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Focus Fusion Crowdfunding Looks to Raise $1 Million!


Worried about human CO2 production? There’s an excellent chance that if you’re reading FireDogLake, you are. Even if you’re not worried about CO2 production (as I am not, e.g.), you should be worried about piping toxic petro-goo (tar sands) all over the place, drilling for oil at devilishly high pressures at ocean’s bottom, fracking industry induced water shortages driving up food prices and polluting water supplies, and polluting the ecosystem with mercury from burning coal, etc.

I just got the following from Eric Lerner, who’s not just a very sharp guy, having beaten the bog boys of Fusion Research ito of a max temperature parameter (see In the race for fusion, a dark horse takes the lead ), but has a good heart, also. His political persuasion (definitely left of the dial; too left to be a Democrat, I can tell you that, for sure!) should suit most readers of FDL. I met him personally when he’s come to Newark, and also NYC, supporting “jobs for all” efforts as well as “immigrant rights”.

Dr. Alvin Marks, another genius in alternative energy, died without his humanistic dreams of dirt cheap solar energy being realized. (Though that may be coming to fruition, thanks in large part to his son, very soon. See Solar Energy Genius’ Vision May Become (prototype) Reality By The End of the Year (Lumeloid: 35%-85% efficiency)) Please don’t blow this opportunity to help out a similarly talented scientist, who has a sense of public welfare.

Dear friend,

I am asking you to join me in a volunteer crowd-funding effort that could lead to the demonstration of a new source of energy that is safe, clean, unlimited and far cheaper than any existing energy source. We are organizing to raise this fall from small contributors the $1 million we need for the final year of research on our “Focus Fusion” approach to fusion energy. If we can demonstrate in our lab that this approach can produce more energy out than is put in—and we think we can—it will raise the hopes of every working person on earth: their hopes to break the stranglehold of the oil and gas companies and the banks that back them; that climate change can be stopped and reversed; that the technological means for wiping out world poverty without damaging the environment are within reach. Hope for a better future is what we really need right now to change things.

Please volunteer to spread the word about this crowd-funding effort, to pledge to contribute, and to get at least three other people to make the same pledge in the next couple of weeks. To volunteer, send an email to In this way, we think we will be ready with a thousand volunteers by around mid-October for a crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter or a similar website that can raise the million dollars that we need.

Like all of us, you have many demands on your organizing time and for contributions. I know that this sounds too good to be true. But it is real and it is a chance to make real difference in a matter of months. To find out why, read on, please.

My scientific colleagues and I have been working for years to develop a way of harnessing fusion energy—the power that drives the Sun and other stars—without creating any radioactive waste and using a very small, economical machine, the dense plasma focus device. The core of this machine can fit in your hands. Over the past two years, we have gained the recognition of our scientific peers for our achievements. Our research paper describing our work was the most read paper of any in 2012 in the most important journal in our field. A video summarizing our aneutronic fusion (no-neutrons) approach now appears as the most highly rated on Google’s “Solve for ” page of world-shaking projects.

With only a tiny team, we are able to get further than anyone else towards the long-sought goal of controlled fusion because we are taking an easier path—using nature’s own unstable processes to focus the energy needed for fusion, rather than trying to force the plasma (the hot, electrically-conducting state of matter where fusion takes place)—to be stable and sit still.

This project was initially funded by a part of NASA. When NASA stopped funding all fusion efforts in 2001, we worked to raise private investor money to carry on experiments in our own lab in Middlesex, NJ. From 40 investors in seven countries, we raised over $3 million. But the number of investors who have the money to risk, who want to contribute to a project that will help humanity–not just themselves, and who have the technical knowledge to judge the project, is very limited. Big corporations, most of them tied to oil and gas interests, don’t want to see something succeed that will trash the price of oil. And so far, the US and other major governments are rigidly committed to the doomed, and giant-sized, International Tokamak Experimental Reactor (ITER) project as the only route to fusion.

That is why we are now turning to crowd-funding to raise a million dollars from about 20,000 people—an average contribution of just $50. We know it can be done. A company called Planetary Resources just this year raised $1.5 million through Kickstarter for a scientific satellite. What we are funding will have vastly more far-reaching consequences.

But to do this right, we need one or two thousand volunteers mobilized to spread the word when our crowd-funding campaign kicks off—probably in late October. Right now, what we are seeking is a core of 20 volunteers by August 20 and we are aiming for 200 volunteers by Sept. 20. If you want to volunteer, please send an email with the subject “Volunteer” to Include a pledge, informal for now, of money that you will contribute when the crowd-funding occurs. (We are aiming for $25-$50 pledges, but pledge what you can). If you have special skills, such as video or web-building that you want to volunteer (we need a Drupal themer!) , please mention that. Then, turn around and send this message—or your own fine-tuning of it—to those who you think will be interested in helping. Together, we can make this happen.

In solidarity, Eric Lerner

President and Chief Scientist, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc. (

(And long-time activist in the labor, immigrant-rights and jobs-for-all movements)

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