More Helion Energy news....

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

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Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Fri May 17, 2013 11:47 pm

TheRadicalModerate wrote:Does anybody understand the purpose behind the byzantine relationship between Slough, Helion, MSNW, and U-Dub? I assume that there's some sort of funding/intellectual property accounting game going on here, but the whole thing is kinda hinky.

I initially thought that it was as simple as MSNW does propulsion and Helion does power apps, but last I heard Helion had licensed tech from MSNW. Furthermore, a bunch of the test bed work is being done at UW. All very confusing.

From what I understand, Helion is a spin off company that has the main purpose of commercializing the fusion engine. John Slough and some of the others are also employees at the UW and share some equipment and research with the university.

crowberry
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby crowberry » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:29 pm

Helion Energy has two news items on their homepage:

The 4th in Helion’s series of groundbreaking prototypes is now operational.
Previous prototypes demonstrated the breakthroughs that made possible a new path toward commercial fusion and yielded significant fusion yields with Helion’s design. This prototype will take Helion one step closer to commercial scale fusion

http://helionenergy.com/?p=440

Helion Energy wins the PNW Cleantech Open

Helion Energy is one of two winners for the Pacific Northwest Cleantech Open Competition and proceeds as a Finalist for the National Cleantech Open Global Form in San Jose.

A team with lengthy experience from Univ.of Washington and Mathematical Sciences Northwest have developed a break-through energy device, designed from the top down to be practical using well understood physics, and commercially deployable within 6 years.

http://helionenergy.com/?p=415

There seems to be some progress and it is nice to read about, but even more interesting would be to have some numbers for neutrons per pulse or values for the triple product to be able to compare the different projects on equal terms.

ogiw
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby ogiw » Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:07 pm

Any news from Helion is most welcome. However, I've lost track; is this one the IPA-HD or the Component Test Facility? Or, has a more up-to-date project plan been published that I missed?
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Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:44 am


djolds1
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby djolds1 » Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:26 am

Skipjack wrote:A more recent video about their current work (summer):
http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/11/john-slough-personally-explains-his.html#disqus_thread
That's mostly about the FDR rocket derivative, not the Fusion Engine power source.

As to the FDR, I do wonder how much advantage could be gained in going to a hybrid fusion-fission cycle and making the metal foil liners imploding the FRC plasmoid out of U238 or Thorium instead of lithium. I.e. one of Friedwardt Winterberg's usual ideas.
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D Tibbets
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby D Tibbets » Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:35 am

Uranium is very heavy. I don't know if any fission could be utilized and what it's contribution would be to the temperature of the plasma. But from an ISP, efficiency viewpoint the ISP is inversely proportional to the square root of the mass of the ejecta. ie: trituim/ helium 3 fusion products have a mass of 3, and lithium a mass of 6 or 7. Uranium or uranium fission products have a mass of ~ 100 to 238. The square roots of those numbers is ~ 2 to 2.5 versus 10- 15. This means that if uranium is used as a major component of the ejection mass, then the ISP would be ~ 6 times less. Instead of an ISP of perhaps 2400, it would be ~ 400 (at the same temperature)- not good . There might be more power- ie: more thrust and thus faster acceleration, but the total accelleration would be ~ 6 times less.

Near the bottom of the link, some of the numbers are interesting. Confinement times of ~ 100 micro seconds- or perhaps up to several milliseconds at densities of ~ 10^22 particles/ M^3 (?) are promising. But the temperature of ~ 2.3 KeV still needs to be increased perhaps 10 fold or more. The D-D fusion cross section is ~ 500 to 1000 times less than the cross section at the higher temperature. Just to exceed the Bremmstruhlung losses with D-D fusion fuel a minimum temperature of perhaps 8-9 KeV is needed. The rocket engine is not a power source . Apparently solar panels provides the power. The engine also does not appear to match the VASMIR ISP capabilities, but perhaps it provides greater thrust levels (pounds of thrust), and acceleration rates are very significant when talking about low thrust engines and travel time. As an externally powered rocket engine this may be closer to the best compromise. Note that Miley has proposed a Fusor as a rocket, better ISP than an ion (Hall effect?)rocket, perhaps a little more thrust and not much, if any weight penalty. Miley's proposal is for maneuvering thrusters on a satallite. I don't know how much more thrust this FRC or VASMIR can provide (limited by the input power from solar sails or thermal nuclear batteries, fission reactor, of ideally a fusion reactor like Bussard's concept, or a successful DPF or FRC system with net positive energy production.

Note that by my understanding, a Polywell operates at up to ~ 10 times greater density and perhaps 10 times or more confinement times as those mentioned in the link. It may also have significantly greater capacity to heat the plasma to higher temperatures, benefiting the triple product considerations, and the capacity to exceed the losses due to Bremmstruhlung. Not only is there upper limits where Bremmstruhlung losses overtake fusion rates (especially important in the P-B11 reaction), but there are also lower limits where the lower fusion cross sections trail behind the Bremmstruhlung rates. Bussard gave values of ~ 5 KeV for D-T fuel, ~ 12 KeV for D-He3 fuel, and I extrapolate ~ 8-9 KeV for D-D fuel. I suspect the minimum for P-B11 fuel is closer to 20 KeV or more. Consideration of thermalized vs non thermalized conditions complicates the situation further.

Dan Tibbets
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djolds1
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby djolds1 » Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:25 pm

D Tibbets wrote:Uranium is very heavy. I don't know if any fission could be utilized and what it's contribution would be to the temperature of the plasma.
I don't think there's much doubt some of the fission energy could be realized, the question is how much. In Winterberg's usual monomaniacal fashion this would be equivalent to the secondary and tertiary stages of the Teller-Ulam design. IIRC, most energy derived from that is the fission.

D Tibbets wrote:But from an ISP, efficiency viewpoint the ISP is inversely proportional to the square root of the mass of the ejecta. ie: trituim/ helium 3 fusion products have a mass of 3, and lithium a mass of 6 or 7. Uranium or uranium fission products have a mass of ~ 100 to 238. The square roots of those numbers is ~ 2 to 2.5 versus 10- 15. This means that if uranium is used as a major component of the ejection mass, then the ISP would be ~ 6 times less. Instead of an ISP of perhaps 2400, it would be ~ 400 (at the same temperature)- not good . There might be more power- ie: more thrust and thus faster acceleration, but the total acceleration would be ~ 6 times less.
This cites an Isp of 5140 seconds on the "standard" Slough FDR, but yes, the increased foil mass alone drops the Isp down to the solid core nuclear rocket range or so, 800-1000 seconds. Tho the additional fission energy would boost the Isp again before the increased liner "propellant" mass cut it.

D Tibbets wrote:Near the bottom of the link, some of the numbers are interesting. Confinement times of ~ 100 micro seconds- or perhaps up to several milliseconds at densities of ~ 10^22 particles/ M^3 (?) are promising. But the temperature of ~ 2.3 KeV still needs to be increased perhaps 10 fold or more. The D-D fusion cross section is ~ 500 to 1000 times less than the cross section at the higher temperature. Just to exceed the Bremmstruhlung losses with D-D fusion fuel a minimum temperature of perhaps 8-9 KeV is needed. The rocket engine is not a power source . Apparently solar panels provides the power.
Yes, tho fission reactors can as well.

D Tibbets wrote:The engine also does not appear to match the VASMIR ISP capabilities, but perhaps it provides greater thrust levels (pounds of thrust), and acceleration rates are very significant when talking about low thrust engines and travel time. As an externally powered rocket engine this may be closer to the best compromise. Note that Miley has proposed a Fusor as a rocket, better ISP than an ion (Hall effect?)rocket, perhaps a little more thrust and not much, if any weight penalty. Miley's proposal is for maneuvering thrusters on a satallite. I don't know how much more thrust this FRC or VASMIR can provide (limited by the input power from solar sails or thermal nuclear batteries, fission reactor, of ideally a fusion reactor like Bussard's concept, or a successful DPF or FRC system with net positive energy production.
The pure-IEC non-Polywell engines I've seen papers on all seem to be low-thrust and turn on future technical refinements that would make or break polywell as well - and polywell rockets in ARC or CSR modes well surpass the performance of the notional pure-IEC rockets.

D Tibbets wrote:Note that by my understanding, a Polywell operates at up to ~ 10 times greater density and perhaps 10 times or more confinement times as those mentioned in the link. It may also have significantly greater capacity to heat the plasma to higher temperatures, benefiting the triple product considerations, and the capacity to exceed the losses due to Bremmstruhlung. Not only is there upper limits where Bremmstruhlung losses overtake fusion rates (especially important in the P-B11 reaction), but there are also lower limits where the lower fusion cross sections trail behind the Bremmstruhlung rates. Bussard gave values of ~ 5 KeV for D-T fuel, ~ 12 KeV for D-He3 fuel, and I extrapolate ~ 8-9 KeV for D-D fuel. I suspect the minimum for P-B11 fuel is closer to 20 KeV or more. Consideration of thermalized vs non thermalized conditions complicates the situation further.
I was merely speculating on a possible way to quickly and cheaply bootstrap higher performance from a promising rocket engine design. Replacing lithium foils with uranium or thorium foils just isn't a difficult step given this design, and fission-fusion hybrid cycles are "well proven" shall we say. :twisted:
Vae Victis

crowberry
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby crowberry » Tue Mar 11, 2014 7:48 am

Helion Energy has been awarded another prize:
Helion Energy wins second place at the Future Energy Pitching Session at this year’s ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit
http://helionenergy.com/?p=458

http://ultralightstartups.com/future-energy/february-24-2014-arpa-e-summit-event-recap/

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:42 pm

Very cool!
Does anyone know, whether they got additional funding out of that?

mvanwink5
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby mvanwink5 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:58 pm

Looks like a BS award:
Future Energy Prizes
The top 3 startups win prizes including:
SURGE Accelerator is a seed stage accelerator focused solely on energy entrepreneurs. To become a part of the SURGE, the group runs a highly competitive application process. The top three winners of the Future Energy competition will have the opportunity to either bypass SURGE’s application and move directly to the pitch round in Houston, or have access to 1 hour of mentorship with the SURGE Team.
The Association of Cleantech Incubators of New England (ACTION) is New England’s leading network of cleantech incubators. The second and third place winners receive three free individual work and programming sessions with any incubator in the ACTION network.
The second and third place winners receive a discounted application to Cleantech Open Northeast.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Mon Jul 14, 2014 6:30 pm

Been rather quiet around Helion lately. I did notice a minor update on the Helion website in the "technology" section.
http://helionenergy.com/?page_id=199

Worth noting is the new headline:
The Fusion Engine will Enable Profitable Fusion Energy in 2019

Now this could mean a lot of things. it could mean "if we get the funding". It could mean "we have the funding and we are going forward". Also do they mean that they will have a break even demo by then, or a full scale demo reactor? The wording is very vague.

Finally, I noticed these two lines:
•Fusion energy is converted directly to electricity, eliminating capital costs

Energy Generation -Fusion plasma is converted to i) direct energy ii) fuel for further operation

Unless something has changed, the Fusion Engine is using TD fuel. How would that lend itself to direct energy conversion? Unless this is some sort of marketing talk. Has there been a new development that allows to the more efficient/direct conversion of fast neutron energy to electricity? If so, I would like to understand how that works.
Thoughts, anyone?

zapkitty
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby zapkitty » Mon Jul 14, 2014 7:14 pm

Skipjack wrote:
Energy Generation -Fusion plasma is converted to i) direct energy ii) fuel for further operation

Unless something has changed, the Fusion Engine is using TD fuel. How would that lend itself to direct energy conversion?


Various people have speculated it's MHD driven by the fusion products, and I think so as well. By giving up turbines you'd basically swap some of your potential total output per unit for the efficency and relatively low cost of direct conversion with the neutrons still doing the usual Li to T breeding.

Similar to how their Fusion Rocket is supposed to generate electricity from the engine.

But you'd need good gain in a confined space though, which leaves toks etc out of the picture...

crowberry
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby crowberry » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:17 pm

The Helion Energy Executive Summary dated Tue 01 Apr 2014 also mentions the direct energy conversion and 2019 as the target year for a pilot plant. To do that they need $35 M in new funding:

Employing a patented staged electromagnetic compressor and direct energy conversion, the Fusion Engine efficiently harnesses fusion energy employing fuel derived solely from water. This IAEA award winning and DOE validated prototype generated the required fusion energy output that allows for commercialization of economical fusion by 2019. By removing complex tritium systems and steam turbines, the Fusion Engine can be constructed faster and with reduced capital costs.


It has a picture of their fourth prototype on page three of the document at:
http://www.agrion.org/upload/fichier/Helion%20Energy%20Executive%20Summary.pdf

Has anyone seen links to Helion Energys patent? There the direct energy conversion should probably be described?

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:37 pm

crowberry wrote:The Helion Energy Executive Summary dated Tue 01 Apr 2014 also mentions the direct energy conversion and 2019 as the target year for a pilot plant. To do that they need $ 35 M in new funding:

Employing a patented staged electromagnetic compressor and direct energy conversion, the Fusion Engine efficiently harnesses fusion energy employing fuel derived solely from water. This IAEA award winning and DOE validated prototype generated the required fusion energy output that allows for commercialization of economical fusion by 2019. By removing complex tritium systems and steam turbines, the Fusion Engine can be constructed faster and with reduced capital costs.


It has a picture of their fourth prototype on page three of the document at:
http://www.agrion.org/upload/fichier/Helion%20Energy%20Executive%20Summary.pdf

Has anyone seen links to Helion Energys patent? There the direct energy conversion should probably be described?

Great find! So 2019 would actually be a pilot plant, not just a break even demonstrator. Very interesting!

They have three patents (relevant one is the first one):
http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20110293056
http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20120031070
http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20140023170

This is the section dealing with direct conversion of energy:

28. A method of direct energy conversion of any or all parts of the input energy or product fusion energy, method comprising: successively supplying electrical energy to a first series of magnets along at least a first acceleration section to accelerate a first plasmoid toward an interaction chamber; successively supplying electrical energy to a second series of magnets along at least a second acceleration section to accelerate a second plasmoid toward the interaction chamber; and recovering electrical energy from at least some of at least one of the first or the second series of magnets after the first and the second plasmoids begin interacting in the interaction chamber.

29. The method of fusion generation of claim 28 wherein recovering electrical energy from at least some of the magnets includes recovering electrical energy from at least one of the magnets of both the first and the second series of magnets.

0014] Another unique possible advantage to a quasi-steady reactor is the possibility of direct energy conversion into electricity at high efficiency. The initially large volume, relatively cool plasmoid is accelerated to high velocity and then compressed into the fusion burn chamber much like fuel into an engine cylinder, however the compression ratio attained here is vastly greater (˜400) resulting in near unity thermal efficiency. The fusion reaction greatly intensifies as peak compression is reached, and the fusion burn rapidly expands the plasmoid. This expansion is powered directly by the high energy ions magnetically trapped within the plasmoid, for example the alpha particles when tritium and deuterium are employed as fuels. With expansion driven by the fusion products, the magnetic energy is returned back into the circuit restoring the electrical energy expended in compressing the plasmoid initially. In this way energy can be directly converted to electricity avoiding the inefficient processes entailed in thermal conversion. The ability to make use of the plasma, fusion and electrical energy in a very efficient manner is unique to the concept described here, and enables the commercial application of fusion to be realized without resorting to larger scale, higher fusion gain systems. With the repetitive and efficient generation of plasmoids, brought to high temperature and density as they are injected into the interaction chamber, a compact, low-cost fusion reactor can be realized.

[0038] A method of direct energy conversion of any or all parts of the input energy or product fusion energy may be summarized as including successively supplying electrical energy to a first series of magnets along at least a first acceleration section to accelerate a first plasmoid toward an interaction section of a interaction chamber; successively supplying electrical energy to a second series of magnets along at least a second acceleration section to accelerate a second plasmoid toward the interaction chamber; and recovering electrical energy from at least some of at least one of the first or the second series of magnets after the first and the second plasmoids begin interacting in the interaction chamber. Recovering electrical energy from at least some of the magnets may include recovering electrical energy from at least one of the magnets of both the first and the second series of magnets.

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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby MSimon » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:24 pm

Skipjack wrote:Unless something has changed, the Fusion Engine is using TD fuel. How would that lend itself to direct energy conversion? Unless this is some sort of marketing talk. Has there been a new development that allows to the more efficient/direct conversion of fast neutron energy to electricity? If so, I would like to understand how that works.
Thoughts, anyone?

Fission fragments are quite amenable to direct conversion. Neutrons not so much.
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