Paul Koloc was the reason I first found out about pB11 fusion, and I worked with his Prometheus 2 a bit to try and get them support (similar to how I got started with LPP), so I was very sorry to hear of his passing.
I was at a gathering for a space tourism project, sometime after the Spirit Mars rover landing in 2004, wondering what was the gosh darn hold-up with fusion so that we would have a reason to go mine He-3 from the Moon. Paul’s longtime supporter Bruce Pittman was there. He kindly informed me that we won’t need to go to the Moon for He-3, we *will* go to the Moon *with* pB11. An aneutronic fusion fuel that was super-abundant right here on Earth? MINDBLOWN! (And some would say I never recovered.)
With Paul no longer with us, Bruce wants people to know that his wife, Deanna, “is looking for someone who is interested in continuing this work and is willing to contribute all of the experimental equipment to this end.”
Unfortunately, LPP doesn’t currently have the resources to support a parallel project. Since Paul’s Prometheus2 approach has some similarities with General Fusion, there may be some promise there, which Bruce is pursuing. But I did want to open up the discussion here as a way of remembering Paul and making sure we don’t lose a very interesting innovative concept for aneutronic fusion.
If it’s not immediately clear from the site, Prometheus2 technology involves creating a “Plasmak” with a similar configuration to ball lightning, which is supposed to be stable relative to the surrounding gas. Then you CRUSH IT with a mighty mighty hydraulic system that applies huge pressures to that gas and the Plasmak in turn, initiating a fusion burn. You end up with a lot of hot plasma from which you might capture the energy of a pB11 burn via an MHD generator. This is a system that would be great for GW power, relative to LPP’s modular 5MW goal.
There will certainly be material science and other challenges for such a powerful compression system facing such intense conditions, but guess what? EVERY fusion approach right now has major challenges, so it would be a shame not to keep exploring until we’ve hit upon the path of least resistance to unlimited clean energy.
What do you think of the Prometheus2 approach? Do you have any suggestions for how/who to continue the work?