Polywell FOIA

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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Tom Ligon
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Post by Tom Ligon »

There is more news in that piece than we've seen in some months!

What did I say above about the non-profit funds enabling them to bring in outside talent, beyond the original contract scope?

I've always known that Polywells to date have generated huge volumes of contaminant gas, mostly hydrogen. Since this probably came from metal surfaces being hit by high-energy particles, and the surfaces acquired a "cooked" appearance, solving it was vital, probably the essential missing link to good confinement and high reaction rates.

Probably the best trickle of funds spent since 2007.

As for the continued secrecy, I see little change from the "business as usual" condition when under Navy funding in the old days. I expect Rick would love to be here talking, and the clamp-down is sponsor-imposed, whoever the sponsor actually is. That was the circumstance when I was there.

chrismb
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Post by chrismb »

Tom Ligon wrote: I expect Rick would love to be here talking, and the clamp-down is sponsor-imposed, whoever the sponsor actually is. That was the circumstance when I was there.
Tom, the Navy statement, as reported here, seems clearly contrary to that. It's just not right to say that any more! The bluff has been called... and looks wanting.

billh
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Post by billh »

Abandoning the patent application doesn't mean they are abandoning any commercial or proprietary interest in the technology. So that doesn't make any sense to me as a grounds for protesting the FOI denial. Companies basically have two ways to protect the commercial value of their intellectual property: by patenting it or by keeping it confidential. Abandoning the patent means they chose the latter approach. Lots of high tech companies keep their best stuff as trade secrets.

zbarlici
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Post by zbarlici »

ladajo wrote:Ok, so I got a letter from NAVAIR Weapons today. Not an email as expected.

"review of the docs reveal that they are exempt from disclosure in their entirety under FOIA ex.4 as disclosure would cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the contractor who submitted the company proprietary docs in confidence." ........
last i checked there was only one bidder for the navy contracts :)

...."would cause substantial harm to the competitive position.." ?

chrismb
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Post by chrismb »

zbarlici wrote: last i checked there was only one bidder for the navy contracts :)

...."would cause substantial harm to the competitive position.." ?
Another very tidy observation/rebuttal!!

... there's clearly value in getting a round-robin of inputs into a response for the appeal!

Any other "angles"?

ladajo
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Post by ladajo »

I have slept on this, and remain concerned that Dr. Nebel has stated on numerous occasions that he can not release info based on the government not letting him.
The wording of the contracts has remained the same, his requirement is to ask for permission prior to release of info. (that is different in a sense to saying, they won't let me). This implies he has asked and been told no.

In the case of the FOIA, the government indicated no other objection to release than EMC2's position that it is competative protection of proprietary knowledge.

There lays the rub I have, as well as the source of my faith concerns. It appears to me at this moment that Dr. Nebel has mislead us. Intentionally or not is the question.

rcain
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Post by rcain »

not good news, but as many have said entirely to be expected.

'proprietary rights' dont seem to come into it. '...substantial harm to the competitive position of the contractor who submitted the company proprietary docs in confidence' - is a loose term and simply sugests the existance of a mutual 'prior agreement' to non-disclosure.

(perversely, had 'rights' been secured there would be less risk attached to disclosure, hence we might have stood a better chance of finding something out. and there's a reason they withrew the patent application - because there is no 'demonstrable method').

reluctantly, i find myself tending more to the position of Art, Chismb and others; that is, the reason they are releasing no information is because there is no new information, and never will be - the scientific basis for Polywell operation is unsound and Rick has simply secured himself a well paid position, for as long as he can, in proving this.

It is not 'information' disclosure they are protecting against, but the sheer ongoing lack of new information. That's embarassing and again, perversly, it may only be lobying on those grounds that finally gets them to admit it in the harsh light of the next public spending review.

I am minded to say, 'enough already', if it was going to work at all, it would have done so already and the work would be simply in explaining 'how' it works (contrarily to much theory).

Thats not to say it might not prove to be useful technolgy, just not a useful energy source.

I fully expect one of the other fusion research groups to break positive news, before we hear so much as a further tweet from EMC2 or the US Navy, declaring that they have finaly abandoned the approach.

sorry to sound negative, but i feel there are many more positive avenues to pursue. lets not waste our time.

BenTC
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Post by BenTC »

To me this seems a reasonable analysis.
IntLibber wrote:Because the only way to get maximum progress with advancing this technology is to put market forces to work, which means keeping the asset value of the IP so that it attracts venture capital in order to develop.

Public domain information is worthless and attracts no capital.
rnebel wrote:The worldwide electricity market is $6,000,000,000,000/year. Noone has ever cornered a market anywhere near this size. We don’t think that a little 5 person company in the New Mexico desert is going to pull that off, and we’re not going to try to do that. We are presently developing commercialization strategies to open up this technology. However, right now I’m not going to tip my hand as to what we are going to try. Suffice it to say that are plans are consistent with Doc’s original vision.
rnebel wrote:As for DOD taking control of the technology, I think that's pretty unlikely. The most similar parallel to this that I can think of was the development of fission power. Both nuclear fission propulsion and commercial power were developed in parallel. It isn't a coincidence that both systems are LWRs. I expect a similar situation here. Everyone that I have talked to at the DOD understands that energy supply is a major national security issue. It's not in the national interest of the US to keep this technology from going commercial. Furthermore, this project has never been classified. Fusion research world-wide was declassified in 1958 by international treaty.

Finally, I appreciate your concern about research being slowed down by the lack of dialogue. My previous research at LANL (POPS for instance) was always public domain. The reason we did it that way is because we figured that the patents would run out before we could commercialize it and the benefits of having it critiqued outweighed the drawbacks of getting "scooped". I still feel that way, but I have a little different responsibilities at EMC2. We have a responsibility to get this technology developed in a timely manner and I also have a responsibility to look after the interests of our employees and the corporation.
As much as I'd love to know more, if the technology is as amazing as we hope, I'd prefer it to be fully commercialised - to distribute it as fast as possible by large companies trying to profit from it. License the technology for a significant amount to multiple mega-corps, and let them fight it out carving out a share of the market. Include a use-it or loose-it clause to avoid a cartel forming to block release of the technology.

Further, are people assumming that since Dr Nebel took over from Dr Bussard as technical lead he has authority within EMC2 to release data? Did Dr Nebel become a director of the EMC2, or is he just working for them? Is there a NDA with EMC2 as well as the Navy? If that were the case it would be a bit rough being down on him.

It still would have been nice to have something, but perhaps too hard to control through the FOIA channel. Perhaps an interview soon?
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

DeltaV
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Post by DeltaV »

BenTC wrote:Include a use-it or loose-it clause to avoid a cartel forming to block release of the technology.
Excellent idea.

KitemanSA
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Post by KitemanSA »

ladajo wrote: There lays the rub I have, as well as the source of my faith concerns. It appears to me at this moment that Dr. Nebel has mislead us. Intentionally or not is the question.
Please read the quote carefully.

"review of the docs reveal that they are exempt from disclosure in their entirety under FOIA ex.4 as disclosure would cause substantial harm to the competitive position of the contractor who submitted the company proprietary docs in confidence." ........

Nowhere does it say "the company has declined to reveal"... It would not surprise me at all if this were a FOIA decision at China Lake.

ladajo, can you post the entire letter please?

chrismb
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Post by chrismb »

KitemanSA wrote: Nowhere does it say "the company has declined to reveal"... It would not surprise me at all if this were a FOIA decision at China Lake.
hmm... yes and no. Chances that Rick is unaware of the FoI request...I would guess small, tending to zero. Opportunity for him to correct the assumption that the disclosure isn't OK with EMC2... very high?...

conclusion.....?

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

It would not surprise me at all if this were a FOIA decision at China Lake.
There's no question that it is. The company doeesn't get to decide that. There's some question as to whether the company actually requested this or not.

Either way, it's grossly unfair to accuse Rick of dishonesty. As Tom alluded to above, Polywell was kept under wraps by the sponsors for over a decade before any of us had even heard of it. It only briefly saw daylight when the funding was cut.
Last edited by TallDave on Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

Carl White
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Post by Carl White »

EDIT: nevermind. I'm going to try to maintain an open mind.
Last edited by Carl White on Fri Mar 19, 2010 7:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

MSimon
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Post by MSimon »

chrismb wrote:
KitemanSA wrote: Nowhere does it say "the company has declined to reveal"... It would not surprise me at all if this were a FOIA decision at China Lake.
hmm... yes and no. Chances that Rick is unaware of the FoI request...I would guess small, tending to zero. Opportunity for him to correct the assumption that the disclosure isn't OK with EMC2... very high?...

conclusion.....?
If Alan Boyle is/will interview Rick I'm sure questions about FOIA will be asked. If they haven't been broached already.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Tom Ligon wrote:There is more news in that piece than we've seen in some months!
Indeed. That's the WB-7 tank in both pictures, right? Best pics we've seen so far.

That thing looks like they ran the hell out of it.

The $30M number is confusing.
n*kBolt*Te = B**2/(2*mu0) and B^.25 loss scaling? Or not so much? Hopefully we'll know soon...

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