National Science Foundation Grant

On December 8, 2021, Tibbar Plasma Technologies, Inc. received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant of $995,712.00 from the National Science Foundation to continue development of a plasma heat engine for efficient production of fusion energy. Since February of 2019, company president and CEO Dr. Richard Nebel and Dr. William Gibson at TPTI have been developing an experimental device, funded by a previous Phase I grant, which makes use of an oscillating plasma concept. The device is comprised of specialized equipment which TPTI has built over the past decade at their Los Alamos, New Mexico headquarters.

Confining plasma has always been a significant challenge in the development of fusion energy, but Tibbar’s approach is radically different from other fusion systems. The proposed concept, first proposed a decade ago, utilizes a heat engine technique that always maintains the plasma distribution function in thermodynamic equilibrium. The primary focus of this SBIR is to demonstrate that the desired harmonic oscillator potential well can be formed and that oscillating plasma rings can be maintained and oscillated in the desired potential well.

The ultimate goal of this project is to produce aneutronic fusion energy in a system that is small, simple and inexpensive. This system will produce power that is as clean as renewable energy while simultaneously removing the need for energy storage that is required for intermittent sources like wind and solar power. Since the system is small, axial, and aneutronic (using fuels such as P-B11), it also has applications for manned space flight. The low radiation levels allow for minimal shielding along with high power density. This could enable more direct flights to other planets, which minimizes the exposure of astronauts to the radiation encountered in outer space.