September 19, 2009

We Will Know in Two Years

Awesome geekdom. The Polywell Fusion Reactor just got almost $8M in funding. The amount needed to get to the next step (feasibility) was $2M so they have enough to do that and go to production. From M. Simon's IEC Fusion Technology:
Polywell Gets The Dough
EMC2 has gotten almost eight million dollars to do further experimentation on the Polywell Fusion concept.
Energy Matter Conversion Corp., (EMC2)*, Santa Fe, N.M., is being awarded a $7,855,504 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research, analysis, development, and testing in support of the Plan Plasma Fusion (Polywell) Project. Efforts under this Recovery Act award will validate the basic physics of the plasma fusion (polywell) concept, as well as provide the Navy with data for potential applications of polywell fusion. Work will be performed in Santa Fe, N.M., and is expected to be completed in April 2011. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured pursuant to FAR 6.302-1. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake, Calif., is the contracting activity (N68936-09-C-0125).
I think this is the award based on the solicitation discussed here and here and here.

Evidently the $2 million promised in May was just a place holder and the actual funds are significantly greater. This means that the work on WB-8 and the engineering for WB-9 will go forward with the next milestone in April of 2011. Which is in accord with Rick Nebel's promise that We Will Know In Two Years.
The Polywell reactor is the outgrowth from the Philo Farnsworth (invented Television) and Robert Hirsch Fusor, invented in late 1950's. We are able to get sustained Fusion reactions from just a few magnets and some high voltage (and yes, I am greatly oversimplifying). Hospitals use these for producing radioactive isotopes for cancer treatment. Teenage kids have built working units. The Polywell reactor does work. It doesn't produce a net gain in power; it needs to be scaled up. This money will allow the people at EMC2 to see if that will definitely work. Once they determine that it can be scaled up to be self sustaining, they will then need $100M to complete Phase 2. As they say on their website:
Successful Phase 2 marks the end of fossil fuels
And to think that clods like George Soros could find $100M in the crack in their sofa. All the good that this would do for the world. Makes the ITER look like not only an energy sink but at �10B $$$ sink. (especially since it is not scheduled to come online until 2018) Posted by DaveH at September 19, 2009 8:33 PM

BTW, I liked your quote. Thanks

Posted by: Tim (Random Observations) at October 4, 2009 3:01 PM
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