WB-8 In The Works

EMC2 has just been awarded (a solicitation actually but sure to go through) a contract for a WB-8 and WB-8.1 device under the America recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. I reported on the prospects for this in mid April in my post Polywell Gets In On The Act. Here is some of the text of the solicitation:

THIS OPPORTUNITY IS AVAILABLE ONLY TO CONTRACTORS UNDER theAmerica recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Research Development Test Evaluation (RDT&E) Plan Plasma Fusion (Polywell) project. The Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division, China Lake intends to procure on sole-sourced basis, a Cost Plus Fixed Fee contract for research, analysis, development, and testing to validate the basic physics of the plasma fusion (polywell) concept as well as requirements to provide the Navy with data for potential applications of polywell fusion with a delivered item, wiffleball 8 (WB8) and options for a modified wiffleball 8 (WB8.1) and modified ion gun. The requirement is sole sourced to Energy/Matter Conversion Corporation (EMC2) who is the original developer of the plasma fusion (polywell) approach and holds the proprietary data rights.
It looks like EMC2 is getting closer to full funding and will be building a follow on machine to WB-7 and WB-7.1. There is still a ways to go (about 18 to 24 months) but it is fair to say we have come a long way since early summer of 2007 when it seemed like the project was dead in the water with no prospects.

You can learn the basics of fusion energy by reading Principles of Fusion Energy: An Introduction to Fusion Energy for Students of Science and Engineering

Polywell is a little more complicated. You can learn more about Polywell and its potential at: Bussard's IEC Fusion Technology (Polywell Fusion) Explained

Why hasn't Polywell Fusion been fully funded by the Obama administration?

H/T marc b via e-mail

Welcome Instapundit readers. You might like to look at what Eric Calls the War On CO2 and what I call Back To 1620.

posted by Simon on 05.22.09 at 04:55 AM


A cost plus fixed fee contract is as close to fully funded as you can get. All includable costs for the company will be covered by the government and the company will get a fee on top of that.

Mark   ·  May 22, 2009 2:27 PM


Neil   ·  May 22, 2009 2:38 PM

Great news, Simon. Hard to believe we've come this far.

Hopefully we'll get to hear how WB-8 differs from WB-7. I've got my fingers crossed it's a continuously-cooled machine that can do extended runs.

TallDave   ·  May 22, 2009 4:18 PM

Why hasn't Polywell Fusion been fully funded by the Obama administration?

Because it is not the intention of this administration to do anything positive about our energy problems. I actually think that given the fact that no one really reads budget documents, combined with the fact that the collection of lop-earred duds we are please to call a government are scientifically illiterate and read at best at what was a 3rd grade level back when I was young; means that this kinda slipped in accidentally. If this project shows sign of success, they will move heaven and earth to kill it.

I hope it works, and I hope that we can get fusion reactors in operation; but I fear that as a country we are fighting not only to master the physics, but also to beat back the Luddites.

Subotai Bahadur

Subotai Bahadur   ·  May 22, 2009 8:29 PM

If the President realizes, in time, that the
game has changed from Politics to Economic
Survival, he will drop ~&5B on EMC2, and
say "Get it done". The bet is just too good.

ROI is too weak a term; The US could pay off
a good chunk of its foreign debt this way,
plus get a Navy nobody would dare oppose.

M. Report   ·  May 22, 2009 11:34 PM

Subotai Bahadur has it right.

Economic salvation lies in turning about and reversing all of the initiatives of the Obama administration and Democrat majority Congress.

In order to implement Fascism in America (and I use the term in its correctly political sense; the State controls the outputs of the notionally private economy) there must be no avenues of escape left for the private economy. Debasing the money supply, controlling the financial institutions, imposing draconian tax increases and overturning the Rule of Law in favor of your political supporters is about 3/4 of the way there already (and some people say President Obama's first 100 days was not successful!), but denying cheap and plentiful energy is like depriving an ill patient of oxygen.

Deny oil drilling permits to strangle the internal transportation networks (despite sitting on massive quantities of oil; look up the Bakken formation).

Implement "Cap and Trade" (probably under the same capricious regime as the Chrysler "bailout") to make the price electricity skyrocket to industry and consumers.

Ignore nuclear fission, despite its promise as a "green" or at least carbon free energy source to ensure the results of crippling the electric grid remain in place.

Frankly, the numbers were so small and Polywell Fusion is so outside the box it slipped through "this time". Interesting to see what happens in the 2010 budget....

Thucydides   ·  May 23, 2009 12:30 AM

Wow Thucydides, I can't believe you missed the part where Obama has begun the systematic reintroduction of polio by sapping our precious bodily fluids. If you're going to post at least show a small capacity for reasoning instead of an eagerness to regurgitate the baseless ramblings of others.
You had better go put your foil hat on, in another sentence or two of you reading this, I will have your location pinpointed and then I will come for you with my black helicopters.

Alan   ·  May 25, 2009 5:45 PM


Fascism is a variant of socialism where government controls the means of production, through taxation, subsidies, and regulation.

You might also wish to consider what the Democrats and Mr. Obama intend to do about the Next Oil Shock:


The short answer: nothing. And I did not need to wear a tin foil hat to figure it out. All I needed to do was listen to the words of our Congress Critters.

M. Simon   ·  May 25, 2009 6:02 PM

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