The race is on, Polywell vs Focus Fusion

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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Betruger
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Postby Betruger » Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:47 pm

chrismb wrote:
Betruger wrote: You said 10%; are you reconsidering?
I said 10% for credibility [on my own personal rating scale], not viability.

But if you're taking 10:1 odds on Polywell reaching break-even, yeah, sure, where do I sign?? I'd be over the moon either way - if I pay you $1,000 but we've ended up with fusion power OR if I win $10,000 off you, either is good for me! (You might be a bit down in the dumps with the latter outcome, though!)
You don't seem to understand. I'm agnostic. You have a distinct anti-polywell bias, and even say black on white that you think there's only 10% chance that the polywell will deliver net power. Unlike Dr Carlson, your downplaying of the polywell is getting old - because you don't know any more about the polywell than anyone else outside of the small circle of people centered around the Navy lab but argue as though you did, without providing novel insights like Dr Carlson does. There's plenty of evidence to support that Polywell is a worthwhile endeavour with good chances of success. e.g. like TallDave says, it's possibly the only project with a contract for a net power model. It's a better project in that it promises to take only 2-5 years to conclude. Not 50 years.

So when you deflect a simple harmless token wager into a 1-10 k$ show-off, it seems like more of the same. I've said my piece and this argument is going nowhere - you'll keep snubbing the polywell project every chance you get and steer things towards partisan politics that're never worthwhile - so I'll shut up now. :)

chrismb
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Postby chrismb » Wed Aug 26, 2009 5:41 pm

Betruger wrote:You have a distinct anti-polywell bias, and even say black on white that you think there's only 10% chance that the polywell will deliver net power.

I have a pugnacious turn of phrase, I grant you, but you would be wrong to read it as 'anti-polywell'. I'm far from anti-polywell and would support where I can. You may think a critique of any given issue I make is negative, but that's not how I see it. A problem aired is a problem half-solved. Or maybe we can go sleep-walking into a pile of problems that will appear insurmountable when we get there. I'm a reliability engineer so my contribution to anything is to figure out avoiding how things won't work, rather than trying to figure out how things might work. That's what I'm good at, pointing out problems. It wins me no favours and few friends, but I know that it helps produce optimum results and I'm happy with myself. Consensus fails where the products of antagonism can succeed.

It's my opinion that there's too much glad-handing and back-slapping in modern western culture. Telling everyone how wonderful they all are and how well they're all doing has only one consequence - arrogant lethargy towards driving excellence. If I challenge MSimon or 90210 or TallDave or many of the others here that I gain word-battle with, it gets them thinking and gets them to strengthen their arguments for next time someone raises similiar issues. No-one refines and generates sophistication in an idea unless it is well challenged. Being right or wrong is irrelevant, it is the process of thought that counts, and being challenged and/or challenging both strengthens and emboldens this process.

...those who are not ready for a challenge, and want things easy and laid out on a plate, need not apply...

TallDave
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Postby TallDave » Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:49 pm

I'll take that wager, if I understand it. Fifteen years seems reasonable.

If on August 27, 2024, there has not been a Polywell fusion reaction reaching Q>1, I will pay you US$100. If there has been, you will pay me US$1,000 on that date.

I will not be donating mine, if I win. I will instead pay my electric bill with it.

chrismb
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Postby chrismb » Wed Aug 26, 2009 7:25 pm

TallDave wrote:I'll take that wager, if I understand it. Fifteen years seems reasonable.

If on August 27, 2024, there has not been a Polywell fusion reaction reaching Q>1, I will pay you US$100. If there has been, you will pay me US$1,000 on that date.

I will not be donating mine, if I win. I will instead pay my electric bill with it.
hmmm... give me some time and I'll try to think up a suitable wager, if it is to be a token gesture - in 15 years time the fee to wire/receive the money alone will be $100!!

KitemanSA
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Postby KitemanSA » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:27 am

chrismb wrote:
KitemanSA wrote:
chrismb wrote: Makes 26,000 look like chicken sh*t, doesn't it??
I may regret asking this, but where the heck do you get 26,000?
Do a search. It's there somewhere and was, I am told, the conversion for those 3 clicks of the neutron detector.
I already did such a search. But when I did the search I got every instance of 000 every used. I couldn't figure out has to look for 26,000 and only that string; I even tried quotes! ;)

The search capability on this forum is not very robust. Do you have OTHER key words I might search on?

KitemanSA
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Postby KitemanSA » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:34 am

TallDave wrote: Polywell also has the distinction, as of summer 2009, of being the only fusion approach with a contract for a net-power device.
Oh? Where is that contract? I know that there is a part of the Navy contract for a conceptual design, but a contract for an actual net-power device? News to me.

TallDave
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Postby TallDave » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:38 am

KitemanSA wrote:
TallDave wrote: Polywell also has the distinction, as of summer 2009, of being the only fusion approach with a contract for a net-power device.
Oh? Where is that contract? I know that there is a part of the Navy contract for a conceptual design, but a contract for an actual net-power device? News to me.


There's a (somewhat vague) option in there to build it, iirc.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:24 am

TallDave wrote:
KitemanSA wrote:
TallDave wrote: Polywell also has the distinction, as of summer 2009, of being the only fusion approach with a contract for a net-power device.
Oh? Where is that contract? I know that there is a part of the Navy contract for a conceptual design, but a contract for an actual net-power device? News to me.


There's a (somewhat vague) option in there to build it, iirc.


I believe WB-9 was to be a 100 mWf (f for fusion) output machine. So far nothing is contemplated past WB-9.

It would be nice to know the proposed specs of WB-9 (field strength, size) to estimate what a 100 MW machine would look like. That would be a 1E9 scale up. If the WB-9 field was 1T, radius .15 m, and the physics laws hold up - a 10T, 100 MW machine would have 7 m radius coils. If they can get to 20 T the radius drops to .5 m. A 20T coil at that radius would be pushing the state of the art (not too hard - 3 T with 1 m bore (.5 m radius) is easy - I have commercial quotes - so can we get to 20T @ 1 m bore? I think so. If not this year then 3 to 5 years from now). The power density would be nice and tasty though. About 200 MW/ cu. m.

Now about the losses........
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

chrismb
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Postby chrismb » Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:15 am

KitemanSA wrote:
chrismb wrote:
KitemanSA wrote:
chrismb wrote: Makes 26,000 look like chicken sh*t, doesn't it??
I may regret asking this, but where the heck do you get 26,000?
Do a search. It's there somewhere and was, I am told, the conversion for those 3 clicks of the neutron detector.
I already did such a search. But when I did the search I got every instance of 000 every used. I couldn't figure out has to look for 26,000 and only that string; I even tried quotes! ;)

The search capability on this forum is not very robust. Do you have OTHER key words I might search on?


http://www.talk-polywell.org/bb/viewtop ... 9423#19423

BenTC
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Postby BenTC » Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:00 pm

KitemanSA wrote:The search capability on this forum is not very robust. Do you have OTHER key words I might search on?


Try google search 26,000 site:talk-polywell.org
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

Brian H
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Postby Brian H » Thu Aug 27, 2009 9:39 pm

chrismb wrote:
MSimon wrote:And yet Polywell is getting funds and FF is begging.

Evidently people with real money to spend have evaluated the chances differently.

If it's really gone from a discussion on scientific merits and experimental performance to how the mob behaves, then you clearly seem to have accepted a move to the 'loosing' side of the argument!!

But neither Lerner nor I wish ill to Polywell. Good for it, if it has found the funding. As Lerner does, let's promote a genuine 'X-prize' for fusion, then we'll see what comes out. At the moment, the only reward is for outright and complete success to deliver power into the grid. It's too big a stretch. There needs to be intermediate motivations. Have a 'World Neutron-Producing Prize' or something. Some 'focus' (excuse the co-incidence) about which and into which funding can drive towards prize money rather than the seemingly unlikely net-power device. It's too far to stretch in one go.


Lerner has been funded to the tune of about $1.2 million by the Abell Foundation and private individuals. (There is a certain difficulty with being too small to qualify as 'pork' involved, I think!) That funding is for the proof-of-unity research, lasting till 2011 or so, with the last year thereof to overlap with the engineering R&D, to be separately funded (about $5 million is expected to be needed for 2 years or so of that work.) (Currently, the experimental facility and shielding wall are under construction, with about a month to go. )

Immediately thereafter comes a push (2 years?) to refine a mass-production design, to be licensed to all comers (manufacturers) world-wide, at very reasonable cost, with the intention of keeping power sales pricing as close to the cost of production as possible, probably well under 0.5¢/kwh. It is expected (on the basis of currently projected cooling capacity for the electrodes) to operate at 330Hz, 5MW. Housing about home-garage size, including maintenance walkways; larger clusters might have other geometry.

The cathodes (outer ring of electrodes) would be beryllium for X-ray transparency. I'm not sure what erosion/sputtering problems that entails.

As far as betting, etc., there is now an Intrade site where you can buy/sell wagers on attainment of unity by December 31, 2014 (very conservative based on current plans). If you're skeptical, make an offer to sell at 50¢ and see if you get takers!
Last edited by Brian H on Fri Aug 28, 2009 7:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:39 pm

Brian H,

Bad link to Intrade.

OTOH my mate thanks you for the Diabetes Link:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 193019.htm

Intrade:

http://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/contractSearch/#

Scientific - Focus Fusion

====================

Cooling the electrodes will not solve the erosion problem.

It will be interesting to see how he solves the loss problems.

the intention of keeping power sales pricing as close to the cost of production as possible


At the price expected for electrical production (0.5 ¢ a KWh) the business plan is stupid. He should be charging as much as the market will bear to get fast roll out and pay for more R&D. Then start dropping prices as competition comes to the market.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

Brian H
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Postby Brian H » Fri Aug 28, 2009 3:42 am

MSimon wrote:Brian H,

Bad link to Intrade.

OTOH my mate thanks you for the Diabetes Link:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 193019.htm

Intrade:

http://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/contractSearch/#

Scientific - Focus Fusion

====================

Cooling the electrodes will not solve the erosion problem.

It will be interesting to see how he solves the loss problems.

the intention of keeping power sales pricing as close to the cost of production as possible



At the price expected for electrical production (0.5 ¢ a KWh) the business plan is stupid. He should be charging as much as the market will bear to get fast roll out and pay for more R&D. Then start dropping prices as competition comes to the market.


Yes, here's a direct link to the Intrade FF page:
http://www.intrade.com/jsp/intrade/comm ... 1431112667

The Great Pumpkin says "You're Welcome!" :)

The licenses will be to mass production manufacturers; the intent is to maximize deployment, without barriers in less developed countries, etc. At a projected FOB factory door price of $250,000 per generator, and with thousands of generators required for any multi-gigawatt environment, (e.g.) $10K per generator sold (a 4% surcharge) would generate 10s or 100s of millions of dollars in a big hurry. And ultimately millions of the generators would be required for terawatt level demand, though future R&D is expected to improve cooling tech so the generators can be run at 1650Hz or so to boost output to 25MW. Assuming anode tech also advances enough to control erosion, of course.

Lerner claims to be driven primarily by a desire to drive the cost of completely clean energy down to small fractions of current levels, with all the projected wealth-generating and environmental benefits that implies.
Help Keep the Planet Green! Maximize your CO2 and CH4 Output!

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Carl White
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Postby Carl White » Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:38 pm

MSimon wrote:And yet Polywell is getting funds and FF is begging.


It's worth pointing out that Polywell was begging for a long time too. And this despite the fact that they had promising data from their final experiments to present.

MSimon
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Postby MSimon » Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:02 am

Carl White wrote:
MSimon wrote:And yet Polywell is getting funds and FF is begging.


It's worth pointing out that Polywell was begging for a long time too. And this despite the fact that they had promising data from their final experiments to present.


The thing is DPF work has never stopped. Just Lerner's experiments. The same is not true of the Polywell design.

In theory FF work to net power should be a table top affair. People have been studying these gizmos in lots of labs around the world for 20 years. You would think that it wouldn't take 20 years for a net power design with so many folks studying the device.

And they are making the device out of Beryllium to avoid heat loading from x-rays. Obviously they are not getting a trivial amount. The electrodes have to be cooled. More lost power. All this from a 5 MW (net power? total power?) device. Peak power per fusion pulse on the order of 5 GW for 3 usec. assuming 100% conversion efficiency - about 15 KJ per pulse. And yet he is driving his devices with a 1 MJ pulse. The numbers don't add up. What that means if true is a bigger fusion pulse with most of the energy going into the drive pulse.

I'm not saying don't spend the money. He may have found something. The density he is working with (4 torr) is good. And he may have found a gas mixture that will work. But Decaborane is going to run up his experimental costs and require a safety engineer. And I'd still be concerned with electrode erosion.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.


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