Monday, May 04, 2009
Fusion! Creeping back?
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60 Minutes recently ran a very interesting story about Nuclear Fusion. While the science of the video is very thin (hey, they only had 12 minutes!) the clear story is that it is slowly becoming acceptable to work on nuclear fusion technologies.
Recently I spoke with the CEO of General Fusion, a Vancouver based company. The founders come from CREO, a company with impressive technical pedigree, and they are working on an interesting fusion concept, shown here.
Basically, as I understand it, they have a spherical container with many pneumatic rams. The rams all fire simultaneously, creating a spherical shockwave that implodes upon itself. At the center of the sphere, the wave collapses, creating astronomical pressures, and fusion.
Unlike many crackpot energy stories I hear involving perpetual motion machines, what intrigues me about nuclear fusion is that it actually works. It's just that the engineering is really, really hard. However, the difference between "really hard" and "impossible" is non-trivial.
So, I for one remain interested in this space. However, I don't know if it is going to be always decades away. I hope not, however, I'd welcome others' comments on viability and practicality.