Harold Helsley, a member of the board and treasurer of Fusion Power Corporation wrote a comment to ‘Fusion – Where the Possible Meets Impractical’ that brings out a form of fusion that seems ready now.  As the information Mr. Helsley provided is timely and on a new point for us the text is simply a post on its own.  More after . . .

The energy source for the future … RF Accelerator Driven Heavy Ion Fusion Power

There is a solution to the energy need for the world and the US without generating green house gases or nuclear fission radioactive problems.

It is Heavy Ion Fusion (HIF) as developed in the late 1970′s at Argonne National Lab under the Department of Defense (DOD).

You never heard of it, … right, few people have, … as HIF was set aside by the US DOD (& DOE) in favor of lasers, as lasers could maybe be a weapon and HIF could not be a weapon.

Fusion was first suggested as a potential power source in the late 1920’s. The first earth-bound fusion reaction was demonstrated in 1952. Then shown potentially doable in a small size in 1978-9 at Argonne National Lab and Hughes Lab. Since then it has been endorsed for 35 years by the scientific community “as the conservative way to go” to develop fusion as an energy generation source … but never funded, as it was and is still BIG (expensive, prolific and “benign”). In 1980, the world did not need a BIG new source of energy, as it does now. Fusion was put on the shelf or attached to research projects to see if it could be done in small (MW-GW) size. Fusion cannot be done small and be economical. Data suggests that fusion can produce 5-7 cents kWh electricity, $3.20 per/gal fuel, and $0.002 per gallon for potable water, all needed today and at a very reasonable unit price.

Fusion Power's Process and System Heat Block Diagram. Click image for the largest view.

In 2009, Fusion Power Corporation with Dr. Robert J. Burke and Dr. Charles E. Helsley, secured a patent using heavy ions as the energy source to fuse the Hydrogen isotopes Deuterium and Tritium producing Helium and heat. It solves the problems that Germany, Russia, America and Japan were having in focusing enough energy on the pellet (target) to cause fusion to occur.

In December 2010, the process was presented at the 18th HIF International Symposium in Darmstadt, Germany, along with an economic model, by Fusion Power Corporation (FCP)l.

In May of 2011, FPC presented the process to the Accelerators for Heavy Ion Fusion Workshop (AHIF) at Berkeley CA, sponsored by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Virtual National Lab (DOD & DOE). Again, the result was “now is the time to move forward” with a fusion program … as there is now a world need for a large new carbon free energy source.

The science has been done and it now is an engineering process. FPC’s process applies known and existing technologies in unique and novel ways to provide the energy necessary for fusion to occur. FPC’s fusion power is more developed than was rocketry in 1961 when JFK committed the nation (US) to go to the moon and back.

FPC is an engineering design, implementation and licensing company. FPC’s mission is to provide the energy necessary for maintaining current levels of energy use (standard of living) and to provide opportunities for growth in the energy supply using fusion. FPC’s vision is the development of a fusion power source based on the use of the techniques of radio frequency (RF) accelerator-driven Heavy Ion Fusion (HIF) that were researched in the 1970′s; a technique that has repeatedly received scientific endorsement.

FPC’s primary goal is to translate the science vetted design of a RF accelerator-driven fusion power system to one that can be brought on-line within a decade – each installation having an energy output equivalent to that of a giant oil field without the depletion problem and located where needed.

FPC can also be eligible for carbon credits, as FPC can produce per day, 500,000 barrels of a carbon neutral synthetic liquid fuel (diesel-kerosene-gasoline), 15 GW electric, and 2000+ ac/ft of potable water from sea water, all with no GHGs, no highly radioactive waste and no potential for a “run-away” nuclear meltdown.

By 2050, fusion will be the source of most of the world’s energy. This is not wishful thinking, it is simply a way of stating that all other forms of energy that are based on the use of finite fossil fuel sources must decline in the next few decades. This decline will provide a major impetus for the rapid increase in the utilization of this new form of energy. Wind, solar and bio fuels are only “feel good solutions” of “we are doing something to solve the problem” when have little possibility of generating the 14 TW needed in the next 40 years. I can show you the math.

HIF is the ONLY practical answer for non-proliferation of atomic weapons and maybe the real way to world peace … non-aggression for national energy supplies and national security.

Let us get moving to really solve the energy problem … not 35 more years of research!

For more information and detail of the FPC HIF process visit http://www.fusionpowercorporation.com and see the You Tube presentations “StarPower for Tomorrow” and Goggle Tech Talk “Heavy Ion Fusion”.

Inquires may be sent to: contact@fusionpowercorporation.com

Your humble writer spent some time on the FPC website and found it quite thorough in covering the main topics of interest. What’s missing is the process graphic of a reaction and an economic synopsis easy enough to grasp by major media types. It is an engaging site, rich in information.

The ‘other hand’ so to speak is the FPC power plant would be huge, and the investment as well.  While the facts at hand bear out the potential, and the numbers imply that a couple hundred plants would power the entire planet, an installation would need a deuterium supply, adequate water, room for an accelerator, proximity to a major grid interconnect, carbon sources, room for a huge synfuels plant and market access for unloading a half million barrels of liquid fuels.

This is a very tall order – without a pilot or demo unit, and that would be a very expensive undertaking on its own.  Still, unless the innovators can come up with very cheap small fusion processes, the FPC idea has to get up front both economically with a drive to confirmation and product cost reductions.

The Heavy Ion Fusion idea definitely has the legs, and when its gets to commercial viability the investment is going to be billions.  But it’s one way to get the equivalent of a giant oil field without it ever running dry.


4 Comments so far

  1. JeffC on May 10, 2012 9:20 AM

    could they jam more buzz words into one press release …
    carbon free energy source …
    a giant oil field without the depletion problem (peak oil)…
    no GHGs, no highly radioactive waste and no potential for a “run-away” nuclear meltdown …
    finite fossil fuel sources (peak oil again) …
    HIF is the ONLY practical answer for non-proliferation of atomic weapons …

    If some government is stupid enough to fund this nonsense the founders will be rich men before anyone figures out they can’t make it work …

  2. Alex Burke on May 10, 2012 1:21 PM

    Granted, our press releases may not be polished. But as for “can’t make it work,” credible individuals, such as Burton Richter, think (or at least thought) differently:

  3. Robert J. Burke on May 10, 2012 8:02 PM


    If you would look into the reasons we can make those statement on our website before reiterating what amounts to the political buzz words of “there is no silver bullet”, etc., FPC would be happy to entertain your specific questions.


    Bob Burke

  4. Harold Helsley on May 11, 2012 1:06 AM

    For clarification –
    35 Years of HIF Endorsements

    1976 “[HIF] warranted high confidence … heavy ion fusion faced no show stoppers.” ERDA Summer Study of Heavy Ions for Inertial Fusion, Final Report December 1976 LBL 5543(1976)

    1979 “…heavy ion accelerators have great promise as reactor candidates because of their inherently high efficiency, developed repetitive-pulse technology, and favorable theoretical predictions of target coupling.” Foster Committee Report to the Energy Research Advisory Board at its May 3, 1979, meeting.

    1983 “We conclude that the uncertainties in coupling physics for high-energy heavy ions are minimal.” The Jason Report of January1983 (JSR82-302).

    1986 “Heavy ion beams may well be the best eventual driver for energy applications.” The National Academies of Sciences Report of March

    1986 entitled, “Review of the Department of Energy’s Inertial Confinement Fusion Program”

    1990 Recommended parallel development of inertial and magnetic fusion with a budget level of about $30 million per year for HIF. The Fusion Policy Advisory Committee Report 1990 (Stever Panel)

    1993 “We recognize the great opportunity for fusion development afforded the DOE by a modest heavy-ion driver program that leverages off the extensive target program being conducted by the Defense Department…” Fusion Energy Advisory Committee (Davidson Panel).

    1994 “heavy ion accelerators are still regarded as “the best bet for drivers.” What is not said is that nearly 16 years after the first Foster panel report, the heavy ion program is still starved for funds, and we have made very little progress on “the best bet.” SCIENCE Magazine Letter VOL. 01/ 28/1994 Burton Richter, Director, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

    1996 “In agreement with previous reviews, we consider the heavy ion accelerator to be the most promising driver for energy applications.” FESAC (Sheffield) Report.

    1998 The HIDIF-Study, GSI-98-06 Report, August 1998.

    2010 “Abundant clean energy can be generated from pure fusion … on a timeline consistent with the urgency of the world’s energy, economic, and environmental problems.” Physics Today Letter, June 2010 Page 58, Robert J. Burke, Chairman, Fusion Power Corporation.

    2010 “… we know that inertially confined fusion (ICF) is possible since we can create nuclear explosions.” Physics Today Letter, October 2010, Page 8, Martin Stickley, Director of Office of Laser Fusion at Energy R&D Administration (ERDA) in 1976-1979.

    2011 Recommendations from the RF Accelerator Working Group at the AHIF Workshop, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in Berkeley CA., May 2011:
    1. Now is the time for developing detailed conceptual designs for economical energy production that take advantage of decades of progress in accelerator physics and RF accelerator technology. An optimized design may be a combination of RF-accelerator and induction-linac technologies. A more detailed examination of the Single-Pass HIF Driver concept may be a good starting point.
    2. National and international collaborations (including industry) should be encouraged to develop heavy-ion fusion energy.
    3. Economy of scale issues should be studied. Conclusions could have significant impacts in defining the most viable approaches for energy production. Scale economies should increase profitability by lowering cost per kWh.

    2012 Stay Tuned!! National Academy of Science Study Panel.

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