JREF Homepage Swift Blog Events Calendar $1 Million Paranormal Challenge The Amaz!ng Meeting Useful Links Support Us
James Randi Educational Foundation JREF Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   JREF Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology
Click Here To Donate

Notices


Welcome to the JREF Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.

Tags fusion

Reply
Old 20th June 2006, 01:02 AM   #1
Johnny Pneumatic
Corpuscle Clay
 
Johnny Pneumatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,089
Fusion, eh?

Hmmm, : http://www.fusor.net/board/view.php?...key=1143684406

Look at what dude wrote it, yes, that's the real Robert Bussard, of Bussard ramjet fame. I wonder if this is on the level?
__________________
If we don't play god, who will?-James Watson
What the hell is the matter with you people? Get your minds into the gutter!-Dorian Gray
Good Lord - I've heard about this - cat juggling! Stop! Stop! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Good. Father, could there be a God that would let this happen?- Navin R. Johnson, *The Jerk*
There is nothing to believe in. There's no need to believe...There is nothing to believe in in this world. -Vicious, Cowboy Bebop
Johnny Pneumatic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 01:26 AM   #2
SirPhilip
Bittersweet Symphony
 
SirPhilip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Athens, Ohio
Posts: 2,444
Originally Posted by Johnny Pneumatic View Post
Hmmm, : http://www.fusor.net/board/view.php?...key=1143684406

Look at what dude wrote it, yes, that's the real Robert Bussard, of Bussard ramjet fame. I wonder if this is on the level?
At a lousy attempt to understand what he's saying in English, it looks like "progress", but not "eureka!". Any real progress in practical fusion propulsion is startling, though.
SirPhilip is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 01:45 AM   #3
Dragon
Graduate Poster
 
Dragon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,406
If he's right and it can be done for $100 to 200 million that sounds like small change when set against the USA's need for energy (epsecially when you consider where a lot of that energy has to come from in the form of oil). I bet the Chinese would be interested too ...
__________________
"We must favour verifiable evidence over private feeling. Otherwise we leave ourselves vulnerable to those who would obscure the truth."
Richard Dawkins - The Enemies of Reason

Last edited by Dragon; 20th June 2006 at 02:09 AM.
Dragon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 02:10 AM   #4
Matabiri
Graduate Poster
 
Matabiri's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,734
I'd be interested in knowing the operation - inertial confinement (if that's what it is) systems are very tricky to get running continuously and to remove the power from, which is why magnetic confinement in tokamaks is generally preferred. I'd like to know how he's solved those problems.
__________________
"That's the kind of thing you can't look up on the internet, because it's the kind of thing you get taught at school."
- Ashley Pomeroy
Matabiri is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 03:05 AM   #5
Soapy Sam
NLH
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 27,162
After working since 1987, they made unexpected discoveries in spring and summer 2005 and had a unique machine running by October, then ran out of money?

And they can build an operational demonstration fusion reactor for $200 million in 4-6 years?

Call me a sceptic, but this sounds awfully like many another "we're on the brink of free energy" scheme.

Yes, Bussard's name lends it more credibility than most such schemes, but just a minute- has anyone actually seen a Bussard Ramjet operating either?
(From an appropriate distance).

Still , it would be nice if he called Bill Gates. Micro$oft need a new killer app.
Soapy Sam is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 06:35 AM   #6
trvlr2
Muse
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Sunny Florida
Posts: 805
Here's another:http://singtech.com/

I haven't the background to check it out, but it +seems+ woo-ish.

Oh, that these claims were true!
__________________
Ignorance and stupidity should be painful,in trivial cases; excruciatingly so, in willful instance ; and invariably fatal, in arrogant, willful, cases.
Owww! That smarts!
trvlr2 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 06:47 AM   #7
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Whithin earshot of the North Sea
Posts: 17,386
Their company is called EMC2?
They have the solution to oil shortage but are out of funds?
It doesn't make sense to create a downscaled demonstration model, for economical reasons?
All they need is 200m?

What's that alarm I hear in my head?


OK, benefit of doubt and all that: Maybe they're sincere, but then might I suggest that whoever have reviewed their results so far were somewhat less sanguine about the potential of the project?

Hans
__________________
Don't. Just don't.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 07:58 AM   #8
Jimbo07
Illuminator
 
Jimbo07's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,457
Wow! My little university's little Tokamak got a brief (if somewhat disparaging) post.

I didn't read too much commentary on the status of ITER...
__________________
This post approved by your local jPac (Jimbo07 Political Action Committee), also registered with Jimbo07 as the Jimbo07 Equality Rights Knowledge Betterment Action Group.

Atoms in supernova explosion get huge business -- Pixie of key
Jimbo07 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 08:26 AM   #9
Cyphermage
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 359
Originally Posted by Johnny Pneumatic View Post
Hmmm, : http://www.fusor.net/board/view.php?...key=1143684406

Look at what dude wrote it, yes, that's the real Robert Bussard, of Bussard ramjet fame. I wonder if this is on the level?
Philo T. Farnsworth, the television guy, invented a "fusor" a long time ago. It's basically a sphere, with a charged electrode in the middle, which is placed at a high enough potential that the kinetic energy of hydrogen ions reaching it is equal to their kinetic energy at fusion temperatures. This is called "electrostatic confinement fusion."

It has only one tiny problem, and that is that no one knows how to shield the center electrode well enough to prevent the hydrogen plasma from contacting it, and getting quenched.

So I would assume he's serious. That doesn't mean, of course, that $200 million later, he's going to have something that works well enough to be used as a commercial power generator. A lot of people have tried to fix the fusor, and so far, they have not met with any success. Farnsworth worked on it for 30 years, and didn't get it to work well enough to be useful.

Last edited by Cyphermage; 20th June 2006 at 09:02 AM.
Cyphermage is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 08:42 AM   #10
Curnir
Ninja Wave: Master of disguise
 
Curnir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The cold north.
Posts: 1,639
That Farnsworth guy would be the same one as Fry's relative in Futurama, right?
__________________
Let us Pray to Aphrodite.
Though we know she's kinda flighty.
In her light blue see through nighty.
She's good enough for me.
Curnir is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 08:50 AM   #11
Jimbo07
Illuminator
 
Jimbo07's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3,457
You're thinking of Hubert J. Farnsworth, who dreamed of inventing a "finglonger."

__________________
This post approved by your local jPac (Jimbo07 Political Action Committee), also registered with Jimbo07 as the Jimbo07 Equality Rights Knowledge Betterment Action Group.

Atoms in supernova explosion get huge business -- Pixie of key
Jimbo07 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 08:51 AM   #12
Curnir
Ninja Wave: Master of disguise
 
Curnir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The cold north.
Posts: 1,639
Ahh that's the one.
__________________
Let us Pray to Aphrodite.
Though we know she's kinda flighty.
In her light blue see through nighty.
She's good enough for me.
Curnir is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th June 2006, 09:00 AM   #13
Cyphermage
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 359
Originally Posted by Curnir View Post
That Farnsworth guy would be the same one as Fry's relative in Futurama, right?
I've never watched Futurama, but here's an article that appeared in Analog by one of Bussard's colleagues which explains their approach.

http://torsatron.tripod.com/fusor/fusor.html

Last edited by Cyphermage; 20th June 2006 at 09:12 AM.
Cyphermage is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 02:44 AM   #14
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Whithin earshot of the North Sea
Posts: 17,386
Originally Posted by Cyphermage View Post
So I would assume he's serious. That doesn't mean, of course, that $200 million later, he's going to have something that works well enough to be used as a commercial power generator. A lot of people have tried to fix the fusor, and so far, they have not met with any success. Farnsworth worked on it for 30 years, and didn't get it to work well enough to be useful.
Sounds reasonable. So the real story is not that funding was pulled just as they were on the verge of a break-through, but that they could no longer convince the sponsors that pay-back was anywhere near. Actually, that version makes much more sense .

Of course, now they are hoping to find sponsors that are easier to convince (=more credulous).

Hans
__________________
Don't. Just don't.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 04:17 AM   #15
SirPhilip
Bittersweet Symphony
 
SirPhilip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Athens, Ohio
Posts: 2,444
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
Sounds reasonable. So the real story is not that funding was pulled just as they were on the verge of a break-through, but that they could no longer convince the sponsors that pay-back was anywhere near. Actually, that version makes much more sense .

Of course, now they are hoping to find sponsors that are easier to convince (=more credulous).

Hans
Remember that the best shams, be they personal or technological, are corruptions of legitimate things. The truth is the present energy industry embracing being hugely downsized or going out of business entirely and not attempting to derail any fell-swoop solution defies the reality of greed today. It's equally important that legitimate channels for innovation and funding be protected. If I actually invented something that would put Exxon and everyone else out of business, you think I wouldn't be majorly paranoid?

In Bussard's case, three issues:

1) Can the device be proved theoretically, or at least on strong, independent assumption to work, that would merit persuing the idea.

2) If not, can the investment be established in a way that, if unsuccessful, Bussard would not personally benefit.

3) Failing theoretical and independent qualification, could a small-scale device be fabricated for considerably less, and why not.

Last edited by SirPhilip; 21st June 2006 at 04:27 AM.
SirPhilip is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 04:47 AM   #16
Meffy
Anthropomorphic Skunk
 
Meffy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Unincorporated Territory of Croatan
Posts: 4,232
Originally Posted by Curnir View Post
That Farnsworth guy would be the same one as Fry's relative in Futurama, right?
I've been assuming Professor Farnsworth's name was chosen as a tribute to the 20th-century inventor.
Meffy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 06:24 AM   #17
gfunkusarelius
Critical Thinker
 
gfunkusarelius's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 442
i find it amusing that they claim to be able to tackle such a complex, revolutionary issue, but he gives such a loose estimate on budget...i mean, 100-200 million? indicates they have no real idea what they are up against. imagine if i did the family buget that way.
gfunkusarelius is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 06:38 AM   #18
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Whithin earshot of the North Sea
Posts: 17,386
Originally Posted by SirPhilip View Post
Remember that the best shams, be they personal or technological, are corruptions of legitimate things. The truth is the present energy industry embracing being hugely downsized or going out of business entirely and not attempting to derail any fell-swoop solution defies the reality of greed today. It's equally important that legitimate channels for innovation and funding be protected. If I actually invented something that would put Exxon and everyone else out of business, you think I wouldn't be majorly paranoid?
In fact I think you would be majorly rich and not at all in need of investors, but in need of a big stick to fight them off with.

The big oil companies are facing the end of their business, and even without that, what would entice them to not embrace a new clean, politically correct energy source, in favor of dirty, tricky, and investment-heavy oil? They would be scampering to get in on it, and in that contex, a few hundred million would be pocket money.

Quote:
In Bussard's case, three issues:

1) Can the device be proved theoretically, or at least on strong, independent assumption to work, that would merit persuing the idea.

2) If not, can the investment be established in a way that, if unsuccessful, Bussard would not personally benefit.

3) Failing theoretical and independent qualification, could a small-scale device be fabricated for considerably less, and why not.
1: Apparantly not, otherwise he would say so, and probably patent the stuff.

2: In theory, yes.

3: He says it is not economical because it will not be competitive with existing energy. .. Which is perfect BS, because if it could produce at all, he would not have difficulty finding investors.

So, I think the inescapable conclusion is that whether he is sincere or not, he is much farther from being able to deliver than he claims.

Hans
__________________
Don't. Just don't.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 07:32 AM   #19
Soapy Sam
NLH
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 27,162
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
In fact I think you would be majorly rich and not at all in need of investors, but in need of a big stick to fight them off with.

The big oil companies are facing the end of their business, and even without that, what would entice them to not embrace a new clean, politically correct energy source, in favor of dirty, tricky, and investment-heavy oil? They would be scampering to get in on it, and in that contex, a few hundred million would be pocket money.
Absolutely. There are no Oil Companies anymore. They are Energy Companies.

Soapy Sam is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 08:43 AM   #20
Almo
Masterblazer
 
Almo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 6,555
What bugs me is it sounds like a 419 scam. "We had it, lost funding that week, and now just need a small kick of $150 mil."
__________________
Almo!
My Blog
"No society ever collapsed because the poor had too much." — LeftySergeant
"It may be that there is no body really at rest, to which the places and motions of others may be referred." –Issac Newton in the Principia
Almo is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 12:12 PM   #21
SirPhilip
Bittersweet Symphony
 
SirPhilip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Athens, Ohio
Posts: 2,444
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
In fact I think you would be majorly rich and not at all in need of investors, but in need of a big stick to fight them off with. The big oil companies are facing the end of their business, and even without that, what would entice them to not embrace a new clean, politically correct energy source, in favor of dirty, tricky, and investment-heavy oil? They would be scampering to get in on it, and in that contex, a few hundred million would be pocket money.
I'm not well-read on the politics of the energy industry, but If this is actually the situation, then wonderful.

Quote:
1: Apparantly not, otherwise he would say so, and probably patent the stuff.

2: In theory, yes.

3: He says it is not economical because it will not be competitive with existing energy. .. Which is perfect BS, because if it could produce at all, he would not have difficulty finding investors.

So, I think the inescapable conclusion is that whether he is sincere or not, he is much farther from being able to deliver than he claims.

Hans
Then 2) would be the most viable option. I could think of a lot worse things to invest 200 million in, and a famous, respected name backing it does lend it credibility in a certain sense. I'd shell it out if I had it. I doubt a prominent career scientist is going to commit career suicide by dropping a bomb like this (no pun intended) without merit. If it does turn out to be the real thing, the offhand "Does anyone care?" will certainly go down as one of the more humorous events in human history.
SirPhilip is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 12:29 PM   #22
SirPhilip
Bittersweet Symphony
 
SirPhilip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Athens, Ohio
Posts: 2,444
I Gmailed Him..

Dr.Bussard,

Your recent change of position have charged and heated discussion up on the JREF forums. If you'd aren't busy
performing other meaningful work, we'd love if you'd divert your energy for a short period of time to drop-by and
throw weight into the discussion.

http://forums.randi.org/showthread.p...15#post1718115

I'm positive,

Philip Malandrino



SirPhilip is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 01:55 PM   #23
Cyphermage
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 359
Quote:
3) Failing theoretical and independent qualification, could a small-scale device be fabricated for considerably less, and why not.
Fusors are easy to make, and have even been manufactured commercially as laboratory neutron sources. There's no reason you couldn't build one as a high school science fair project. They're just overengineered vacuum tubes.

The hard part isn't making a fusor which emits neutrons, it's making one which puts out more energy than it consumes. Bussard claims to have solved a number of engineering problems which theoretically limit the efficiency of the fusor. These include keeping the plasma from touching the cathode, and finding something to do with the electrons you strip off the hydrogen atoms, since separating the ions from their electrons over any great distance against their enormous electrostatic attraction is not possible.

A breakeven fusor is a very complicated engineering problem, and as with all such things, the devil is in the details.

Can Bussard take existing computer codes used for modeling magnetic confinement fusion, and model his proposed device on a supercomputer, and demonstrate it to work in simulation?

If he can do that and pass peer review by leading plasma physicists, then I'd say give him the money. If his plan is to just continue to build fusors, and try to fix what's wrong with them, then I imagine he will tinker his way through any new round of investing the same way he's tinkered through prior rounds.

Last edited by Cyphermage; 21st June 2006 at 01:59 PM.
Cyphermage is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st June 2006, 06:22 PM   #24
Scott Haley
Muse
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 579
The ITER project is a effort to build the largest fusion plant ever. Scientists are confident that if a donut-shaped reactor is large enough, it will produce a lot more energy than it takes to run it. The governments of the United States, Russia, Mainland China, South Korea, Japan, and the European Union are contributing resources. It will be built in France, and they plan to have it completed in 2016. You can read about it at http://www.iter.org/
Scott Haley is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2006, 08:41 AM   #25
Meffy
Anthropomorphic Skunk
 
Meffy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Unincorporated Territory of Croatan
Posts: 4,232
Mmm... donut... D'OH! The only fusion reactor left with sprinkles has pink icing.
Meffy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd June 2006, 05:38 PM   #26
Scott Haley
Muse
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 579
"You can see by the color of the flame that this was a particularly sweet donut..."

"No! This is not happening..."
Scott Haley is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2006, 02:02 AM   #27
SirPhilip
Bittersweet Symphony
 
SirPhilip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Athens, Ohio
Posts: 2,444
Mein Gott...

Dear SirPhilip!:

I have read the threads on the Randi forum, and they are all intent and I am sure well-menaing. However, I have not been able to "log in" on this forum so am writing to you instead. Perhaps you can post this note as a reply and commentary to some of the issues raised by your forum correspondents.

First, what we have achieved in our rather unexpectedly good tests of last November 9 and 10th was an output of DD fusion at about 10 kV, at B fields of 1300 G, in a 30 cam dia device (WB-6) run in a pulsed mode from big capacitors, with a fusion rate of about 1E9 /sec. This works our to be about 100,000 x higher than the data of Hirsch/Farnsworth at similar well depth and drive conditions. The test duration was only about 0.4 masec, but since the electron lifetime is ca 0.1 microsec this is steady-state to the plasma particles. We had neither the money, nor the cooling, nor the power supplies, nor the controls to run this small device steady-state, which is what we need to do, and what requires us to build the full-scale device.

This was a direct result of discovering something during late Spring/ early summer tests of WB-5, which was a closed boc machine, like the early HEPS of 1989. What we discovered was - in hindsight - elementary; it was that indeed God is in the details, and the detail of particular importance is that no metal surface penetrated by B fields must occupy more than about 1E-4 to 1E-5 of the total surface available to the recirculating electrons. If this dead fraction is larger, there is NO hope of net power from any such machine. AND, it is essential that the device be recirculating, i.e. that the electrons can circulate out and back through the cusps all over the machine. Of course, this is obvious; but in 15 years no one saw it, not Hirsch, not our consultants not our opponents, not our staff, and not me.

It is consistent with the need for electrons to recirculate about 100,000 times before being lost to collisions with structure, to yield net power.

Please remember that our device has the property that the electron flow and losses are decoupled from the ion flow and fusion generation. Power balance depends on suppresssion of the electron losses, which are derived from the energetic electron injection that forms the gridless negative potential well that traps the ions.

When we figured this thing out, in summer 2005, we quickly designed and quickly built WB-6, using only conformal (with the B fields produced) coil cans, so that no B field uniquely penetrated the cans, and then placed the coils in a special array so that no corners touched (this latter is a long topic having to do with local B fields, and loss of WiffleBall trapping due to line cusp effects at the corners, etc, etc, and is the baisis of our final patents on this thing). It IS the details that make or break the device. And this particular set of details absolutely dominates the performance.

Anyway, we ran the device in October, for beta=one tests, to confirm transport scaling laws, and then in early November to test for fusion output. And, happiness, indeed, three tests on 9 November and one on 10 Novem,ber gave the results mentioned above. The next day, 11 November, we tried it again, but magnet coil motions induced by repeated testing had moved the coils enough that an insulation spot had worn away inside the cans, and the device shorted and blew up one leg, with the full cap discharge. Having no further funding, we had to start shutting doen the lab the following Monday!!! Irony?

As to our funding -- our USN contract still exists, and still has about $ 2M authorized in it. However, year-by-year funding was NOT provide for FY 2006, so that we knew we had to close down early in 2006.. What saved us was Adm Cohen (CNR) who put another 900 K into the program to try to get us down the road to where we DID go, and then we had to quit. It was not a cutoff of OUR funding, but the entire Navy Energy Program was cut to zero in FY 2006, and we were a part of this cut. The funds were clearly needed for the more important War in Iraq.

So, as we cut down, we managed to save the lab equipment, by transfer to SpaceDev, which hired our three best lab people as well, and we are still trying to get the missing $ 2M restored and put into our existing but unfunded contract. IF this happens - which is improhable, given the politics of this election year, and the non-visionary people in Congress - we will redo WB-6 with an improved and better version (WB-7) which should give 5x more output, and run about 50 tests to quiet dissent. AND we will convene a review panel of very high-level and internationally distinguished people to spend about 6 weeks going over this to recommend for or against proceeding sith a full scale demo.

This may or may not happen. If it does, I have little doubt as to the panel recommendation, as the data and insight from WB-5/6 is just too clear. We really have solved the last engineering physics problem that has plagued our work for 12 year s or so. Yes, there is much left to do, iespecially in controls and diagnostics, but these are predictable things not dependent on beating the Paschen curve.

And we still have to develop some reliable e-guns and i-sources, again predictable enginering that costs both time and money, but not new physics.

Why a full-scale demo? Because the system scales oddly: Fusion output goes as the 7th power of the size and Gain goes as the 5th power. Thus there is very little to be gained by building a half-size model; it is too weak to give anything definitive about power production or gain. And our tests were always at about 1/8 to 1/10 scale of the full scale demo. We told the DoD from the beginning that the real program would cost about 150-200 M, since 1987, and they all knew this. However, since the DoD has no charter to do such work, and the political realities were that a big DoD program would attract the ire and power of the DoE to kill it, it was never funded beyond about 1/8 the level required.

So we did what we could and finally DID prove the physics and associated engineering physics constraints, scaling laws, etc, albeit at 1/8-1/10 scale. So what? Doubling the size will not tell us anything we don't already know. The next intelligent and logical step is to build a machine big enough to make net power. And THAT is the same 200 M we have quoted to the DoD since the beginning.

As for energy companies "stampeding" to support us - It is clear that a view like this is ignorant of the reality of energy companies. There is only one thing the oil cvompanies want, and that is to sell oil, and more oil. So long as the fields pump, the oil companies will squeeze. They have NO, absolutely NO interest in anything new, ins spite of all their foolish ads in magazines for wind mills and solar-PV roofs. It is all just show and tell. I know these guys, and there is no way they would support anything that might get in the way of oil. The only way to stop oil, from their view, is when it does run out. And then they''ll go for deeper drilling, new fields, Gulf geopressure gas, LNG, etc, etc, and keep raising the price, until finally foolish solar and windmills become competitive.

And we are paying the equivalent of $ 500/bbl oil costs. But Exxon and Halliburton are getting richer all the time.

Yes, we would like to build the demo plant, and yes, it will cost about 150 (DD) to 200 M (pB11), and who knows if any investor singly or a group can or will come up with the money. One of the biggest obstacle is the world-wide tokamak lobby, which perpetuates the fraud that Hirsch, Trivelpiece and I foisted on the country in the 1970's when we started the big tokamak ball rolling.

Magnetic confinement fusion is a misnomer, as magnetic fields can NOT confine a plasma, only constrain its motion towards walls. The entire history of the MagConf program has been to reduce transport to neo-classical (not turbulent or instability-driven) losses. And THEN the machines are all inherently and inevitably huge and cost too much and make too much power to ever be economically useful --- as the utilities have been telling the AEC/DoE for 30 years. No matter, the global tokamak program provides jobs for hudreds of thousands of people in many countries, and is a safe place to put political pork funding, simply because it IS NO THREAT TO OIL - it won't ever work, but it sounds good to the untutored public..

As for us; our company still exists, but we will not likely run any demo program - that will be up to others to carry it on, if we all get the chance. Meanwhile, my objective is very simple. I detest the energy stranglehold of our companies on our people, and am going to try to give our idea away at the soonest possible moment. To anyone, anywhere, who might want to undertake its development. And we'll be happy to help in any way we can, if a serious interest develops anywhere in the world.

I think the US, UK, France, et al are lost causes, because of theri commitment to the failed tokamak effort, as is probably Germany, and maybe others, too. China may be a possibility, as it is quite independent even though part of the ITER mess, Russia may be considererd, and countries like Spain, Brazil, Italy, Argentina, and others may logically have an interest.

I believe that the survival of our high-tech civilizations depends on getting off of fossile fuels ASAP, and - if we do not - we will descend into a growing series of "oil wars" and energy confrontations that can lead only to a huge cataclysim. Which CAN be circumvented if only we build the clean fuison machines in time. Our patents are in final form, and I am giving a paper in the Fall, and trying to get a large technical description together for a major paper by summer. We shall see.

One final word: Actually our device is really not a variant of Farnwworth/Hirsch, but of Elmore/Tuck/Watson who propeosed the inversion of Farnsworth/Hirsch long ago (ca. 1967). Their problem was the interception of circulating electrons by grids - we removed the grids and replaced them by B field insulated coils - thus our "grids" are the coils themselves.. And we do know how these work, at last.

Good luck to all of us.

Cheers, RW Bussard

Whatever the situation, It's quite an honor to correspond with someone featured in one of the most interesting chapters of Carl Sagan's Cosmos.
SirPhilip is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2006, 02:10 AM   #28
AWPrime
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,929
Nice detailed reply.
__________________
Sir Arthur C. Clarke - "Any sufficiently advanced technology, to the uninformed observer, is indistinguishable from magic."
c4ts - "Jesus loves the little children, Nice and fat and honey roasted..."
Lancastic = Demonstrative of outstanding personal effort in the exposing of frauds.
Rob Lister - "The enemy of my enemy probably tastes yummy. "
AWPrime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2006, 05:29 AM   #29
Meffy
Anthropomorphic Skunk
 
Meffy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Unincorporated Territory of Croatan
Posts: 4,232
Thanks to Mr. Bussard for the response and to SirPhillip for asking. I lack enough physics to evaluate the competing schools of thought, so will have to wait and see tests and demonstrations. I'm hoping the coming decades will see developments that will rock those %$#@ oil companies back on their heels.
Meffy is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2006, 05:48 AM   #30
Cyphermage
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 359
Originally Posted by Meffy View Post
Thanks to Mr. Bussard for the response and to SirPhillip for asking. I lack enough physics to evaluate the competing schools of thought, so will have to wait and see tests and demonstrations. I'm hoping the coming decades will see developments that will rock those %$#@ oil companies back on their heels.
Excellent reply by Dr. Bussard.

He's right that there's a lot of pressure to throw all the eggs in the ITER basket. Government scientists who even mention alternative fusion schemes wind up in big trouble with their agencies, and funding for research is non-existent.

If he wants to give his knowlege away, perhaps he could write the definitive book on fusor engineering. That would place the information in the public domain, and anyone who wanted to pick up the ball later could do so.
Cyphermage is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2006, 03:49 PM   #31
Johnny Pneumatic
Corpuscle Clay
 
Johnny Pneumatic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,089
Well, that's just cool.

I can't read Soapy Sam's mind, so maybe he was serious, but why not actually ask Bill Gates to fund it? Ol' Bill is an uber-philanthropist. He's given almost half of his fortune away. Sure, it's a tax write off for him, I'm right along with the cynics there(because I'm one too) but that still tells me he has a huge heart: because he wouldn't be taxed *that much* that he wouldn't be better off hanging onto it. I just might fire an e-mail off to Bill Gates, if I can find his actual e-mail address(a long shot, indeed: because I can imagine Bill would get lots of hate mail if his e-mail was widely known).
__________________
If we don't play god, who will?-James Watson
What the hell is the matter with you people? Get your minds into the gutter!-Dorian Gray
Good Lord - I've heard about this - cat juggling! Stop! Stop! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! Good. Father, could there be a God that would let this happen?- Navin R. Johnson, *The Jerk*
There is nothing to believe in. There's no need to believe...There is nothing to believe in in this world. -Vicious, Cowboy Bebop
Johnny Pneumatic is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2006, 07:48 PM   #32
SirPhilip
Bittersweet Symphony
 
SirPhilip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Athens, Ohio
Posts: 2,444
Originally Posted by Johnny Pneumatic View Post
Well, that's just cool.

I can't read Soapy Sam's mind, so maybe he was serious, but why not actually ask Bill Gates to fund it? Ol' Bill is an uber-philanthropist. He's given almost half of his fortune away. Sure, it's a tax write off for him, I'm right along with the cynics there(because I'm one too) but that still tells me he has a huge heart: because he wouldn't be taxed *that much* that he wouldn't be better off hanging onto it. I just might fire an e-mail off to Bill Gates, if I can find his actual e-mail address(a long shot, indeed: because I can imagine Bill would get lots of hate mail if his e-mail was widely known).
Saving the world from disaster on the JREf forums, one post at a time.
SirPhilip is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd June 2006, 07:54 PM   #33
Cyphermage
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 359
Originally Posted by Johnny Pneumatic View Post
Well, that's just cool.

I can't read Soapy Sam's mind, so maybe he was serious, but why not actually ask Bill Gates to fund it? Ol' Bill is an uber-philanthropist. He's given almost half of his fortune away. Sure, it's a tax write off for him, I'm right along with the cynics there(because I'm one too) but that still tells me he has a huge heart: because he wouldn't be taxed *that much* that he wouldn't be better off hanging onto it. I just might fire an e-mail off to Bill Gates, if I can find his actual e-mail address(a long shot, indeed: because I can imagine Bill would get lots of hate mail if his e-mail was widely known).
It probably needs to be funded by someone who doesn't remember the demise of the INESCO Riggatron.
Cyphermage is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th June 2006, 06:02 AM   #34
Hindmost
Illuminator
 
Hindmost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Draco Tavern
Posts: 3,317
Inertial Electrostatic confinement fusion machines have been around for a long time.

The amout of fusion by confining the plasma with this method has not been viable. It consumes much more power than it can produce. A much higher plasma density would be required that is just not possible with this type of device as I have seen it in the past. The fusion rate of 1 E9 per second is common with these machines.

I was surprised that the D-D reaction is referenced in Bussard's response. The D-D fusion reaction has a much higher reaction temperature than the D-T reaction. About 100 times if I recall.

The amout of money Bussard is requesting doesn't seem that much to accomplish a full scale test--considering what our govt spends. The whole thing doesn't seem right...just about the time a breakthrough is achieved, he runs out of money.

glenn
__________________
Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence

Carl Sagan
Hindmost is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th June 2006, 12:52 AM   #35
rjh01
Gentleman of leisure
Tagger
 
rjh01's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Flying around in the sky
Posts: 19,107
I put the response in Microsoft Word and ran a spell check. Produced several spelling errors. I would have thought a scientist would have put a letter through a spell checker before sending it out.

Quote:
There is only one thing the oil companies want, and that is to sell oil, and more oil. So long as the fields pump, the oil companies will squeeze. They have NO, absolutely NO interest in anything new,


Oil companies know that we are getting short of oil and they should be looking at alternatives. I query if this was written by Mr Bussard at all.

rjh01 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th June 2006, 12:57 AM   #36
Cyphermage
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 359
Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I put the response in Microsoft Word and ran a spell check. Produced several spelling errors. I would have thought a scientist would have put a letter through a spell checker before sending it out.
The world is full of smart people who spend their entire lives trying to make the Next Big Thing, and don't.

Let's just remember the guy for the Interstellar Ramjet, and move on.
Cyphermage is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th June 2006, 04:28 AM   #37
AWPrime
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 2,929
Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I put the response in Microsoft Word and ran a spell check. Produced several spelling errors. I would have thought a scientist would have put a letter through a spell checker before sending it out
Not all scientists are english teachers......
__________________
Sir Arthur C. Clarke - "Any sufficiently advanced technology, to the uninformed observer, is indistinguishable from magic."
c4ts - "Jesus loves the little children, Nice and fat and honey roasted..."
Lancastic = Demonstrative of outstanding personal effort in the exposing of frauds.
Rob Lister - "The enemy of my enemy probably tastes yummy. "
AWPrime is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th June 2006, 01:07 PM   #38
infornography
Scholar
 
infornography's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 123
Originally Posted by Johnny Pneumatic
Well, that's just cool.

I can't read Soapy Sam's mind, so maybe he was serious, but why not actually ask Bill Gates to fund it? Ol' Bill is an uber-philanthropist. He's given almost half of his fortune away. Sure, it's a tax write off for him, I'm right along with the cynics there(because I'm one too) but that still tells me he has a huge heart: because he wouldn't be taxed *that much* that he wouldn't be better off hanging onto it. I just might fire an e-mail off to Bill Gates, if I can find his actual e-mail address(a long shot, indeed: because I can imagine Bill would get lots of hate mail if his e-mail was widely known).
Your best bet would be to try to contact the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (the charitable foundation that they formed). I would imagine they get a lot of requests as well and this may or may not be as tax deductable as your standard charitable donation but it might be worth a shot.
infornography is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th June 2006, 03:11 PM   #39
Apollyon
Muse
 
Apollyon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Orlando
Posts: 942
Paul Allen might be a better bet than Gates. He funded Scaled Composites for the X-Prize and likes to invest in relatively speculative, high-tech ventures, particularly those that have the potential to be world changing.
Apollyon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th June 2006, 05:01 PM   #40
Cyphermage
Critical Thinker
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 359
Originally Posted by Apollyon View Post
Paul Allen might be a better bet than Gates. He funded Scaled Composites for the X-Prize and likes to invest in relatively speculative, high-tech ventures, particularly those that have the potential to be world changing.
That's an excellent suggestion. Allen has a vision of using his vast fortune to make the cool things in Science Fiction a reality.

He funded the winner of the X-Prize, and he has startups going in a number of fields, including artificial intelligence.

He also created the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame at the Seattle Center.

The problem with fusion is that it has been ten years away for the last 50 years. Everytime we think we have an engineering model that covers all the bases, some new fly in the ointment emerges.

It's gotten to the point now that when someone says they know how to make a nice little 500 MW fusion reactor that can be stamped out like cookies in a factory and mass produced, there is a great deal of skepticism and even some giggling in the audience.

I do think a fusion startup is going to be a hard sell, even with someone as willing to fund new technology as Paul Allen. These things always end up by running out of money just as the great "breakthrough" is made, and only needing another $150 million or so to get the thing to work.
Cyphermage is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

JREF Forum » General Topics » Science, Mathematics, Medicine, and Technology

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:58 PM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2001-2013, James Randi Educational Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.