RELATED: NUCLEAR FUSION POWER IN THE 21ST CENTURY
A novel approach to nuclear fusion
The company uses advanced lasers to trigger nuclear fusion in hydrogen and boron, and ostensibly uses no radioactive fuel. The secret, they say, lies in the cutting-edge nature of their laser, and a fair amount of luck.
"You could say we're using the hydrogen as a dart, and hoping to hit a boron, and if we hit one, we can start a fusion reaction," Warren McKenzie, managing director of the project, told New Atlas. He added that HB11's approach is "more precise" than previous designs, which use heat to approach a fusion reaction. In a heat-fueled reaction, materials are heated to increase their chances of colliding (via increased kinetic energy).
A new source of energy production
When a hydrogen particle chances upon fusion with a boron particle, the reaction flings helium atoms — without electrons — with a positive charge.
This charge is the source of electricity.
The general theory behind this idea was developed by UNSW emeritus professor Heinrich Hora, who said in a statement that he's investigated "a laser-boron fusion approach for over four decades at UNSW."
You could say, it's his life's work.
And if the practice of nuclear fusion matches Hora's theory, then these patents could one day serve as a prologue to a brave new world of energy production, one where — without the dangers of radiation or extreme levels of heat — even private households could one day have their very own nuclear fusion generator.