AUTHORGrossman, Lev
TITLEA Star is Born: Startup Companies are Rebooting the Quest for Clean Energy's Holy Grail: Fusion
DATE PUBLISHED2 November 2015
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Available online from Time, Inc.   (subscription required)

This informative article explores the recent efforts of private, small startup companies to develop nuclear fusion as an energy source for commercial purposes. The science and technology employed by such companies differ from those of larger, established government-funded projects. The article first explains how nuclear fusion and nuclear fission differ, then discusses both the advantages and challenges of harnessing fusion as a practical energy source. It also describes new approaches to fusion energy generators, contrasting them to the long-studied methods that dominate ongoing government-funded fusion research (primarily magnetic confinement of plasmas of fusion-able elements, and inertial confinement methods using lasers.) The new approaches are more speculative, but if successful will be much less expensive. The author, a journalist, visited several startup companies' facilities and interviewed a leader of one who was optimistic that the initial development of fusion as a commercial entity would happen within a decade, in contrast to the projected thirty-year threshold for success for the more studied technologies.

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