June 12, 2008

Latest update on Bussard Fusion Prototype WB7

The Emc2 team has been ramping up its tests over the past few months, with the aim of using WB-7 to verify Bussard's WB-6 results. Today, Nebel said he's confident that the answers will be forthcoming, one way or the other.

"We're fully operational and we're getting data," Nebel said. "The machine runs like a top. You can just sit there and take data all afternoon.

Nebel may be low-key about the experiment, but he has high hopes for Bussard's Polywell fusion concept. If it works the way Nebel hopes, the system could open the way for larger-scale, commercially viable fusion reactors and even new types of space propulsion systems.

"We're looking at power generation with this machine," Nebel said. "This machine is so inexpensive going into the 100-megawatt range that there's no compelling reason for not just doing it. We're trying to take bigger steps than you would with a conventional fusion machine."

EMC2 built the laboratory and an experiment in nine months. If a working scaled up production system could be built in comparable time then the main part (not the site preparation and power lines) of any new reactor could be produced in 9 months or less.

this site had an article about the space propulsion breakthrough that this fusion system would enable if it is successful


M. Simon said...

With the development of non-off the shelf components like superconducting magnets it will take a little longer than 9 months.

Probably two years with a crash program.

bw said...

Thanks for the info. I was referring to a scaled up build process where the designs were successful and being mass produced. All the new components had supply chains built and now were also off the shelf. Then 9 months for standardized build times. Like now it takes 3-6 years to build a nuclear fission reactor.

How fast could new commercial fusion build occur after the ramp up phase ? Displace all of the coal plants. So reuse the sites and the power lines and substitute the fusion reactors where the coal burner was etc...