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EMC2 revives its quest for nuclear fusion

Image: Plasma glow
Plasma glows inside EMC2 Fusion’s test device during a high-energy shot in 2013. (Credit: EMC2 Fusion)

After languishing in limbo for most of the last year, EMC2 Fusion Development Corp. says it’s back in business with an unorthodox concept for nuclear fusion power plants.

The concept is variously known as Polywell fusion, inertial electrostatic confinement or magnetic cusp confinement..

If anyone ever finds a way to harness fusion – the reaction that powers the sun – it could usher in an era of low-cost, plentiful, relatively clean energy. Lots of research teams are trying to do it, ranging from the international ITER consortium to private companies such as Lockheed Martin, Tri Alpha Energy, General Fusion, Helion Energy, LPPFusion and EMC2. So far, no one’s produced a net gain in energy.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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