Nuclear fusion as unlimited power source for ships

Erin Van Rheenen, Jens Peter Frankemölle, Evelien Scheffers

Research outputpeer-review


Every now and then, every marine engineer dreams of a compact, lightweight and inexhaustible energy source to power large ships across the seven seas. Nuclear fusion of deuterium and tritium promises to be a safe, compact, carbon-free, and inexhaustible energy source. Even though it will take decades before conventional power plants may be replaced with nuclear fusion, the concept of nuclear fusion for marine propulsion has already been put on the table by commercial parties. This research investigates the potential of nuclear fusion onboard ships. The design investigates putting the smallest imaginable magnetic confinement reactor, ARC, on a ship. The only commercial ship requiring significant amounts of power is the Queen Mary 2. The large power output of ARC (200 MWe) is one of the major issues of putting a fusion reactor on a ship. Other issues may include intact stability, structural design and influences of vibrations on the fusion reactor. All in all, we found that a fusion reactor onboard a ship is unlikely to be feasible in the near future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication 2024: International Marine Design Conference
PublisherTU Delft OPEN Publishing
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)3050-4864
StatePublished - 23 May 2024
Event2024 - International Marine Design conference - Amsterdam, Amsterdam
Duration: 2 Jun 20246 Jun 2024


Conference2024 - International Marine Design conference
Internet address

Cite this