract and has aggressive goals

Helion Energy came across my radar. They signed a contract with Microsoft for electrical delivery in 2028.

That is interesting, but anything can happen in five years. So I started digging, here we have some serious players tossing large sums of money around and making pretty outrageous claims.

Five years is one thing, however Helion is claiming that they will produce electricity in 2024. That is roughly 18 months. I found this shocking. If it is true, if it happens the day it happens the world changes. Not five years when they produce electricity but in 2024 if they actually produce electricity.

So, I looked and looked, I tried to find out why the executives at Helion were confident enough to sign a contract with some with some punitive clauses. And why the were confident enough to make the bold claim of electricity production in 2024.

I could not find it.

I did find that Sam Altman was involved. I did notice that they are looking for a lot of people. Pay isn’t bad either.

Still I found no interviews with any of the executive officers, I couldn’t find a TED talk. No tweets, nothing, nothing from the people in charge at all.

I will watch this carefully. If Helion is not a fraud the world will change completely in 2024. (Probably not)



YES. If Helion actually has the goods then this is bigger than AI and might even somehow balance out against massive ingrained stooopidity.

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For those who have no idea what Helion Energy does, here is a link:

Polaris, Helion’s seventh-generation machine, should come online next year and demonstrate electricity generation, using pulsed high-power magnet technologies to achieve fusion, Kirtley said. In 2021, Helion was the first private company to achieve 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit) and the optimum temperature for fusion is about twice that, Kirtley said. While many fusion companies are looking to tritium, a rare hydrogen isotope, to help fuel reactions, Helion plans to use Helium 3…

Helion still needs design and construction approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), as well as local permits. But the fusion industry was cheered by the NRC’s decision last month to separate fusion regulation from that of fission, a move backers say could reduce timelines for license approvals.




I want to emphasize, this is an odd duck company. The contract between Microsoft and Helion seems to have an odd deal. Peter Thiel and Sam Altman
been an investors in Helion for a long time but Bill Gates has been invested in another fusion company and solar company with a name simular to Helion, but a quick search, not thorough, did not pick up a link between Helion and Microsoft.

Additionally, Helion is not a public company and the executives are not running around giving interviews or investor days or keynote speeches. The reasoning behind the time lines is simply not public, it just is.

The claims the Helion are making are jaw dropping, 0.01 dollars per kilowatt hour or about 10 dollars per megawatt hour.

This would put Helion at the very bottom of the wholesale price structure. Depending on the flexibility of the plants, the ability to peak, required minimum base load etc. Helion could disrupt all forms of electrical generation.

These words I am using are clinical. Maybe a better way would be, the wind farms we are building would end up being post apocalyptic looking skeletons on the land scape. Solar roofs would be in the same league as the big dish antenna that people abandoned in their yards, all base load fossil fuel plants no matter the fuel source would become rusting hulks like the stream tractors after the diesel engine made its debut.

The entire structure of the fossil fuel energy sector would be even more rapidly disrupted than it already is. The protection of and the profits generated by the movement, or lack of fossil fuels would be vaporized.

The enormity of this, and the closeness is not really being communicated by the
principles at Helion. This is odd.



Wow! That’s about half of the recent low natural gas electricity prices! Not bad.

Electricity Monthly Update - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA))%20in%20February%202023.

“The Henry Hub natural gas price ($19.80/MWh) saw a decrease from the previous month ($27.01/MWh)”

That would tear down all the dams.

At US$0.05/kWh, hydroelectricity remains the lowest-cost source of electricity worldwide, according to a recent report by the International Renewable Energy Agency, entitled Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2017.

The global weighted average levelized cost of electricity from new projects commissioned in 2017 was US$0.05/kWh from hydropower, compared with US$0.06 for onshore wind, $0.07 for bioenergy and geothermal projects and $0.10 for utility-scale solar photovoltaic. Hydro’s LCOE varies regionally, with 2016-2017 values being $0.04/kWh in Asia, $0.05 in South America, $0.06 in North America, $0.07 in Africa, Eurasia and the Middle East, $0.10 in Central America and the Caribbean and $0.12 in Europe.



In nuclear fusion parlance, doesn’t this mean that they will produce more energy than they use to produce it? Even if it’s only one microwatt lasting for one microsecond?

Didn’t someone already do that last year?

“Scientists studying fusion energy at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California said they produced the first fusion reaction in a laboratory that created more energy than it took to start it.”

No, not even close. They produced more heat than was applied the fusion device. The electricity used was multiples higher than any electricity that theoretically be produced.

The difference between that and this is the difference between the Wright brothers and a Ford Tri-motor.



You are reading this article with rose colored glasses.

When Helion is claiming that they will produce electricity in 2024 – what does that mean? It means they will generate some miniscule amount of electricity.

If they do not generate any electricity in 2024, then their contract with Microsoft is nul and void. They probably have other escape routes even if they do produce some electricity in 2024.

My engineering judgement says Helion’s plant will NOT be online by 2028 and will NOT provide power generation of 50 megawatts or greater after a one-year ramp-up period.




This is what I find odd. If it produces, positive electricity, the world changes.

Yet, this is so low key I need to put a mirror in front of it to see if it is breathing. I did not see the escape clause, that changes everything.

Do you have a link to more detail on the contract and the near and far time lines?


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