I'll start out by saying that although I am an amateur in plasma physics, I am no scientist , and therefore would appreciate any input you folks can offer. You see, I've got a question that's been intriguing me.
It seems that this fellow named Eric Lerner (see website at http://www.focusfusion.org) has invented a practical way to exploit fusion. (While this site's conclusions are a bit "pie-in-the-sky", the scientific bit is well worth checking out. Site is a bit hard to follow, note that the best site nagivation is via the Site Map link) The question: Is this for real?
His plasma device is quite small (we're talking about coffee can size here) and works by condensing magnetic field lines into a tiny knot. These fields run through plasma, hence a dense body of plasma is created, and fusion logically follows. It is best explained here at: http://www.focusfusion.org/what/plasmafocus.html
If credible, this is an great breakthrough in fusion technology; you now have a plasma that produces more energy than it takes to maintain it, or a self-burning plasma. Those of you familiar with fusion as a source of power will recall that the Tokamak is the only thing that comes close to doing this...and it still falls short of this mark, producing less energy than is poured into it.
For Power: Lerner basically says that his fusion method can extract electricity directly from the plasma via a special coil, saving a huge amount of energy by bypassing conventional methods in a normal nuclear reactor (ie. heating a 1st radioactive liquid, heating a 2nd non-radioactive liquid by contained piping through the 1st liquid, and using the steam of the 2nd liquid to turn turbines to produce electricity.)
For Propulsion: Lerner also states that the spent fuel from his device can be channeled into a single plasma path, thus generating a fusion rocket engine of unparalleled power.
And to top it all off, he says the radiation from his device is minimum/non-existent.
What do you think