Overall, 2023 was a year of solid progress for LPPFusion—but not quite as much progress as we had hoped for.
Our all-important work in the laboratory took a big leap forward in May, when we successfully completed the development of our new dual switches—a task that had taken us three years. As we optimized conditions inside the vacuum chamber of our fusion experimental device, FF-2B, we achieved by October a 40% increase in peak current to 1.8 million amps, meeting our goals and doubling the energy available to produce fusion. This broke the record for any device of our type for efficiency of energy transfer. In addition, it nearly guarantees that we can meet our ultimate goal of 2.4 million amps when we operate with all twelve capacitors rather than our current eight. We then further tuned our machine to produce sharp, short “pinches”, concentrating the energy in time as well as space. This led to our tripling fusion yield, heading back up towards our previous record yields.
Dual switches, top, completed long development this year, producing sharp pinches and higher current (blue lines, bottom)
We completed the upgrades to our machine needed to run safely with our ideal fuel, hydrogen-boron (pB11). Research Scientist Dr. Syed Hassan designed and installed the treatment systems on the exhaust, the additional heating systems, the remote controls and the new devices for handling the pB11 fuel compound, decaborane. In addition, our experiments have given us new theoretical insight on the best conditions to start our pB11 experiments.
To speed our work in the lab, in December we joined the PROBONO worldwide collaboration of researchers on pB11 fuel. This will aid in sharing common problems and solutions and help us with our pB11 experiments in 2024.
On the other hand, we did not succeed in actually starting the pB11 experiments, which we had expected to do by September. Finding the optimal operating conditions for the new experiments has taken longer than we anticipated. In addition, the cracking of our anode at the end of the year will mean some months additional delays.
Since such delays occur frequently in our project—as in any research project—some supporters have asked us why we bother to announce schedules at all. The fact is having schedules and goals helps us to guide and plan our work, even though we know that any given schedule is not likely to be met. So, this year we again think that our long-awaited transition to hydrogen-boron is only a matter of months away. And we are in fact closer to that goal due to the progress made in 2023. Our modifications of the anode and cathode, aided by ongoing work by LPPFusion Mechanical Engineer Rudy Fritsch, will improve both the functioning and robustness of our device.
Published Papers and Public Notice:
We’ve gained peer-reviewed credibility for our accomplishments. In March we published a paper in a special issue of the Journal of Fusion Energy showing that we led all fusion companies in key experimental results, achieving” the highest ratio of fusion energy generation to device energy input (wall-plug efficiency).“ The paper also demonstrated that, compared with all fusion projects, including the giant government ones, we’ve achieved “the highest confined ion energies of any fusion experiment (>200 keV) as well as, recently, the lowest impurities of any fusion plasma.”
In October, LPPFusion Chief Scientist Eric Lerner was one of only eight invited speakers at the 3rd International Workshop on Proton-Boron Fusion, a recognition by our scientific peers that we are among the leaders in this field.
LPPFusion’s Lerner with TAE’s Dr. Robert Magee, another invited speaker, at the 3rd Proton-Boron Fusion Workshop
Then in November, we published in a special issue of Physics of Plasmas a paper showing that “the approaches that combine hydrogen-boron (pB11) fuel with high-density plasma have an easier, less resource-intensive path” to economically practical fusion energy. This fastest route of course includes LPPFusion’s own approach using pB11 fuel and the dense plasma focus device.
We’ve also started to get some publicity in mass media, although not as much as we deserve! In March Bloomberg News covered our X-scan spin-off technology. Asia Times ran big articles on LPPFusion’s basic research in astrophysics and its relation to fusion energy in September and December. And in November the International Business Times reported that LPPFusion leads private fusion companies in results.
Videos and Outreach:
Thanks to Director of Communications Ivy Karamitsos and Video Editor Bollé Mladenovic, our video production and public outreach stepped up a lot in 2023. Starting in May, the team released 22 videos in seven months, more than in all of 2022. We led off with a new, five-minute introduction to our project, written and produced by Karamitsos, Decentralized Fusion Energy – so close!, which we used for the Wefunder crowdfunding campaign. We followed up with our update on the fusion race
LPPFusion’s new 5-minute video kicked off the Wefunder campaign.
To explain the basic physics ideas behind our work, we started a new participatory class on the Evolution of Physics, a continuing series covering the development of physics over the last two centuries. We continued our intensive coverage of the developing crisis in cosmology, including videos of the presentations from the Workshop on Cosmic Expansion in November. If you have not recently, please visit our channel on YouTube. We report on our latest wave of videos in the next item in this report. We’ll be starting a new series, the Physics of Evolution, in January. We’ve also stepped up our updating of our investors and supporters through these reports, thanks to the help of IT Administrator Dejan Simurdic.
LPPFusion’s year and the world’s:
The past year was not an easy one for humanity as whole. War and famine replaced pestilence as the leading Horsemen of the Apocalypse and there were only a few glimmers of hope visible. We think that the progress towards fusion we’ve made—with your help—has been one of those glimmers. To a brighter 2024! Happy New Year!