Tuesday, March 20, 2007

High School Student Builds Working Fusion Reactor

I just came across this over at the Netscape blog.

This is amazing news, a high school student name Thiago Olson managed to build a fully-functioned nuclear fusion reactor in just 2 years.
There are a number of non believers. However, the first such device of this kind was built in 1959.

Since then there have been a number of advances in the field like the one's detailed in Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion.

Latest Gadget has more:
...Olson’s nuclear fusion reactor won’t work for generating commercial power because it takes more energy to run it than to produce.
Which is true. Grid losses prevent net power gain. However, if the grids are replaced with magnets as is done in the Bussard design, net energy production looks like a very likely prospect.

Money is being raised (on a donation basis for now) to build a small prototype to repeat earlier experiments (with refinements) and to get a better definition of the reaction constants.

Using this reactor as a power source would lower the cost of alcohol distillation into the range where alcohol would be a cheaper fuel than gasoline.

This is a high risk venture. I'd guess the chances of succes are around 80% although it might be as little as 10%. In any case the cost of the experiment ($200 million for a working prototype) is about .002% of GDP. Certainly we can afford such a risk given the rewards.

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