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Crowd Funded "Focus Fusion" Project

Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:26 pm
by Paul_Schatzkin
Not sure what to make of this proposition... ... -fusion-go

...but here's a name we haven't heard for a while:
Last year, LPP commissioned a scientific review panel to assess both the physics and the engineering behind their Focus Fusion device. The panel’s report formed a substantial part of the organization’s pitch to its potential base of crowd-funders.

Robert Hirsch, who, from 1972 through 1976, directed fusion research for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission and Energy Research and Development Administration, chaired the review panel. Hirsch says his panel was allowed full access to LPP’s equipment and labs as well as their proprietary process for harnessing proton-boron fusion.

Hirsch says he was impressed by the “innovative thinking” behind the Focus Fusion device. Proton-boron fusion had been considered in fusion’s early days, as far back as the 1950s. But he says this pathway to fusion was abandoned in part because of the high temperatures required to sustain the reactions.

“One of the big questions you’d want to ask is: Why are these guys doing this thing after this thing had been pursued decades ago?” says Hirsch. “The reason is they brought in some physics that people hadn’t thought to apply to this particular case—but may apply. And it was very clever. And they found their way conceptually around the limitations as we knew them.”

Hirsch says he cannot, however, disclose any more details about the new physics that “Focus Fusion” builds on.
It does appear though that just having Hirsch's name on board helped raise almost $200K....


Re: Crowd Funded "Focus Fusion" Project

Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:04 am
by Bob Reite
More information can be had at three sites: and An overview of their proposal. ... heworld--3 The crowd funding site (now closed to new donations).

The latter states that they were raising money for the fabrication of beryllium electrodes. While tungsten electrodes would be able to take the heat, the x-ray flux that they plan to operate at will crack them, according to the site. Beryllium is a light metal that is transparent to x-rays.

Re: Crowd Funded "Focus Fusion" Project

Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:35 am
by Richard Hull
I read all these items as carefully as one can read such reports. (if they could be classed as true reports).

Hirsch is a "tough nut" and if he thinks it stands a chance due to "inovative thinking" that is important, in my opinion.

In the end, once again, we are to wait for an answer on yet another fusion adventure. Thus, don't bother holding your breath. It would surely mean suffocation and death if it weren't for the involuntary reflex we have to prevent such stupid acts.

We are treated to the usual future date of probable further testing in a superior second generation reactor and even offered a possible date for real fusion success with this process. You can tell these folks are new to the game. The big boys stopped giving fixed dates a few years back and if forced to give dates by an eager press, have learned to preface such dates with the demanded success of 2 or 3 milestones along the way which, if not met, would move the date deeper into the future. No more "real soon nows" from the fusion boys with all the really big government money.

Richard Hull

Re: Crowd Funded "Focus Fusion" Project

Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:27 am
by Tom McCarthy
Unlike many alternative energy options citing the fusion mechanism, Focus Fusion uses known science, not unsubstantiated claims of trying to overturn accepted science, and has achieved comparable results with about 1/10th the budget
That quote there is from the focus website...

Hirsch says he cannot, however, disclose any more details about the new physics that “Focus Fusion” builds on.
I'm not too sure what to think about that.

Either way, they've raised quite a bit without going to Venture Capitalists or large sponsors. After running my own campaign - I raised €2,000 there and the equivalent of €6,000 outside of that - it's a bit easier to sympathise with the group. As Chris Bradley stated here (viewtopic.php?f=7&t=9448) it's particularly hard to raise money for something that is not a product which donators can receive. There was a huge amount of marketing done to get the LPP campaign going and the right terms were emphasised. There's a huge focus in the campaign on the big names getting behind them; Hirsch, scientific review and many other committees or "leading figures" are mentioned.


Re: Crowd Funded "Focus Fusion" Project

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2014 8:20 pm
by Richard Hull
Classically, when you are asked to preside over a review of a secret project or one with a process that is closely held, your are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. I am sure that Hirsch probably had to sign one here, as well.

I had to sign one when I was made aware of the full details of the sytem Tom ligon was working on at EMC squared. Doc Bussard then proceeded to tell all to me in some detail back in 1999 when I went up to see what Tom was up to. They fed me a steak dinner, too. They had just received an Ocean Optics spectrometer and wanted my portable fusor II brought up so they could check the doppler broadening of the Deuteron energy.

I am not surprised at all about Hirsch's unwillingness to give details.

Richard Hull