Fusion By Rostoker

September 5, 2007 | 5 Comments

Norman Rostoker has been at researching and developing a fusion reactor for decades and has quite an interesting if vague story.  Although there is quite a lot of event information and historical points, hard information, working images and such are just not to be seen.  Contrary to R.W. Bussard’s practice there is a continuing theme of discretion which is understandable if rather annoying.

Both Dr. Rostoker and Dr. Bussard got some research momentum from the Office of Naval Research.  It looks as though Rostoker’s effort with the ONR wound up in the late 1990s and since has shifted to funding from the private capital sector with a $12 million report and a $5 million of a $40 million commitment.

To grossly simplify Dr. Rostoker’s research, the idea is to send a beam of boron and beam of protons into his device where they can fuse.  A diagram that in part illustrates the process is at a team member’s page, from Alex Cheung:


This image is the best to be found that shows the activity in the reactor, although the inputs are not boron and hydrogen.

The patent that seems to be the basis for private funding can be seen here:


So when you look at Cheung’s image and the drawings in the patents you can get a feel for how the device might work.  The patent description helps too, but like most patents, the “what goes on,” where and how it happens are missing.  Commentary around the Internet assumes or proposes that the difference in the speeds of the hydrogen protons and the boron atoms sets up a situation where the proton slams into the boron at such a velocity that it gets inside the Columb barrier thus setting off a fusion event, thus the Colliding Beam Fusion Reactor.  But there is no clear description from the team.

But that’s the idea from the point of view of the inventor-researcher-funding position.  Who wants to give inside details away when tens of millions of dollars are on the line up front and perhaps hundreds of billions coming out?  I’d be pretty secretive, too.

What we don’t know is how far the concept has progressed.  Looking at Dr. Bussard’s work there are photos and information on six generations of devices along with a confirmation out of Japan that his concept works for fusion and that he is headed for continuous operation and a try for run up to past breakeven.

To be sure there will be some developments come out of this research.  Foremost in everyone’s mind is will it get past breakeven?  A little news, perhaps disclosing a research path with the progress markers notated would be good!


5 Comments so far

  1. M. Simon on September 6, 2007 6:59 AM

    One thing peculiar about the Rostoker machine is that particle energies vary according to the mass of the particle.

    In the Bussard Polywell they vary according to the electric charge.

    Rostoker needs to get the boron up to 3 Mev or so and the hydrogen (pB11 reaction) to .3 Mev.

    With a net output of 8.4 Mev from the fusion there is not a lot of power gain. Say about 2.6. The Bussard machine only needs 1.2 Mev total under the same collision energy regime. A gain of 7.

    Odds are Rostoker will never reach break even or much beyond. If their math is correct. If it is not then the problem is serious because it is pretty obvious to see what they expect.


    You are correct about them being spare with the information. I still can’t figure out how it is supposed to work. The ion accelerators are not even described.

    I think Dr. B’s way is better.

    He now has a line of the best and brightest wanting to work with him. Plus enough out in the open to see that the work can continue without him.

  2. tchibo gutschein on August 5, 2010 12:25 AM

    cool 🙂

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  5. Roger Murdock on April 5, 2011 10:39 PM

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