While science may have just cracked the fusion power chestnut, this ultimate form of renewable energy is sill very cutting edge. Even the limited progress we've made thus far toward creating what is ostensibly a tiny star in the form of a reactor has taken decades. That's why it's a little mind-boggling that a small, independent group of scientists have just taken to crowdsourcing site Indiegogo in the hopes of funding their own creation of a working fusion reactor.
If these folks are seriously capable of building small-scale fusion reactors, they're pretty much a collaborative version of Tony Stark. The genius of their plan is to use the general instability of plasma to their advantage. Within their reactor's copper core, parallel currents coerce plasma filaments to attract one another, intensifying them in heat and density. As the plasmoid compresses, it fires off beams of ions and electrons from its ends. As the electrons leave, they interact with other electrons, still within the plasmoid, heating the reactor's core to over 1.8 billion degrees Celcius — hot enough to trigger a fusion reaction.
The folks behind Focus Fusion haven't actually gotten their mini fusion reactor to work yet, but they maintain that their science is solid. If they can get a new $200,000 set of electrodes for a final round of tests, they say they'll prove to the world that they're on the level.
Their success would mean that fusion reactors costing only $300,000 could someday soon be constructed. Electricity generated by these reactors would cost only something like a third of a cent per kilowatt hour. These reactors could be set up all across the globe as well, basically solving the global energy crisis single-handedly. With that in mind, $200,000 of donations kinda seems like a small price to pay — if it works.