This is really good news – the company formed by Dr Robert Bussard, EMC2, has just been awarded more money to build another ‘Wiffleball’, called the WB-8.
There’s more details at Power and Control: WB-8 In The Works, including a very good primer on this particular brand of fusion at Bussard’s IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained.
Time lines for knowing whether this will work commercially – 18-24 months. If it does, then all bets are off….
I saw a programme last night with James May talking about ‘alternative’ (his quotes) energy, and there was the usual ones of solar, wave power (I remember the Salter Duck from a while back, but didn’t realise it was government incompetence that killed it off – basically they said it would be 10 times more expensive than nuclear, and that did it in), kite power from the Netherlands and some guys in the States cracking CO2 to create petrol using concentrated sunshine.
So far, so so-so.
Then there was the bit about Nuclear Fusion – the sun uses it, it’s clean, it only creates helium, enough fuel to power the planet essentially forever, and all you need is … 100 million degrees to fuse the atoms of hydrogen together. Cue; CERN, ITER, JET, big computers, sirens, and tokamaks (toroids – doughnuts). Then – some very nice footage of James looking at a screen that’s showing some actual fusion going off in a the toroid – sexaay!
Except there’s a lot more to fusion than the tokamaks….