EMC2 has just been awarded (a solicitation actually but sure to go through) a contract for a WB-8 and WB-8.1 device under the America recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. I reported on the prospects for this in mid April in my post Polywell Gets In On The Act. Here is some of the text of the solicitation:
THIS OPPORTUNITY IS AVAILABLE ONLY TO CONTRACTORS UNDER theAmerica recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Research Development Test Evaluation (RDT&E) Plan Plasma Fusion (Polywell) project. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake intends to procure on sole-sourced basis, a Cost Plus Fixed Fee contract for research, analysis, development, and testing to validate the basic physics of the plasma fusion (polywell) concept as well as requirements to provide the Navy with data for potential applications of polywell fusion with a delivered item, wiffleball 8 (WB8) and options for a modified wiffleball 8 (WB8.1) and modified ion gun. The requirement is sole sourced to Energy/Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2) who is the original developer of the plasma fusion (polywell) approach and holds the proprietary data rights.It looks like EMC2 is getting closer to full funding and will be building a follow on machine to WB-7 and WB-7.1. There is still a ways to go (about 18 to 24 months) but it is fair to say we have come a long way since early summer of 2007 when it seemed like the project was dead in the water with no prospects.
You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering
Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained
Why hasn't Polywell Fusion been fully funded by the Obama administration?
H/T marc b via e-mail