A Rundown on Some of the Small Players

This forum is for other possible methods for fusion such as Sonolumenescense, Cold Fusion, CANR/LENR or accelerator fusion. It should contain all theory, discussions and even construction and URLs related to "other than fusor, fusion".
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Richard Hester
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A Rundown on Some of the Small Players

Post by Richard Hester » Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:16 am

This address talks about some players we already know and one or two I didn't. It seems like 2017 is a magic do-or-die date for several.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/11/dynoma ... ry-of.html

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Richard Hull
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Re: A Rundown on Some of the Small Players

Post by Richard Hull » Sun Nov 30, 2014 8:45 am

Fabulous, stunning graphics! I was impressed with the drawings and charts and all the money that is supposed to be spent or needed to get to proof of concept. Wow! All those future dates and super lower costs per KWH of actual generated fusion based electricity with not one watt of electricity ever generated by any fusion reactor ever! My heart nearly stopped at all the possibilities out there.

Again thanks for the URL of details, predictions and promises that are just like those of 10, 20, 30, 40, years ago.
They are back to real soon now, but hey, it is a new 3rd generation of young fusioneers out there looking to raise a 4th generation, send them to college and live the good life off the funding. The old saw of their forefathers, "real soon Now", was good for gramps and dad so why not us?

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Chris Bradley
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Re: A Rundown on Some of the Small Players

Post by Chris Bradley » Sun Nov 30, 2014 9:32 am

No mention of me and my epicyclotron? ;)

Why is that?

Because this isn't about the promise and progress of fusion, it is about the promise and progress of how successful people are at attracting funding.

There are, and have been, many many useless schemes in business and research over the last century that have attracted vast amounts of cash, in some cases keeping literally generations after generations of career-researchers in gravy. The promise of fusion is attracting more than its fair share of such activity. What we are seeing is a manifestation of how attractive fusion is as a scheme to pump public and venture capital into foolhardy schemes.

I am simultaneously both critical and supportive. The problem is that maybe one scheme will come up with the goods, and then for all the dead-end schemes it'll still have all been worthwhile so I am supportive of that, but there is so much ignorance on behalf of those investors and purse-string holders that it is easy for those who know just a little bit more to nudge their way to borderline scamming.

A scam is a scam when the proponents pushing forward a scheme know they are pushing a dead duck. But is it still a scam if they genuinely believe their own optimism to the exclusion of realism, i.e. they end up scamming themselves in a way? Or is it still a scam because they should know better but instead choose not to look too hard for the problems first?

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Jim Kovalchick
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Re: A Rundown on Some of the Small Players

Post by Jim Kovalchick » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:22 pm

I think I understand your point Chris, but I for one believe that within all this play, one day the real break through will come, and it will happen because that one person who manages to succeed will have done so because he or she learned the critical basics while trying. Success will be enabled by all the failures that proceeded it.

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Chris Bradley
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Re: A Rundown on Some of the Small Players

Post by Chris Bradley » Sun Nov 30, 2014 3:32 pm

Jim Kovalchick wrote:Success will be enabled by all the failures that proceeded it.
It might be enabled by one or two well informed failures that proceeded it, but definitely not all. Some are just doomed from the outset, and can be seen to be so at an early stage if only there was no perverse incentive to talk up the idea and ignore reality for the sake of a handsome looking grant budget.

(Apologies if my deep cynicism gets the better of me! :} )

Doug Browning
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Re: A Rundown on Some of the Small Players

Post by Doug Browning » Sun Nov 30, 2014 7:00 pm

"Success will be enabled by all the failures that proceeded it."

Sounds like a quote from Edison. In that case, only around 9975 more failures to go. Always 50 years......

I think the pumped Spheromak/Dynomak at U of W is the only likely venture to be economically practical if the energy scaling laws hold up for it.
It doesn't require big magnets around the plasma, being self confining. It doesn't even require a vacuum chamber it would seem. Millennia of Ball Lightning observations give reasonable hope that the scaling holds up for high plasma energy, density and confinement time. There is even an online video for making your own stable plasma ring in atmosphere over an arc, so this would be a nice easy experimenters dream.

Find a simple way to helically pump the plasma toroid, and you are in the race.

Dan Tibbets
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Re: A Rundown on Some of the Small Players

Post by Dan Tibbets » Wed Dec 03, 2014 6:05 pm

Multiple approaches may achieve the same end goal. That is unlikely, but multiple approaches are not necessarily bad. Provided there is some communication between the schools, there is a shearing of data, ideas, gotchas, and progress.

As an example the Wright brothers thought wing warping was the way to control an airplane. Curtis showed a better way (at the time) using ailerons. Now wing warping is again a consideration thanks to other advances. It is an evolutionary processes.

Field reversed configurations was once theoretically proven to be a dead end, but thanks to a single (?) researcher, it is now at the forefront of possible solutions. Tokamaks have proven much , but have also showed a lot of gotchas. These can be applied to other approaches even if the tokamak is finally abandoned.

There is much to be said for random approaches, at least at the beginning levels. Such is still used in pharmaceutical drug searches of natural sources- snakes, frogs, fish, fungus, etc. These searches can be focused with progressive knowledge, but they can also be focused too much.

I think this is the case with Tokamaks. Too much is invested in a narrow focus, especially when economic considerations are included (not only the cost of research, but the cost of implementation if the system works).

Institutional, personal, and cultural priorities biases the process, but are unavoidable, and can hamper progress. So a certain latitude (key here is how tightly you define this) is essential. Out right scams should be suppressed, others should be tolerated, or even supported within your framework of funding.

Certainly focus is useful as a series of approaches are weighed and put to the test, but there should not be high walls against revisiting issues. At the least, it serves as an educational tool for the next generation. You can teach dogma or understanding. Actually both are usually intermixed to various degrees.

Since this is a Fusor forum, consideration of it's usefulness is perhaps warranted. Few think the Fusor can achieve anything close to useful power production. Some think it is viable for uses where a neutron source is needed. As a hobby it stands on it's own. Perhaps it's greatest value though, is that it represents many of the physics processes and engineering challenges inherent in any hot fusion approach. It is an excellent teaching tool. And, many of its characteristics are relevant to much of plasma physics. The Polywell is a direct outgrowth of the Farnsworth Fusor, along with various aspects of magnetic confinement that has been learned from other approaches.

Dan Tibbets

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