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May 02, 2011

IEC Fusion WB8 prototype is operating as designed and should report in about 12 months



IEC (Inertial Electrostatic confinement) Fusion Technology points to an update on the Energy Matter Conversion corporation (EMC2) navy bussard nuclear fusion project.

Project Title Federal Contract

Project Status More than 50% Completed

Final Project Report Submitted No

Project Activities Description Other Scientific and Technical Consulting Services

Quarterly Activities/Project Description As of 1Q/2011, the WB-8 device operates as designed and it is generating positive results. EMC2 is planning to conduct comprehensive experiments on WB-8 in the next 9-12 months based on the current contract funding schedule.

Jobs Created 11.00

Description of Jobs Created two full time plasma physicists. one full time equivalent electrical engineer.

Talk Polywell

WB8 was designed to scale up the magnetic field by a factor of eight, and also to run with ion injectors vice puff gas, with improved diagnostics to analyze the plasma, the ion distribution, the electron distribution, and monitor fusion events and distributions.



A polywell device is a type of fusion reactor that was originated by Robert Bussard under a U.S. Navy research contract. It traps electrons in a magnetic confinement inside its hollow center. The negatively charged electrons then accelerate positively charged ions for the purpose of achieving inertial electrostatic confinement fusion. The polywell device can trace its development to the ideas behind the Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor. Bussard theorized that this device could potentially generate net energy production and thus become a source for electric power.

In September 2009, the FBO (Federal Business Opportunities web site) confirmed the award of Recovery Act funding under Navy contract in the amount of $7.86M to construct and test a WB-8, the next Polywell prototype. This device will have an eightfold increase in magnetic field strength compared to prior WB series devices, with the expectation of higher performance. Of particular importance within the Navy contract is the option for an additional $4.46M for "...based on the results of WB8 testing, and the availability of government funds the contractor shall develop a WB machine (WB8.1) which incorporates the knowledge and improvements gained in WB8. It is expected that higher ion drive capabilities will be added, and that a “PB11” reaction will be demonstrated"

Further Reading

Nextbigfuture had an interview of Dr. Richard Nebel in May of 2009 by Sander Olson

The project that we hope to have out within the next six years will probably be a demo, which won't have the attendant secondary equipment necessary for electricity generation. Hopefully the demo will demonstrate everything that is needed to put a full-scale working plant into commercial production. So if the concept works we could have a commercial plant operating as early as 2020.

We are looking at 2-5 cents per kilowatt hour. That should make electricity generation less expensive than any alternative, including coal and nuclear. So if this technology works it will be like a silver bullet, and be fundamentally superior to any competing technology. The issue is whether it works or not.

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