The high-purity proton-boron (p11B) fuel we will be using in our experiments later in 2019 arrived at LPPF’s NJ facility on Dec. 22. The fuel is in the form of the compound decaborane (chemical formula B10H14) with 99.9999% chemical purity. The boron in the fuel is 99.9% boron-11, the isotope that reacts with hydrogen (protons) to produce helium and yield fusion energy. We needed to eliminate as much as possible the other natural isotope of boron, boron-10, as it would react to produce radioactive beryllium-7, with a two-month decay time.
While we only received 93 grams of this fuel, this will be enough for hundreds of experimental shots. This small amount was made at two labs, one in Russia to produce isotopically pure B and the other in the Czech Republic to produce the decaborane compound. Since it was hand-produced as a custom item in laboratories, not a factory, it was extremely expensive—$56,000 or $600 per gm. Mass production would bring this per-gram price down many hundred-fold. Boron is so abundant and easily accessible on Earth that it could supply fusion fuel for billions of years to come.