Friday, November 20, 2015

Fusion: Are We There Yet?

Reynolds had a blog post on various fusion reactors that are in the works.  My favorite, for no apparent reason is the Polywell Fusion Reactor.  I think I like it because it's been sort of the underdog.

This is a good article that talks about the state of their reactor:

EMC2 has been conducting U.S. Navy-supported research for two decades on a reactor called the polywell, which combines two fusion technologies: electron beams to heat plasma to 100 million degrees and a magnetic bottle to confine the hot plasma. According to a Navy review, the company’s scientists have validated these ideas, and next they must demonstrate that the technologies can support a fusion reaction—the last step before possible commercialization in the form of an electricity-producing reactor.

EMC2 is seeking private investment for a three-year, $30 million commercial research program to prove the polywell can work as a nuclear fusion power generator. “We have had a 20-year involvement by the Navy, and it has been a very productive relationship,” says Park. “We were able to address a lot of basic scientific questions.” He understands that at this point, the company has to give up its government subsidy and seek private funding. “The Navy’s view is that they will provide transitional funds, but it’s time for us to go out on our own,” he says. “In their view, we’re becoming an adult.”

Park hopes to appeal to deep-pocket individual investors, as well as family offices and foundations that are committed to solving the energy problem—“people who look at this as their responsibility and their destiny,” he says. “It’s our generation’s job to solve the energy problem. Whenever we created energy in the past, we created pollution and created problems about sustainability, and we’ve done that for more than 200 years.”

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