October 3, 2017 | Michl Binderbauer
When Pigs Fly
There’s an old skeptics’ saying that the creation of fusion energy is perpetually 30 years away. Or, said more cynically: When pigs fly.
Based on 20 years of focused research, I know we’re much closer than that. But since we have some time, allow me to introduce myself and tell you more about TAE.
I’m President and CTO of a private technology company, with a team of 160 scientists, visionaries, researchers and rebels – all committed to starting a global energy revolution through fusion.
I first started thinking about developing fusion energy in 1989 at the University of California, Irvine, under the guidance of my mentor and TAE’s late co-founder, Dr. Norman Rostoker.
From day one, we had the end goal of clean, safe, commercial fusion power in mind, and have been working at it passionately – and patiently – ever since.
Fusion is the process that powers the sun and stars. It’s a manifestation of Einstein’s famous E=MC2. We are essentially developing a new form of electricity generation, powered by nature’s preferred way of producing energy.
TAE’s unique path to fusion is affordable and environmentally-friendly – with a fuel source that is non-radioactive and plentiful, produces negligible byproducts and poses no risk of meltdown.
At our lab in Foothill Ranch, CA, we are working to create a mini sun on Earth by smashing light atoms together in a plasma, and then harnessing the energy that’s released to eventually power to our homes, cars and more.
Beyond that, we believe in fusion’s power to improve quality of life for people around the world. As a virtually unlimited, carbon-free source of energy, fusion has the potential to provide sustainable solutions to our existential challenges of climate change, population growth, food and water supply, and preservation of our natural resources.
As citizens of the planet, we are motivated by this extraordinary mission.
As scientists, we are on a path within reach.
A successful fusion reaction requires two components: First, that the plasma be Hot Enough to enable forceful enough collisions to cause fusion, and then sustaining those conditions Long Enough to harness the power at will. We have internally coined this the HE/LE (HEE-lee) milestone.
Sounds easy on paper, but bringing it to life is a whole other story. So far, maintaining a fusion reaction and extracting net energy has eluded fusion physicists.
To show you we’re really not afraid of a challenge, we’ve added a third variable to the equation: TAE uses hydrogen-boron, which requires even hotter temperatures on the HE side of HE/LE compared with other fusion efforts. We believe it’s worth it because hydrogen-boron is the cleanest, safest and amply abundant fuel source available.
Staying true to our unconventional path, we have achieved profound results on the LE front with our C-2U machine. We recently unveiled C-2W, affectionately named Norman in honor of Dr. Rostoker, to advance the HE findings.
Today, right now, not 30 years from now, we are closer than ever to the reality of commercially-available fusion energy. I look forward to using this space as an educational resource and platform for open dialog with you – celebrating our scientific accomplishments with Norman, and showing the tremendous rigor underpinning this labor of love.
We remain committed. We remain undaunted. You’ll see those pigs fly yet.