Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nuclear Fusion Update

Brian Westenhaus reports good news about the Lawrenceville Plasma Physics effort to create a working dense plasma focus fusion.
Late February saw the first preliminary evidence that the injection of angular momentum into the dense plasma fusion considerably increases the efficiency of energy transfer into the plasmoid, the size of the plasmoid and thus the fusion energy yield. During some shots the angular momentum coil (AMC) was connected to the power supply, so current could flow through it. In other shots, the coil circuit was left open, so no current could flow. The shots with the AMC connected have a neutron yield 8-10 times that of those with the AMC disconnected, so this is a large and very promising effect.

...By mid March the device was operating at 90% good shots. In the best shots, ion energies were measured in the range of 40-60 keV (the equivalent of 0.4-0.6 billion degrees K). The electron beam carried about 0.5 kJ of energy and the plasmoid held about 1 kJ of energy, nearly half that stored in the magnetic field of the device. So, this is evidence that a substantial part of the total energy available is being concentrated in the plasmoids and transferred to the beams. _NewEnergyandFuel

Brian Wang has more on the progress at LPP's dense plasma focus.

In Australia, scientists have worked out a way to achieve a safe, achievable fusion reaction using light hydrogen combined with boron-11. The scientists state that the new generation of advanced lasers available today should be able to provide the necessary energies.

The annual convention of cold fusion researchers took place in San Francisco last month, with many researchers reporting progress in the study and production of room temperature fusion effects.

Here is a recent look at some of the issues involved in producing fusion in mainstream magnetic confinement devices.

The US GAO has recently thrown some cold water on Lawrence Livermore National Labs' hopes to achieve meaningful fusion reaction this year.

Meanwhile, Bussard IEC fusion research continues by EMC2 in New Mexico.

The biggest fusion project -- ITER in Europe -- is behind schedule and over budget. It is unlikely to ever achieve meaningful fusion. But it may serve as a good training ground for fusion researchers, and provide a bigger than life platform for testing some fusion concepts. On the other hand, it may simply be canceled as too costly for its likely output.



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