Can You Build a Fusion Reactor for $20 million?

phase-2-plasma-assy-sectionIn a fascinating new interview, the CEO of General Fusion explains why he believes today’s cheap digital signal processors have now actually become powerful enough to control a fusion energy-generating plasma reaction!

“Those involved in science should be curious, but it’s easier to just dismiss us… There’s a feeling that the research has to be done by a government, that it costs billions of dollars and that 3,000 smart people can’t be wrong.” But working with just $9 million from private investors and a $12.9 million grant, General Fusion is currently finishing their components, and in 2011 they’ll assemble the reactor. And if his company succeeds, they’ll create a virtually unlimited source of clean energy.

“Electric plants in the United States take three trainloads of coal a day, but you could run a fusion reactor with one truckload of heavy water for a year.”

The interviewer was blown away by the importance of the moment. “Right now, the staff is gathered around their ragtag collection of batteries and fuses watching an oscilloscope as they test a switch. And as I leave the office, I get the feeling that I know what people who walked out of Apple’s formative garage or the Google founder’s dorm rooms must have felt like. The future may be lying in partially assembled pieces in Vancouver, just waiting to be put together and switched on, so it can change the world… Is this the energy source of the future, resting on wooden blocks?”