If the concept is sound, they would not have any problem sourcing US$500,000 from even a fairly large private company or any decent government.
I second what thk said. If all they are after is $500k, there are plenty of investors out there who would be all over this. I suspect that it is not as simple as buying the electrodes they are after to demonstrate their prototype as described in the article. Don't get me wrong, it would be fantastic if these guys were idealists (in not wanting to lose control of their ip) and didn't want 'the man' to suppress their amazing discovery. Having been heavily involved in R&D funding I would say in the right hands they would have access to so much more than even the $50M they aspire to IF they could even do something so simple as putting together a straightforward development pathway with clearly identified expenditure and milestones.
Mobil Oil (or any private industry) isn't going to give us fusion. DARPA isn't either. What can it hurt to try croudsourcing?
I'll have to disagree with SamB and thk. Investors shy away from fusion projects thanks to projects like the failed tokamak research where billions have been invested with near zero results for half a century.
Government funding is based on laziness. If the energy research team is given $15B they prefer to fund one big ITER style project rather that 1000 or so LPP Focus fusion or IEC projects.
So unless these guys bring an investor a 100% comercialized reactor they are unlikely to recieve funding from so called "certified investors".
When Nikola Tesla allowed that humanity could have access to free, unfettered energy, Mister Westinghouse quickly nixed this. Electricity = Money. This concept has not magically gone away. The infrastructure for energy is well matured. There is much invested in the current --pun-- set up, countless jobs depend on it staying much as it is now.
Rest assured that a sudden cheap energy development would gain the attention of those who either work in this HUGE field, and those that profit greatly from the status quo.
That said, it is a guess that the most interested party to this development will be entities like The Military. If you look at upcoming weapon systems, you see a kind of Star Wars, Trek type weapon platforms that use a huge amount of energy. I could easily see this being used on an aircraft carrier, or cruiser... and for anti ballistic missile defense in the air or on the ground.
Mister Westinghouse has never really, "Left the room." Eventually however, this "Genie" will get out of the bottle, just don't hold your breath.
Mr E
Good luck to them.
Kip Siegle had the concept back in the early 70's of building small local power plants. He had sold all of the businesses he owned and dumped every cent into KMS Fusion. He truly believed that this would be our energy salvation.
When he died in 1975 he was spending all his time getting additional funding to keep the effort going.
At that time KMS felt they were getting really close and that it would only be a few years to get to fruition. And so the dream continues.
Think of this a "Nuclear Make Work" project that will keep these scientists busy for a while trying to get enough data to interest yet more R&D money to be spent trig to make Nuclear pitiable to the masses!
Solar (of all flavors):
... Is faster to install,
... Costs less to install
... Is ready for 24/7 power with storage
... Requires no decommissioning costs that takes decades
... And has no Nuclear RISK...
I too was skeptical at first but I think this is a compelling idea - crowdfunding has been at the forefront of every industry so why not energy? Especially with so much corruption in the corridors of investment/government/finance etc. There are publications listed on the campaign that look pretty good to me (admittedly not a scientist, just an enthusiast). Worth my $50 or $100 anyday.
cool idea. worth investment. makes sense that government isn't into it - they waste money haha
I'd have to say I'm with CaptD. Maybe they can use those thousand tiny x-ray collecting foils to somehow capture the sun's energy during cloudy conditions.