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Engineer Doug Coulter was at one time a ‘Beltway bandit’-a term for private companies located in or near Washington that provide services to the government- making signal processing and radio gadgets.
Now, the former contractor for U.S. Security services has built his most incredible creation yet, his own nuclear fusion reactor. The nuclear fusion reactor was made in the basement of his self-built house or, as Coulter refers to it, his ‘box full of creative chaos’.
Using the components of other gadgets, he made the reactor completely by hand. Mr. Coulter, chronicled in a documentary by Motherboard, recalls: ‘I learned to do electrical engineering from parts scavenged from dumpsters behind the TV store. I had to learn to design thinks with what I had.’
‘We started with parts designed to do something else. This is one of our cooling fans, it came out of a computer system.’
Nuclear fusion is believed by many scientists to be one of the most promising options for generating large amounts of carbon-free energy in the future.
Fusion is the process by which the Sun and other stars heat themselves, by releasing heat generated from the energy built from when atomic nuclei collide into each other.
Coulter exclaims that “the Holy Grail of fusion is to make this into a viable power source’, he further explains that “this has the power to replace all the electricity companies on the planet, all the gasoline companies on the planet’. However, fusion scientists and engineers are still developing the technology needed to properly harness this process for future power stations.
He playfully laughs off any concerns about radiation leaks.
‘There’s a lot of seconds were we get no radiation’, he says. ‘This is actually one of the most radiation-quiet places on this planet.’
‘This is what I do for fun and giggles’
Coulter is also a huge proponent of sharing information. He uses a forum to share what he knows and what he has learned with a like-minded community. There he discusses everything from technological secrets to instructions on how to build a gun or make ammunition.