Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
User avatar
Dennis P Brown
Posts: 1714
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 2:46 pm
Real name: Dennis P Brown
Location: Glen Arm, MD

Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Dennis P Brown » Sun Oct 19, 2014 11:28 am

So now Lockheed-Martin is jumping on the 'Band Wagon' by claiming a fusion "Breakthrough" - that they have the design fort a 100 Mega-watt power unit that can fit on a truck. And no, from what I have read, the unit isn't marked "Mr. Fusion". See this science article:

http://news.sciencemag.org/physics/2014 ... on-machine

The article mentions a Polywell(!) design and that somehow, it might be involved. However, the picture doesn't show a Polywell configuration. Rather, the confinement (?) units are used in what appear to be a "linear" geometry. It is that the SC magnets (?) do look similar to the Polywell design ones.

This claim is appearing at a lot of places but this one gives the picture of the unit (the inside.) L-M is well known for over the top hype and the Stunk Works who are the one's doing the work were, once long ago, famous for leapfrog technology. Their last great jump was into the mud when they built a "fully" working single stage to orbit shuttle type unit (1/3 scale) that was a total disaster (terrible engineering that only managed to waste over a billions dollars (a lot was taxpayer money.)) Maybe times have changed but somehow, I don't think they have achieved any breakthrough. Still, they said five years to an operational 100 Mega-watt unit. So I guess that after they produce their first Mega-watt of real power by fusion burn (not electrical heating), maybe we will hear from them (which I highly doubt.)

Aside: before anyone jumps to their defense and say I'm just being negative - remember: Great claims REQUIRE great proof. If these clowns had first burned some D-T and produced real power (say just a trivial Mega-watt of fusion energy) in their device, I'd be willing to grant them some belief. But no. Not a watt or neutron data point to shown - just a huge claim using hot air, not a hot plasma (LOL.)

User avatar
Richard Hull
Moderator
Posts: 11535
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Richard Hull » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:33 pm

To date, all the fusion systems, including those supposed over unity tokomaks and Jet and the rest have never bothered to hook any form of electrical generation to their systems. It is true, not the first watt of electricity has ever been produced and used by any fusion system. Forget mega watts....Forget even kilowatts........not one watt to light a flashlight bulb!

I have posted the image before of the housewife at a range cooking with fission energy in an early 1950's Life or Look magazine in an article about the future of nuclear power. Yes it was an early naval test bed electrical reactor for use in the future "Nautalus" submarine, but it was a kilowatt range and the atom was powering it only 12 year after the discovery of fission and only 8 years after Fermi's CP-1 pile went critical. Fusion was discovered in 1932, six years before fission. Fission was first used to blow people up, but the double edged sword proved a great benefit in that many Terawatts of power from fission have enriched many lives since.

Fusion's first application was also in a weapon designed to be two orders of magnitude greater in destructive and killing power than the little A-bomb. Fusion has yet to serve man, only to threaten his future existence. Fusion has been a carinval act with many "barkers" offering to let us have a peek while taking our money.

Fusion languishes, floundering as always, but full of promise as ever.

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.

User avatar
Andrew Robinson
Moderator
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:54 am
Real name: Andrew Robinson
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Contact:

Re: Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Andrew Robinson » Mon Oct 20, 2014 12:05 am

Richard you must get tired of posting these types of replies haha.
I can wire anything directly into anything! I'm the professor!

User avatar
Richard Hull
Moderator
Posts: 11535
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:13 pm

I never tire of pointing out that the emporer has no clothes, but that he thinks he constantly has on a new set of duds with each passing fad.

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.

User avatar
Paul_Schatzkin
Site Admin
Posts: 701
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 4:49 pm
Real name: aka The Perfesser
Contact:

Re: Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Paul_Schatzkin » Thu Oct 23, 2014 11:25 am

This story showed up while I was in the UK over the past two weeks, and so I gave it only peripheral attention. It showed up in my Google Alerts again this morning, with this headline:

Mr. Fusion? Compact Fusion Reactor Will be Available in 5 Years Says Lockheed-Martin

http://www.universetoday.com/115411/fus ... ed-martin/

So much for Dennis's "it's not Mr. Fusion..." observation. <g>

What baffles me is that all the coverage seems... well, opaque, vague, and confused - at best. Like there's a photo of a spherical vessel that looks for all the world like a large fusor, and yet the reporting says "Their system uses magnetic confinement, the same basic principle behind the tokamak toroidal plasma confinement system that has received the greatest attention and government funding for over 50 years."

So something is clearly not quite right in the coverage. It appears that the subject matter is beyond the depth of those who are reporting on it. They're just reprinting a Lockheed-Martin press release, and adding a layer of skepticism to the "reporting."

Furthermore: I object to the opening sentence that mentions the "The Farnsworth Fusor" in the same breath as Pons and Fleishmann. The Fusor may not be anywhere close to a break-even capable device, but it's not in the same league as the Pons and Flieshmann spoof of the late 80s. I mean, where is the "coldfusion.net" with it's vast database of experiments and shared resources??

And remember, kids, what we're experimenting with here is not really "The Farnsworth Fusor." It's (what I call) the "Hirsch-Meeks Variation." It was created to demonstrate the principal - on a device that could be wheeled into a demonstration on a dessert cart. To that extent it has more than lived up to its potential, and continues to do so every day that people report on their results here. Nobody has really built a Farnsworth Fusor since the mid 1960s.

What is interesting to me is that this story, combined with the earlier one about a Silicon Valley incubator taking a stake in a fusion startup suggests an elevated level of interest in the subject. Like it's finally beginning to dawn on people that we're not going to be able to keep running all these electrical gizmos from fossil fuels.

I keep waiting to hear from Elon Musk. I mean, at some point somebody really needs to point out that the Tesla cars are actual coal-powered vehicles, even if there is no exhaust. The exhaust just comes out elsewhere. Talk about the emperor having no clothes.... ?

--PS
Paul Schatzkin, aka "The Perfesser" – Founder and Host of Fusor.net
Author of The Boy Who Invented Television - http://farnovision.com/book.html
"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 50 years in the past and we missed it."

User avatar
Andrew Robinson
Moderator
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:54 am
Real name: Andrew Robinson
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Contact:

Re: Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Andrew Robinson » Thu Oct 30, 2014 5:26 pm

Did you guys miss the actual Skunk Works link? http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/produc ... usion.html
I can wire anything directly into anything! I'm the professor!

User avatar
Richard Hull
Moderator
Posts: 11535
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Richard Hull » Fri Oct 31, 2014 6:23 am

Thanks for the link. Went there, saw the hype, got their pitch which sounds nice, but.........

The only thing good about this is it is not a government sugar tit hanging from the sky. A real company is dumping their real money into the fusion money pit. Small, concentrated effort or not, a corporation will gladly euthanize a dog that don't hunt rather than spend on its care and feeding until they die.

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.

User avatar
Dennis P Brown
Posts: 1714
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 2:46 pm
Real name: Dennis P Brown
Location: Glen Arm, MD

Re: Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Dennis P Brown » Fri Oct 31, 2014 11:16 am

After watching that video, all I can say is, it would be nice if in five years they get as many neutrons as Mr. Hull does. Not sold on even that. Big claims, no experimental proof what-so-ever. Just more hot air and no plasma ... really, already claiming the size of the plant!? Well, the clock is ticking and let's see how quick they publish results that indicate that this is more than hot air. Within a year they should have major news if their claim of 100 Mega-watt in five years isn't more wishful thinking ...

I'll add that I wish them only success but don't expect it. On the otherhand, I still feel the Wendelstein 7-X will work. That appears fusion's best and brightest hope for success.

User avatar
Andrew Robinson
Moderator
Posts: 684
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:54 am
Real name: Andrew Robinson
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Contact:

Re: Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Andrew Robinson » Tue Nov 04, 2014 4:28 pm

Might as well bring the link into the discussion: https://www.ipp.mpg.de/16900/w7x
I can wire anything directly into anything! I'm the professor!

User avatar
Richard Hull
Moderator
Posts: 11535
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2001 1:44 pm
Real name: Richard Hull

Re: Another claim of a Fusion "Breakthrough"

Post by Richard Hull » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:59 am

Another Stellarator!? Lyman Spitzer would be proud. A giant leap backwards into the future.

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.

Post Reply