2010, Technology  -   55 Comments

FusioneerFor three years Dr Jonathan Howard has dedicated himself to finding a solution to our energy crisis.

In the spare room of his South London flat he's constructed a fusion reactor from bits of recycled scrap, and parts bought from ebay.

Scientists say that Fusion is like trying to put the Sun in a box – but we don't know how to make the box. Can Jonathan put the Sun in a box without getting burnt?

Ratings: 7.13/10from 32 users.

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55 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Terence Washington

    Where would he obtain fissionable material such as Plutonium 239 or Uranium 235 in order to create a critical mass needed to maintain a nuclear chain chain reaction?

  2. DustUp

    Proves the wide gap twixt intelligence and wisdom. If this guy had done his homework, he would have discovered by reading what he discovered in practice. That fusion in a box will NEVER be efficient and that it will always be 20 years out for good reason. That is the dirty little secret that millions of your tax dollars are and have been wasted on.
    Even the so called bubbas of the world can have more wisdom. They look to old Tesla patents for energy solutions, since he already solved the energy problem 75-100 years or so ago. There is a reason the likes of j(i)p morgan and rock o fell her of std oil kept all of Tesla's discoveries subsequent to AC out of university textbooks. If this guy applied himself to replicating Tesla's work he might accomplish his stated goal. However, I suspect there is more to it. He wants to be the one to do what others have not, rather than dusting off something that would work if he could read between the lines of what wasn't included in the patents; which I am guessing he could if kept at it. Read the account of Tesla's Pierce Arrow. And there are several others who have devices that will work. T. Henry Moray's Radiant Energy device was verified by many of the capacity to do so. Why don't we see these items? Times and the real powers haven't changed much since Tesla and Moray who were also thwarted, as were many since, who would have displaced the current billion dollar money machines of the powers that be. It is a rather silly question when one considers people who lack moral fiber and whether they would make every effort including murder to prevent the loss of their billions from rolling into their pockets. Do you really think they would say "gee I guess I'm outdated now, have no clout and power since I no longer control the flow of energy. I'll just go away now... maybe teach my grandkids to drive truck or dig ditches for a living so they can eat after their parents blow their inheritance"

    1. Çiko

      Hello friend. I am planning to fund a project on alternative energy in my hometown out of the grid. I'm not a scientist myself but I'm pretty sure tesla had the answers. How would you suggest I proceed?

  3. tifferniffagus

    What an i*iot ! He has accomplished dammaging himself and endangering his neighbors. Yeah, real intelligent. Book smart, yes. Scientifically cautious, NO ! This is why scientists have LABS ! Get a lab PLEASE ! No wonder why you have to have a permit or license, to reiterate cautiousness!

  4. 6 is 9

    MAD SCIENTIST. Think about it folks ... I'm as much in favor of scientific advancement as the next guy ... but this guy was a public menace. I wonder if his upstairs neighbor has unexplained burns and rashes since Doctor Whackjob never thought to install lead shielding above the XRAY emmiting device. Nice guy! And imagine if he had achieved by "happy accident" superfusion. He would in that instant right before a 5 kiloton nuclear bomb went off destroying the whole neighborhood and killing hundreds of innocent victims ... this guy is willing to risk other peoples lives. He is a madman and no genius.

  5. UnclearFizzyCyst

    Great machine. You could step off the plane in Florida and look like a Brit who's already been there for one whole day!

  6. JB

    Nice tanning machine, bro

  7. Eddie Griffin

    That was interesting, however I have to say it looked dangerous to say the least the bit when he got exposed to X rays gave me the chills. He said earlier that he was going to put lead shielding in place if required he would have been better off having it anyway - hope the neighbours did not get a dose. Also what power did it actually generate? We were never told. I hope he did not irradiate himself. He is a good bloke and I salute him for trying to do something you would have to have amazing technical knowledge to even start what he has been working on I would not even know where to start with that stuff it looked like the professors garage from back to the future!

    With that said good on him a true pioneer.

  8. Paul Hunter

    What is really beautiful about this is here you have a modern day Tessla or Einstein. The man who builds his somewhat dangerous scientific experiments in his garage. That is the essence of science really, because it empowers the individual. I have faith that this can be done and I don't think its right for him to be criticized about the other aspects of life he's missing out on, or whether or not this behavior is a maladaptive.

    Try telling that to Alexander Graham Bell. Or even Marie Curie, who like this man continued her work even though it hurt her. I'll bet Benjamin Franklin could've died from flying that kite in the storm too. Remember this, follow your dreams, and refuse to criticize those who do.

  9. madscirat

    Just a single example of the amazing stuff you will have time to do if you do not marry.

  10. Andräas Hajnakowski

    if I remember correctly plasma physics is a bit different...

  11. Totte_Bengtsson

    About solving the energy problems of our civilisation; Everyone who thinks a technology like this will save us, please consider that it would be the first time in history that great advance in energy technology would lead to reduced exploitation of natural resources like growable landsurface, natural forests, clean freshwater, metals, minerals, fish etc. I think one important reason to why humanity is currently emptying the earth of all this is our access to very cheap energy in the forms of oil, coal and nuclear energy. With a new powerful option for cheap energy and a few more billion people on the planet with a growing demand for modern energy consuming lifestyle, we will surely fail to preserve a well functioning diverse ecosystem on our planet.

    I think its quite obvious that humanity is heading for a big change, and I would guess that a huge decrease in world population, and a simple lifestyle for those who are left is the only alternative to a world where 10 billions of people are crowded up in a situation with a declining ecosystem unable to support humankind. That situation means global panic. global panic means large scale conflicts, so In my opinion our civilisation is kind of f--ked either way. At least thats my bet.

  12. Jamie Megarity

    Maybe instead of trying to gather all the energy its making... in realtime...

    Maybe putting certain metals or carbon based products into the field of influence and just leaving it there will turn it into... a fusion like battery.

    instead of trying to harness fusion into electricity or even just making fusion happen and trying to harness everything it does.
    Lets try making the reaction very close to some "stuff" and see whats happened to that "stuff" after we stop powering.

    it might not be giving off electricity... but it could be giving of something?
    look at what happens in front of your eyes... surely there would be a lot of "residue" or "radiation" left behind?
    (using quotations because we don't have a word for what "thing" is left behind)

    couldn't we develop something to harness that residue and feed of it for power? even if it means a microscopic life form (lab altered) that can feed off the "residue" and start reacting?

    does anyone think that would be possible or what kind of batteries we could make or even think there might be a good leftover to play with?

    1. Richard Lee

      It's giving off low levels of xrays (as stated) but it would be a very expensive way to slightly irradiate something (a hospital XRay machine would do the job a million times better for a fraction of the cost) - easier and cheaper to use a lump of Uranium. All that is supposed to happen is that atoms are turned into soup (plasma) and reform (forced into with pressure or some sort) as other elements, freeing up electrons which can flow as electricity. As a byproduct, other exotic particles are given off and radiation is produced across the EM spectrum (including XRays and obviously as we saw, light). If you put a lump of metal/carbon etc inside the grid it would just stop the thing working as there would be something too dense to be turned into plasma at the lens focal point (where it gets damned hot). If you placed it nearby inside the jacket, it would be the same afterwards, though perhaps a little melted and/or pitted. Fission and fusion are both just processes, its the source and the action of those processes that give off radiation - so a "battery" produced in the way you explain would just be a weaker version of exactly the same "battery" as created with fission - i.e. a lump of irradiated material following bombardment of high energy particles (that is, not a battery at all, just dangerous bit of a dirty bomb in the making).

  13. Guest

    dood go for something in ur size .. its out of ur hands ..omg

  14. Luyang Han

    You burn some plasma, that's fine. But claiming that is way to fusion is widely absurd. I honor his passion but please, try to read some basic plasma physics. Unfortunately this man is not proficient in vacuum techniques. He has a nice UHV chamber but try to put a glass window on the top CF flange and use glue to seal that! This definitely does not work. Better use a proper copper gasket and buy a real UHV viewport. I know this is absurdly expensive but there is no other way to achieve a reasonable vacuum system. Also one should not touch the inside of vacuum chamber with bare figures. Judging from the color of the plasma, it is most probably not from the H2/D2 but the residue gas of the air, namely from O2/N2. Pure hydrogen/deuterium plasma is usually purple.

  15. tolittletime

    My pen light from wall mart is more efficient.

  16. Nicky Fincham

    Fusion is 30 years away. Everyone knows that. ;)

    1. k rd

      On my bucket list. Spend a week (or 2) with this dude. Climb a bit, then shoot some plasma through your high energy grid. Awesome. One question, it looks as though when he replaced his shielded glass, that he simply placed it on top relying on its mass initially, then the vacuum to keep it in place. If so, does this have any design weakness? Seems like it might if, say, something caused a catastrophic power failure and the vacuum suddenly failed. I'm thinking that re-pressurization of the chamber may partially unseat the glass and radiation leakage may occur. I'm completely new to this, so some schooling would be appreciated.

    2. Richard Lee

      If the power goes off the energy production stops - no more emitted radiation - the word nucleur makes people think of fission where unstable isotopes of heavy metals are used to heat water and turn steam turbines to generate electricity. There, there is still a radioactive source, in fusion the energy comes not from unstable isotopes decaying, but by forcing together particles to form new elements (in a star that's Hydrigen to Helium - both of which are stable). The holy grail is that the energy is still produced when the power is switched off, by returning enough energy to the system to keep it producing and enough source element (deuerium gas in this example) to be turned into a plasma. It is my belief that this will not work in a small system, gravity and pressures from super heavy/dense is part of what keeps suns hot and generating, a scaled down version must rely more on self sustaining or being supplied externally to keep the heat up - and there is no free energy. There must be a breakpoint where it becomes impossible to keep it going.

  17. KsDevil

    No doubt the grid matieral will have to be manufactured as a new material not yet produced inside an exploding sun. And I am sure evnetually there will be a method found to remotely focus the mini star inside the grid. But all that is going to take some effort by people who specialize in micro-nuclear material manufacturing. Yes, it may require a fusion reactor to manufacture fusion reactor parts.

    1. Richard Lee

      This is one of the real problems with fusion. The grid is close to the focal point (the "star") so it will get hotter and melt - eventually vapourise if it could be kept going. To move it further from the "star" would mean making it bigger, and then that means the case must also be larger in proportion (i.e. pretty big!) and then more energy is needed to focus the plasma and also to generate a good vacduum, also more source (deuterium gas) is needed...and so on. Its almost a self defeating prophecy. The real issue, of course, is the design - and all we currently see is the same (or similar) designs using different materials, sizes, ratios, sources, etc. Problem is to make the focal point hot enough to make plasma will also be hot enough to melt any element. Nothing can survive inside a star's corona without vapourising in short order. End of the day I think our best bet is the one (huge) working fussion reactor we have that is working, outputing around 1.2×E34 J of energy, and free - the sun - solar sails and wireless transmission of electricity/energy should be our main focus IMO.

  18. Szabo

    I see that many of you are accusing this guy, but you are very wrong. First of all grab some books and read, when you know half as much as this guy knows about nuclear fusion then you'll understand why he is doing it. This will be the future, we simply could not generate that much power that we need from natural sources(wind, solar etc.). And the radiation and nuclear waste is much smaller than from a fission reactor. Simply put this is our best alternitive for producing energy.

    1. chetep

      "we simply could not generate that much power that we need from natural sources(wind, solar etc.)." I double dog dare you to substantiate this claim...

  19. Aldo Solari

    Hey, I dont want to have neighbours like Mr. Howard !! :P

  20. Renevonn

    This man is truly brilliant!
    If I lived next door to him I'd try my damnedest to be his friend, danger or no danger, this is a technology that should be pursued for the greater good of Humanity. I'd pay higher taxes to get him further funding to undertake this line of experimentation along with access to whatever facilities and equipment he would need :D

  21. Sieben Stern

    awesome XD he should keep up the work - what do we expect, oil and electric companies to do research that competes with their business model? i think not ;P

  22. Guest

    @earthwinger if your microwave has toasted you face like this, quit making popcorn, you could be the next thing to pop out of shape.
    I think this guy should take his experiment to an appropriate place (where ever that can be), even a university lab probably would not allow him to do it in those conditions, he even says how unsafe his experiment COULD be.
    Some are doer alright!

    1. Earthwinger

      If it's the guy that I think it is, I read something in the news a while back, and he's actually had a visit from the authorities, and they said it was ok, as they understood that it's not dangerous.

      As for my old microwave, I just used to set it running and leave the room. I've since got a new one though, so no worries. :)

  23. ulickmcgee

    Scrap metal me arse yeah right,like theres loads of scrap magnesium lying about the place.He would want to be careful he doesnt blow himself and his neighbours into the middle of next week.

    1. UnclearFizzyCyst

      LOL, not to mention all that stainless steel and bulletproof glass. Perhaps he goes to the army surplus store?

  24. Emanuella Svensson

    This guy is doing this as a hobby, more people like him
    and we will solve our energi problems faster.

    Knowledge is power!!

    thank you vlatko for another interesting doc! :)

    1. jiggerj

      ??? More people like this particular guy and we'll all be toast! This should be illegal!

    2. Earthwinger

      Yeah, 'cos the people who run the nuclear industry are so much more responsible!

      NOT! :D

    3. jiggerj

      Isn't that the point??? With three meltdowns (I think three) in the last forty years, and with experienced nuclear physicists in charge, do you REALLY want anyone and everyone playing with this stuff right next door you and your family? NOOOO!

    4. Earthwinger

      Well for starters, fusion is very different than fission, and secondly, it's a tiny little test reactor. I've had microwave ovens that probably leaked more radiation than that. ;)

    5. jiggerj

      Time for a lesson in human nature: When someone does something small, someone else will try to do it BIGGER! Just watch any episode of Home Improvement with Tim the toolman Taylor. lol Plus, how many men do you know that actually read instructions???

    6. Earthwinger

      It doesn't matter as fusion is really quite safe and clean. It's not at all like fission reactors that are currently being used. And if it can be made to work, it will pretty much solve all the energy issues that we're currently facing. So it's vital that people work on it.

    7. jiggerj

      Sure they should work on it - far FAR away from residential areas, and only after endless years of proper education, and only approved by the government. As for safe - that little reactor burned the man's face!

    8. Earthwinger

      People burn themselves much worse than that using sunbeds or going on holiday, but no one gets their panties in a bunch about it. Seriously, do some research on fusion. ;)

    9. jiggerj

      In the film Jonathan says he is, "trying to create a star". What part of that statement doesn't frighten you to near insanity?

    10. Earthwinger

      Yeah, a star in a steel jar, which is probably about the size of pin head, and will cease to exist at the flick of a switch.

      The guys next door to me build stock cars in their garage, and every weekend they're there, with oxy-acetalin torches, arc welders and dog knows what. At any point, they could accidentally cut through a gas line or get too near to a fuel tank, but guess what.....no one worries about it.

      Seriously, the potential risk in what this guy is doing, is nothing by comparison. ;)

    11. DeAndre Miiler

      How many people are killed by cars everyday? Should the government take that away too. Your more likely to die from a meth lab explosion than this guys reactor. Safety doesn't mean piss.. Money is what it is all about.

    12. Guest

      I could have slapped him redder, at least he knew when to stop :)

  25. Laurence Vanhelsuwe

    I hope he succeeds without harming himself, or anyone living close. But even if he does harm, society has clearly set a precedent of accepting the dangers of the nuclear industry (cfr Tchernobyl etc)

  26. flyingklown

    Really cool. Now does each household have one and run all electirc for the home? Can you have one for the car? When will we start using them? Lets do it!

    1. hhy2k

      The point is: if you had one of these working, that wouldn't feed your home, but the entire city!

    2. flyingklown

      Sounds good to me! Yes the whole city! I know that has to be our next step. I know they have to be using it with all the sightings in the sky to power the aircraft/spacecraft. I am sure they are testing it to go to the stars! Probably already doing it and letting us know slowly!

      With all due respect and no pun intended; If a guy can build it with material bought on e-bay and do it in his spare room.... The Government with all the funding they have HAVE to know about it and have it also. What you think?


    3. hhy2k

      I think you should google "fusion ITER" and find the bigger 100 feet tall machine in South of France as an international project, operational in 2019 according to plans. Even that machine is a test prototype to continue figuring out the problems fusion puts on the table every day. But I am positive, by 2050 we will have our first fusion reactor and energy will not be a problem anymore. A huge step ahead!

  27. Craig

    what was the point in that?

    1. jiggerj

      The point is that with the right education and credentials anyone can build a nuclear reactor in their home. I can't because I'm don't work for a pharmaceutical company like this guy. I'm just a laborer, so I'll stick with gene splicing in my garage. Jeez!

  28. Guest

    This guy is mad in a good way, more like him please ? Only not sure I want a flat in his block. :)

    1. jiggerj

      More like him? Yeah, let's make it so Bubba, with the 3rd grade education, can run on down to the nuke store and pick up a hunka' plutonium. Trying to build a nuclear reactor in your home is NOT a good thing. If I were his neighbor, I'd shoot the i****.

    2. Guest

      Don't think Bubba would be getting enough pocket money for a project like this.