Thursday, April 30, 2009

LANL Helps Polywell

Los Alamos National Laboratory gave the Polywell Fusion Experimenters some critical help when they needed it.

It all started out with this program.

Northern New Mexico businesses are getting financial help from Los Alamos National Laboratory, and there are plenty of ways LANL can help boost local economies, according to LANL Director Michael Anastasio.

"There are plenty of challenges the country faces, and the lab has a lot to offer in that regard," Anastasio told guests at a recent breakfast meeting where lab personnel and prominent northern New Mexicans, including Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, met to discuss LANL's role in economic development around the region.
And the help the Polywell folks got was not a grant. It was a loan of some equipment.
Richard Nebel's Santa Fe company EMC (which stands for Energy/Matter Conversion Corp.) has much grander designs. Like saving the world.

"If this works, we can end dependence on oil, end global warming," Nebel said of a radiation-free nuclear fusion technology he's developing called "polywell," which "is clean, inexpensive and has enormous potential."

Nebel emphasizes polywell is "risky, because the physics may not work. It could be great or it could be a bust."

When EMC hit technological roadblocks, it got an assist from Northern New Mexico Connect's New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program. The whole experiment, Nebel said, had cost EMC about $200,000 when the company realized it needed the assistance of highspeed cameras -- which run more than $200,000 apiece. The program enabled EMC to use LANL's cameras.

"The stuff we do operates at hundredths of a second," Nebel said. "The cameras were critical."

"Northern New Mexico has tremendous resources of people," he said. "We're a hightech company, and I can find experts around here to help with anything."
I'm glad to get some more of the details of the Polywell Fusion Experiments.

As you can see the experimenters are starved for funds. So far the US Navy and the DoD are very interested in the experiments but the funding has been sparse. Upping it from its current rate to about $40 million a year would get us answers (like can it work) a lot faster. Now does this mean that the efficiency per dollar put into the work will decline? Of course. However, sometimes it is worth trading money for speed. I think this is one of them. If it can work it will change everything in America and the world. You can find out more by reading:

Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

50 Years of Stories: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

and if you want to read about Los Alamos:

Secret Mesa: Inside Los Alamos National Laboratory

Why hasn't Polywell Fusion been fully funded by the Obama administration?

H/T an e-mail from reader LCO

Cross Posted at Classical Values

Thanks to Instapundit for the correction. LANL is Los Alamos National Laboratories. Corrected above.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Msimon!! Now's your chance to get in on the ground floor of the revolution as an experimental physicist for EMC2!

(Given your substantial knowledge of, and long experience in, the field of plasma physics I am certain they will wave that pesky Ph.D. requirement. After all, they're just a bunch of uppety physicists while you are the non-degreed engineering technician.)

Fame and fortune await you, sir...time to board the train to Santa Fe!!!!!