Ohkawa created the design of OHTE with GA internal funding, but around that time, Phillips Petroleum Co. was looking for a project in which to invest. An inquiry came to GA through former division director Fred de Hoffman, then head of the Salk Institute. Again, Ohkawa was ready to raise his hand with a proposal, and OHTE became a joint project between GA and Phillips.
OHTE was intended to demonstrate ignition by Ohmic heating alone, which if successful, could be accomplished much faster than a magnetic fusion approach. After successful operation of the OHTE experiment, a scaled-up OHTE II under private funding was seriously considered.
Unfortunately, the experiment took place during a period when both Gulf Oil Corp. (the then parent company of GA) and Phillips Petroleum Co. had to defend themselves against hostile takeover attempts, efforts that pulled funding away from research and development activities such as OHTE II. Though OHTE II was never realized, Tamano recalled, later discussions on OHTE II involved top management of DOE (with Los Alamos National Laboratory) and Canada (with Ontario Hydro) together with GA and Phillips, showing the seriousness of the parties towards the OHTE II approach.
During OHTE operations, Ohkawa came up with a series of improved reversed field pinch ideas: Multi-pinch and Helical-pinch. A Multi-pinch device was constructed to test the idea. However, it turned out to be unstable against up-down asymmetry, but, nonetheless, contributed to the proof-of-principle for the basic physics used under reversed-field pinches. The helical pinch idea could not be experimentally tested before the private OHTE funding ended.
Ohkawa recalled that OHTE and the Holy Grail (dc Octopole) were the two experiments he was most proud of. (AIP Ohkawa interview; Steve Dean)