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Foothill Ranch-based Tri Alpha Energy believes it has moved a step closer to achieving viable fusion energy - the holy grail of sustainable energy. Its latest milestone could be a key step in making a fusion reaction that produces more energy than it requires, essentially the same process that takes place in the sun. Tri Alpha Energy utilizes an unusual cigar-shaped machine; a design that differs from the common reactor's used today. The machine allows the company to run dozens of tests a day, constantly tweaking the temperature, density of the magnetic field, beam energy, beam duration, gas pressure and other variables which allow scientists to systematically tackle problems that pose the most risk of derailing the project and cost the least to solve.