Prospects for Success
HOW CAN A SMALL RESEARCH COMPANY EXPECT TO REACH THE ELUSIVE FUSION BREAKEVEN MILESTONE IN JUST ANOTHER 1–2 YEARS?
We can expect this because LPPF is developing a far more practical and inexpensive fusion approach, an approach consistent with how hot plasmas behave throughout nature. Tokamaks must stabilize and control naturally unstable plasmas. After billions of dollars of effort, they are still trying! LPPF’s Focus Fusion in contrast, leverages and exploits a series of naturally occurring plasma instabilities to funnel almost 3 Mega amps of electric current into a tiny magnetic pinch. As described in LPPF’s 2012 paper in the Journal of Plasma Physics, our Focus Fusion -1 device has already produced plasma temperatures of 1.8 billion degrees C. These temperatures are hot enough to fuse hydrogen-boron fuel, if sufficiently high plasma densities can also be reached.
Chief Scientist Eric Lerner’s advanced theoretical models of how plasmas in Dense Plasma Focus devices behave guide LPPF’s experimental work. Lerner’s models predict many aspects of how changes to the device and its operating parameters can improve pinch strength and quality, thus the temperature and density those pinches achieve. With each pinch improvement comes corresponding increases in fusion reactions and energy output from the deuterium fuel gas LPPF uses for test shots. LPPF will switch to hydrogen boron (pB11) fuel for the final output increases needed to reach fusion breakeven and net energy production.
Since Focus Fusion -1 was built, a number of LPPF’s theoretical predictions have been proven by experimental results published in peer-reviewed plasma science journals. New rounds of experiments this fall using pure tungsten electrodes are expected to verify several additional predictions and increase fusion outputs dramatically. Improved electrode design and the superior material properties of tungsten are expected to eliminate any arcing that can introduce vaporized metals into the plasma gas mix. Research in 2013 confirmed this contamination was responsible for lower-than-predicted plasma density in test shots. Eliminating this contamination alone will increase fusion output more than 10-fold.
While large increases in density and fusion output are needed before pB11 can replace deuterium as fusion fuel, the steps needed to reach higher and higher output—often in large jumps due to plasma scaling effects—are understood and will be tested and verified experimentally in the first half of 2016. LPPF has improved FF-1 instrumentation to have a far better imaging of plasmoid formation and will use X-ray imaging to see deeply into the plasmoid where fusion reactions occur.
In short, new electrodes are expected to resolve plasma contamination problems and allow steady progress to reach higher and higher fusion outputs this year and next.
LPPF then expects to switch to pB11 fuel gas starting in the second half of 2016. pB11 reactions produce much more fusion energy with each reaction than deuterium fuel. The increased energy release will raise temperatures in the plasmoid yet higher, leading to full ignition of the fuel and complete burning of fuel within the plasmoid. Calculations show at this stage our test shots will produce more fusion energy from each shot, than the energy released from the capacitor bank to create the fusion.
Since LPPF’s fusion research is dramatically advancing scientific knowledge of DPF plasma physics, it is impossible to rule out the possibility that some unpredicted effect may be discovered during the research that is fundamental and cannot be overcome. This is why only Accredited Investors able to understand and accept significant risks are permitted by U.S. Securities regulations to invest in private equity stocks like LPPF.
However, since plasmas are observed to behave consistently at all scales in nature (plasmoid pinches, lightning, stars and solar flares, quasars) LPPF believes the chances are quite small that some never-before-observed plasma effect will prevent our reaching conditions needed to demonstrate net energy output.
Interested investors should contact LPPF Director of Investor Relations Rudy Fritsch with any specific additional questions they may have, about prospects to achieve fusion breakeven in the next 1–2 years.