No news is no news.

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
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Richard Hull
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Re: No news is no news.

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:25 pm

I was really excited by the video Chris supplied of ITER. I am given new confidence now related to fusion. Words, like "to serve as a test bed", " ...will be used to explore and test new ideas", "Attempt to examine how plasmas react in a controlled fusion environment", etc.,etc.

Sounds like JET and all the other "test beds" and "plasma study tokamaks" but of course this is much, much bigger and much, much more costly I think, perhaps its bigness is sufficent to make it a contender.

As always, it is just a matter of time and money, both of which, in future histories, may be shown to have been in short supply, related to surrounding events in the affairs of man.

Sometimes, I fear we are off to create a bold and fabulous future before we have fully secured and stabilized the present.

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.

DrMatthew
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Re: No news is no news.

Post by DrMatthew » Tue Aug 13, 2013 4:12 pm

Hello,

Just and update, in May there was 2 papers out. One on Fusors, one on Polywells. The Polywell work measured electron trapping inside a magnetic field. That might not sound like a big deal, but it is published evidence of electron trapping. That is big. The fusor work is no big deal. The amateurs here have done better work.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1063%2F1.4804279

http://link.springer.com/article/10.100 ... 013-9607-z

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Richard Hull
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Re: No news is no news.

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Aug 13, 2013 5:15 pm

Naturally, all the papers and data are for sale and not open for public review. Oh well...... We are not among the well heeled or the annointed.

I am stunned that the Turkish effort at 85kv was not able to make more neuts! They published before they learned how to properly run the thing!

Now, can the polywell, electron trap work and fuse at the same time?

Thanks for the update.

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.

Michael R Cole
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Re: No news is no news.

Post by Michael R Cole » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:14 pm

Well, one of your other problems is that the hydrogen boron-10 reaction acts as an expensive refrigerator. Isotope separation is one key. Perhaps somebody could couple a boron vaporizer ( requires intense electric arc or laser ) + calutron to do isotope separation and then the calutron's B-11 output injects directly into the reactor.

Vaporizable boron compounds could be used to effect a fractional distillation but as some of you have pointed out things like borane are h#ll*tiously poisonous plus borane has 2 boron atoms.

Another problem is the possibility of fusinghelium-4 to B-10 to get nitrogen - never computed if this could produce energy and my CRC handbook of chemistry and physics is buried in storage. Also, nitrogen of sufficient energy will alloy with metals and is one of the things ( in the form of cyanides ) to case harden steel.

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Adam Szendrey
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Re: No news is no news.

Post by Adam Szendrey » Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:25 pm

I think this is related to this discussion. I had some exchange back in 2011 with Dr. Nebel about POPS. I was working for the hungarian academy of science, and was involved in MEMS and other micro/nanotechnology stuff. I had an idea that could've potentially make use of the POPS concept on a microscale, and we had the facilities to develop something like that. He was interested and proposed that we keep in touch. Unfortunately shortly after I left that post, for financial reasons (government wages are very low here and I have a mortgage), so I couldn't make good on my ideas...usual story I know. I do regret that...

At any rate I believe he went on to establish his own lab, he was in the process of doing that in 2011, but I don't know what happened after that. The reason for this was not related to technical results, but to the fact that the DOE pretty much shut everything down that was not tokamak or otherwise magnetic related. Haven't heard from him since.

As for EMC2 in general...I'd really like to know what became of their project, but for quite a while now their site went "dark". There is a bit (very little substance) of information on wikipedia about their 2014 fiscal year, but that's it.

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Re: No news is no news.

Post by Richard Hull » Sat Dec 20, 2014 4:26 am

I thought EMC2 more or less folded up with Doc Bussard. The Navy wrapped up its first part under EMC2 and I think the effort may be continuing in a limited way. EMC2 just got a new naval contract award!!!

https://www.fpds.gov/ezsearch/search.do ... Name=1.4.3

Based on just the 2014 awards they got just under a million bucks!

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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Adam Szendrey
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Re: No news is no news.

Post by Adam Szendrey » Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:54 am

Aye, they still get funding but...while before there was at least some information on their website (http://www.emc2.com) now (I think at least for a year or two now) it's gone. It would be nice to know more details.

Wikipedia has this on the matter:
"In June 2014, EMC2 demonstrated for the first time that the electron cloud becomes diamagnetic in the center of a magnetic cusp configuration when beta is high, resolving an earlier conjecture.[18][27] Whether the electrons are thermalized and the plasma is thermal or not remains to be demonstrated experimentally.

After $12 to $20 million received from the U.S. Navy, EMC2 is now attempting to raise money in the private sector. CEO Jaeyoung Park gave a talk about their latest cusp-confinement experiments at UC Irvine.[95] EMC2 is planning a three-year, $30 million commercial research program to prove the Polywell can work as a nuclear fusion power generator.[96]"

A bit of the "same old same old" ?

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Chris Bradley
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Re: No news is no news.

Post by Chris Bradley » Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:41 am

Under a recovery act funded project, following 'sole-supplier' USN funded work, EMC have demonstrated cusp confinement of electrons. This is a pre-requisite for the wiffleball theory of operation.

Though there is as yet nothing to show that the formation of the electron wiffle ball can lead to viable fusion, nonetheless some folks seem to think it suggests it still shows potential.

Me, I think the whole idea of Bussard was that tokamak was a bondoogle costing $millions and taking decades to show nothing much of direct relevance fusion power, and that polywell would fix that if only it got the funding. Well, it got the funding and now IT is the bondoogle costing $millions and taking decades to show nothing much of direct relevance to fusion power!

Fusion research has been supplanted by plasma research, and it has been this way from its very early days of fusion research. 'If only we could understand this troublesome plasma stuff' and so plasma experiments are the order of the day. Funnily enough, though, all that plasma research has produced a revolution in manufacturing techniques that might well not have happened without it. Has fusion research failed to pay for itself? Well, it hasn't paid off in direct research terms, but can real research ever a 'direct' contributor to industrial output? (I say 'no', that is the task of 'development'.) I think plasma research to date has produced many off-shoots that would probably not have happened without it, or accelerated with it at least, and the profit from which are multiples of the investments made.

But that doesn't necessarily mean dead ends should still be followed, simply the difficulty is knowing whether you are following a dead end until you get to the dead end.

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Re: No news is no news.

Post by Dan Tibbets » Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:10 pm

Actual EMC2 results are sparsely reported, but there has been recent presentations by Dr Parks that shows the best evidence of actual Wiffleball formation- high Beta conditions where the cusp confinement of electrons is greatly enhanced. According to Dr Nebel and others this is the most important aspect that required confirmation for the Polywell concept to be viable, The high Beta - diamagnetic conditions have actually been postulated as early as 1955, but this is apparently the first experimental confirmation of it's application. Bussard had claimed earlier demonstration of high Beta, but the results were apparently problematic. Not so with this latest result.

My impression is that this latest result was accomplished by Dr Parks with a clever experiment using the meager funds available. Apparently very good cusp confinement results were obtained with WB8, but demonstrating enhanced confinement beyond the basic low Beta conditions was tentative and not conclusive. The basic problem seemed to be that they found that they needed much more powerful electron guns to drive the progression from low to high beta. They could not afford this on their meagar budget, so Parks designed a smaller machine that required corresponding lower electron injection capacity, combined with supplemental high power plasma pulsed input to achieve high Beta (~ 0.7). The diagnostics to detect X-ray output demonstrated attainment of the target in what appears to be an undeniable fashion.

Navy funding for EMC2 has ended and EMC2 is now seeking other funding. The "millions" spent has been extremely small. Over the years the Navy spending has averaged ~ 1 million per year, and this last ~ 6 year funding through Recovery Act sources- managed through the Navy has averaged ~ 2 million per year. This is not much money to manage and maintain a ~ 6-8 person lab, yet alone allow for much capital expenditures. Comparatively DPF by Learner, etel has struggled along on a few hundred thousand per year. General Fusion and Tri Alpha has had perhaps ~ 5 million per year budgets. Other FRC efforts also have struggled on a few million per year- in part through Tokamak budgets for plasma injection. Contrast this with the US budget for tokamak research at ~ 200 million per year currently and more in the past.These three approaches, four including the General Fusion Canadian effort, all have well reasoned physics backing them up. With the latest EMC2 results the physics basis is arguably as strong as in the Tokamak. The actual attainment of profitable fusion is still a problematic goal , though perhaps engineering issues are the major challenges. As Bussard liked to say, the physics has been proven.

Some would say ~30 million spent on Polywell over ~ 30 years is considerable, but it is actually tiny. Polywell research has trickled along with ~ 30 million years of funding. Tokamak has staggered forward with ~ 2 billion per year (guesstimate for World funding) for ~ 50 years or ~ 100 billion years of funding.

The Tokamak is more advanced towards break even, as is Laser confinement fusion, but at costs ~ 1000 times higher per milestone achieved. This combined with the demonstrated economic disaster of actually deploying such technology begs the question of why much cheaper, yet reasonable efforts with much better economic application characteristics are minimized and even suppressed.

The perhaps most recent presentation by Dr Parks is here:

http://fire.pppl.gov/FPA14_IECM_EMC2_Park.pdf


Dan Tibbets

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Chris Bradley
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Re: No news is no news.

Post by Chris Bradley » Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:29 pm

Dan Tibbets wrote:Actual EMC2 results are sparsely reported, but there has been recent presentations by Dr Parks that shows the best evidence of actual Wiffleball formation- high Beta conditions where the cusp confinement of electrons is greatly enhanced. According to Dr Nebel and others this is the most important aspect that required confirmation for the Polywell concept to be viable,
He can say that, but there is not a shred of scientific support I am aware of for such a hypothesis. Lots of hyperbole and optimistically biased analyses perhaps, but nothing particularly objective. Analyses need to consider the worst possible outcomes, and these sorts of examinations only analyse the most favourable possible of circumstances, to the exclusion of anything that is unhelpful.

I am quite confident that the diamagnetic wiffleball of electrons has now been demonstrated satisfactorily, but this is zip zero evidence that they can confine fast ions. Tokamak can also demonstrate strong plasma confinement, and did so much earlier in its evolution that Bussard ever could, but decades later it still looks pretty poor at confining the plasma once it gets to thermonuclear temperatures during actual fusion, and its been trying a lot longer and with an order of magnitude or more funding.

These 'we only have to show X' claims are EXACTLY like all the flannel back in the 60's with toroidal plasma. All we have to do is X .. "and then there is a miracle"....

Well, I suppose it is Christmas when miracles happen - Happy Christmas all!!

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