Issues with Helion looked at anew.

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Richard Hull
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Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Richard Hull »

One of the most hyped direct energy conversion fusion efforts, (fusion to electricity), is the Helion operation system. (D-3He) fusion.

A nuclear engineer in a 3day old review is critical of the system and notes the well known D-D reaction is predominant until about 300 million kelvins.

Helion claims 100million at the compression/fusion stage. Too cold for D-3He fusion to exceed D-D fusion in their system.

The engineer gives many issues as he sees it. The big deal is they give no data on how they plan to extract the direct energy, (electricity), from their fusion reaction. We assume the protons will be used.

The engineer constant brings up the electrons in the plasma. Always the flies in the ointment.

Watch this sure to fail system of fusion being hyped with no real results, yet claims of net power production in late 2025. Watch that date slip and finally disappear with the extinction of the entire effort. The common theme among all startups.

Note you need to be fusion savy to follow closely. Not for newbies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb7GXi0ZvYw

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Joe Gayo
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Joe Gayo »

For a pulsed device, especially with sequenced compression/acceleration, the transmission line inductance looks high (of course this is speculation but there doesn't seem to be much attention paid to this parasitic in cabling layout). I wonder how much well-timed capacitor bank energy actually makes it to the coils. It's not uncommon for well-designed systems to only be 50% efficient.

Joe
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Dennis P Brown
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Dennis P Brown »

Such extremely high current and high voltage switch systems tend to have major issues providing reliable pulses and rather short life times for the components. A pulsed current system for any power plant is not something anyone has shown as viable at all (not even close.) Our group set a record of a million pulses for such a lower level system but it is an order of magnitude less than what a real system would need in reliability and still too low in energy (factor of 10.) So, besides the issue with the Q of a fusion system, any pulsed power supply is an even more questionable system. That, as Joe pointed out, doesn't address the overall efficiency of these pulsed power systems to deliver energy to the target. Talk about problems for a fusion system. There are so many unknows this really is a system that will fail but for a host of reasons. An engineering nightmare.
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Richard Hull »

Yes, having done water arc pulsed work back in the mid 90s, system inductance is importance to delivering the joule energy to the target load. Ultra short, broad flat conductors are needed between capacitors and the load getting pulsed. putting the capacitor right near the load is a must! Due to possible explosive damage with such proximity, the capacitors are often armor shielded a bit, depending of the joule level expected. Large hydrogen thyratrons are often used as the switch or special maxwell triggered spark gaps do the job. Not for the faint of heart.

As the pulse duration is short only the surface of any conductor will carry the current. Round cables will never see much current "soak" into the interior conductors. This is why broad thinner flat conductors are to be desired. Space available in the system often dictates their use though.

Superlative instrumentation is demanded if useful data is to be obtained. Such instrumentation, itself, must be guarded against EMP in megajoule pulse situations.

Looking at the video carefully, they seem to rely on the capacitors close at hand, (mounted near the actual chamber), at the device with large parallel multi-cable contacts to flat plates bolted down. I can't say more on their effort related to discharge. Not enough data.

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Christopher Collins »

I knew Helion had an unsustainable process based on what they showed for a picture of their Deuterium squeezer unit and for me it looks like watching a chimpanzee toy crashing cymbals together. They don't have Fusion solved and it's a real sore spot with me especially when they are taking billions of dollars to play science experiment and signing contracts for future power supply.
This will cost them dearly...
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Richard Hull
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Richard Hull »

The issues are that these startup clowns never give hard data on any supposed runs. They dare not ! To easy to show no real progress and money wasted versus zero effective returns from experiment. This assumes experiments are run and viable data is taken.

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

Not to worry, the clowns have come up with new rubber bands to wrap their hot jello in:

https://bityl.co/OZaj

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"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 60 years in the past and we missed it."
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

.
For the uninitiated:
Paul_Schatzkin wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2024 1:11 pm Not to worry, the clowns have come up with new rubber bands to wrap their hot jello in.

According to ChatGPT:
The analogy comparing the challenge of containing a fusion plasma with magnets to "trying to wrap hot jello with rubber bands" is often attributed to Dr. William L. Kruer, a physicist known for his work in the field of plasma physics and controlled nuclear fusion. While the specific origin of this analogy may vary, it is commonly associated with Dr. Kruer's explanation of the complexities and difficulties involved in confining and stabilizing a high-temperature fusion plasma using magnetic fields, which is a key aspect of fusion research and development.
Paul Schatzkin, aka "The Perfesser" – Founder and Host of Fusor.net
Author of The Boy Who Invented Television: 2023 Edition – https://amz.run/6ag1
"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 60 years in the past and we missed it."
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Ryan Ginter »

Personally, I would try and dissuade you from using ChatGPT. I had only used it for a short time, but the countless false answers it provided me as it replied with confidence have forever ruined my trust in it.

The origin of the expression seems very difficult to narrow down, but I believe it may originate from Edward Teller. He used this analogy in a talk he gave in 1954, which was the same year interchange instability was first described in a scientific paper.

I should also note that I was unable to find a single reference to this analogy by Dr. William L. Kruer.

Of course this answer comes from about 10 minutes of internet research, so take that with a grain of salt.
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

Ryan Ginter wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2024 7:16 pm Personally, I would try and dissuade you from using ChatGPT. I had only used it for a short time, but the countless false answers it provided me as it replied with confidence have forever ruined my trust in it.
That's why I cited the source.
I should also note that I was unable to find a single reference to this analogy by Dr. William L. Kruer.

Of course this answer comes from about 10 minutes of internet research, so take that with a grain of salt.
Wait. What? I can't believe everything on the Internet? ? ?

Zounds, forsake and forsooth!

😱

--PS
Paul Schatzkin, aka "The Perfesser" – Founder and Host of Fusor.net
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Dennis P Brown »

Nice thing about the new stellarator design/magnets configuration is that this magnetic bottle does not have that overwhelming problem. That system's magnetic containment acts far more like a real bottle containing the jello. Yet as I posted too often, neutron threat issues make any magnetic containment system too complex, expensive and frankly, impossible to safely work on.

In any case, considering the shear cost of a stellarator based system (super computer design complex shaped magnets are worth their weight in silver.) This explains why these groups always consider anything (in magnetic containment) but a stellarator design.

Regardless of MIT's blind spot, some rather useful work has even come out of their non-stellarator design current and future failure of a system. MIT has developed the first real large scale high temp (as in 20 K) super conductor magnetic that reaches extreme strength - 20 Tesla! Of course, that just means stronger and tighter rubber bands on the jello for their tokamak system.
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Christopher Collins »

I'd agree about not using chatbot too, but I'm not dog piling on ya. I'm also the kind of person who doesn't use Wikipedia for serious research, I prefer original sources.

Helion is in bad straits if they can't deliver as promised especially with $2.2 billion of Peter Theil's money and a power supply contract with Microsoft for over $800 million. A failure of that magnitude could do serious damage to the industry. That's not including what happens if successful in getting sustainable Fusion, they run the risk of the feds stepping in and taking it. I have that last tidbit courtesy of the boys at Langley.
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Christopher Collins »

Mr. Brown, I understand quite well the concept of shaped magnets though I didn't have access to a supercomputer when developing mine. Had a time making a curved core for some of the electromagnets used in my designs. Curved magnetic core can make a curved magnetic field.
Stellarator based units are a good direction... I know.
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Richard Hull »

Some here may not know that Helion has promised electrical power generation from their device in 2024. Has that date, this year, now been slipped back into the future? You are right. Such bold and impossible set dates, resulting in abject failure, will hurt future funding for any and all startups.

No startup, no matter how far out in time they promise grid power from fusion will ever meet their target date. We might want to get use to that.

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Dennis P Brown
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Dennis P Brown »

If only those foolish investors - who apparently gave many thousands if not millions to this company - had simply joined this forum. Then they could have asked questions here and saved themselves a great deal of money.

Guess the saying is true: A fool and their money are soon parted.

More so, and more people need to remember this truism: just because someone is wealthy, does not mean they are smart.
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Christopher Collins »

Yeah, I'd agree with both Mr. Brown and Mr. Hull on the investment side of things. A little research into what is proposed by a company goes a long way, it's one reason why I've been very reluctant to take any outside money while R & D'ing for the past 5 years. That way, if I'm wrong then it's only my ass on the line and would take responsibility for it. Yes I've had quite a few wrong leads, missteps and dead-ends but they've been on my dime or time. Thankfully I can learn from past mistakes...
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Paul_Schatzkin »

Not to fear, NPR explains it all for you:

https://www.npr.org/2024/03/15/11989095 ... investment

And there's your Helion again. They must be on the hook for new sources of funding.

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Author of The Boy Who Invented Television: 2023 Edition – https://amz.run/6ag1
"Fusion is not 20 years in the future; it is 60 years in the past and we missed it."
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Richard Hull
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Richard Hull »

A fraction of Helion's 500 million has to be directed towards the press!

It is to be remembered that their fusion is D-3He.... and just like D-T, Where is the Tritium or 3He coming from that must be fused to make the tera-watts demanded in future?? In their machine, at fusion temperatures what is to the keep the far easier, less energy dense, D-D reaction from happening first?

They have yet to give out any data or results! They are on their 3rd machine!

The skunk works kind of missed their target date of net fusion power delivery. They are not really the big player all had hopes for.

In the end, the beat goes on.

Lots of big splashes in the deep end of the fusion sea with promises of great wealth garnered from below. All we see are the folks that make the splash struggling to swim. Ultimately, they slip under the waves in the effort and only a few bubbles of their last gasp at life below the surface are seen as they go into the abyss that is the Davy Jones locker of fusion. They carry with them into that deep much gold coin that was given them by rich land lubbers. Aye, there be much treasure in that great abyss that beckons others to make a splash.

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Christopher Collins »

Mr. Hull, as it was explained to me regarding Helium-3 sources, most are found on the surface of the Moon and that part makes Deuterium + Helium-3 Fusion impractical for the future of sustainable Fusion IMO. You point out the extreme temperature requirements for this method and I'll agree that those temperatures make plasma containment a good luck proposal in avoiding meltdowns of equipment.
I'd prefer a temperature range of 8 to 12 thousand degrees, which puts temperature ranges in the same general category as a star according to astronomy.
Lots of my ideas on Fusion are based on what science says about stars, and stars run on Protium...
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by JoeBallantyne »

Chris -

When you figure out how to create gravity, without mass, then maybe you can build your protium reactor...

You will also have invented the warp engine...

I'm not holding my breath.

No real physicist that I know of, here on earth, has ever proposed trying to do fusion here on earth exactly like the stars do.

Why?

BECAUSE IT IS NOT POSSIBLE.

This site is about real physics, and real science, NOT SCIENCE FICTION.

Please stop.

Joe.
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Richard Hull
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Re: Issues with Helion looked at anew.

Post by Richard Hull »

I fear the 10-12 thousand kelvin temperature of the Sun is the ultra low surface temperature.
No fusion is done there.
All fusion is taking place at a pitably slow rate per unit mass by coulomb tunneling due to the still rather chilly temps of millions of kelvins at the core! These barely make the fusion level. After all, the sun, our star, is a terrible fusion engine. Thank goodness!

You might do well to read and understand fusion at a far more technical level.

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
The more complex the idea put forward by the poor amateur, the more likely it will never see embodiment
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