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 » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:59 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:That article is from April 2013. Nice article though.
The more earthly Fusion Engine has received about $7 million in funds from DOE, the Department of Defense and NASA. The company hopes to raise another $2 million by next year, $35 million in 2015-17, and $200 million for its pilot plant stage.
so, it does not give any insight into the $35 million series B funding.

I assume the 28 M length is a typo, 28 ft?

No, it is 28 meters. I have seen a 25 meters number previously and that is close enough. Interestingly, it seems to be longer than Tri Alphas proposed aneutronic reactor (which would otherwise be similar in the way it functions, from what I understand), from what we know about TAEs reactor anyway. My guess is that the increase in length is because of the switch to a DD rich operation, which I guess needs a bit more "oomph". I might be wrong though. In return they lose the need for a steam cycle and associated equipment. You gain some, you lose some...

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:55 pm

Helion has updated their website. Lots of interesting new information there!
http://www.helionenergy.com/

Like I suspected from info released previously, they have now switched to a Tritium suppressed and He3 boosted DD fusion cycle, which is extremely exciting!
Go check it out!

crowberry
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby crowberry » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:03 pm

Yes, they have a new website design, presumably to attract more funding. The most interesting part is this diagram:
Image
It is a bit sparse on details though. Maybe they plan to run first on D-D and then collect the T and He3 for later injection into the reactor? They claim Q=8 for the reactor with an estimated price of electricity of less than $0.04/kWhr.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:11 pm

There is a MIT paper about Tritium suppressed fusion here (is in context of a levitating dipole, so not everything is applicable:
http://aries.ucsd.edu/FESAC_MAT/Docs/11 ... ession.pdf

When the removed tritons are permanently stored and later re-injected as 3He, the
plasma Lawson confinement parameter (nτE) needed for high gain is ten times larger than
needed for D-T/Li fusion. (See Figure 1.) The plasma temperature must be twice as high
(T ~ 40 keV). With full 3He recycling, 94.4% of the energy released from tritiumsuppressed
D-D fusion consists of charged particles (two 4He and three protons), and the
energy from these particles sustain the fusion burn. Only 5.6% of fusion energy is
released in the form of 2.45 MeV neutrons.
Tritium-suppressed D-D fusion with recycled 3He requires significant tritium
storage to provide recycled 3He fuel. One GW-year (total released fusion energy)
consumes 90 kg of deuterium, 22 kG of 3He produced by fusion within the plasma, and
22 kg of 3He produced from tritium’s radioactive decay. With a half-life of 12.3 years,
410 kg of tritium must be safely and permanently stored for each GW-year of tritiumsuppressed
D-D fusion. (In contrast, one GW-year of D-T/Li fusion energy consumes 56
kG of tritium, and the on-site tritium inventory will be less than the storage requirements
for tritium-suppressed D-D fusion. However, tritons must be continuously accessible and
cannot be permanently stored for a D-T/Li fusion reactor.) For both D-T/Li and tritiumsuppressed
D-D fusion power, international control of tritium, including monitoring at
gram-levels, will be required to prevent proliferation

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:15 pm

I am quite positively surprised by their switch to DD/He3 from DT. To me that indicates that their latest research has caused them to be more optimistic about the performance of their future reactors.
That is good news.

mvanwink5
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:19 pm

Truck sized engine is a bit smaller than 28 meters. So, it would look like they are more optimistic... good news indeed. The race is heating up!
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 Aug 11, 2014 10:10 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:Truck sized engine is a bit smaller than 28 meters. So, it would look like they are more optimistic... good news indeed. The race is heating up!

There are pretty long trucks. The first stage for the Falcon 9 rocket is also transported by truck and it is longer than that.

djolds1
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby djolds1 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:58 pm

Skipjack wrote:Helion has updated their website. Lots of interesting new information there!
http://www.helionenergy.com/

Like I suspected from info released previously, they have now switched to a Tritium suppressed and He3 boosted DD fusion cycle, which is extremely exciting!
Go check it out!
Justification for Musk Lunar Fuel Harvesting Ltd.

We now have a reason to get into space en masse - fuel.

How hard would it be to scale up a Helion Fusion Engine to the same Gigawatts-thermal output as Bussard guesstimated for his Polywells in the Askmar QED Rocket papers? 8GW-th, IIRC for QED/ARC and QED/CSR-A, which should be sufficient to get to Jupiter and maybe Saturn. Bussard guesstimated his polywell system mass at 10 tonnes or so for that output, ISTR.
Vae Victis

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:30 pm

Well, they will produce their own Helium3 from fusing Deuterium. D+D produces Helium3 in one branch and Tritium, which also decays into Helium3, in a second branch.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:41 pm

djolds1 wrote:How hard would it be to scale up a Helion Fusion Engine to the same Gigawatts-thermal output as Bussard guesstimated for his Polywells in the Askmar QED Rocket papers? 8GW-th, IIRC for QED/ARC and QED/CSR-A, which should be sufficient to get to Jupiter and maybe Saturn. Bussard guesstimated his polywell system mass at 10 tonnes or so for that output, ISTR.

There are some NASA studies on using FRC based engines for in space propulsion. These things would be pretty big. Not sure how well Helion's reactor would scale to these large sizes, though. They always only mention smaller reactors (which is perfectly fine for power production and that might be the only reason they prefer to stay small).
I think that the Fusion Driven rocket, developed by some of the same people (David Kirtley, John Slough) at MSNW LLC might be better suited for in space propulsion than the reactor design.
Either way, I am even more excited about Helion's design these days than I have been in the past. From what I understand, there will be more announcements from them soon. I am sure we will see some papers released very soon as well. They are definitely gearing up for some big news.

MSimon
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby MSimon » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:45 pm

Skipjack wrote:
djolds1 wrote:How hard would it be to scale up a Helion Fusion Engine to the same Gigawatts-thermal output as Bussard guesstimated for his Polywells in the Askmar QED Rocket papers? 8GW-th, IIRC for QED/ARC and QED/CSR-A, which should be sufficient to get to Jupiter and maybe Saturn. Bussard guesstimated his polywell system mass at 10 tonnes or so for that output, ISTR.

There are some NASA studies on using FRC based engines for in space propulsion. These things would be pretty big. Not sure how well Helion's reactor would scale to these large sizes, though. They always only mention smaller reactors (which is perfectly fine for power production and that might be the only reason they prefer to stay small).
I think that the Fusion Driven rocket, developed by some of the same people (David Kirtley, John Slough) at MSNW LLC might be better suited for in space propulsion than the reactor design.
Either way, I am even more excited about Helion's design these days than I have been in the past. From what I understand, there will be more announcements from them soon. I am sure we will see some papers released very soon as well. They are definitely gearing up for some big news.


I did some BOE a while back and came to the conclusion that the smaller you could make the device with a given number of amp-turns the more power you got out. Half the linear size = 2X the power. That was for Polywell. It is probably also true for this device. And of course volume goes down by a factor of 8. Making the power density go up by a factor of 16. (x^4)
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

djolds1
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby djolds1 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:47 pm

Skipjack wrote:I am quite positively surprised by their switch to DD/He3 from DT. To me that indicates that their latest research has caused them to be more optimistic about the performance of their future reactors.
That is good news.
Note the quote about "The Helion" now on their "Technology" page.

They put their target fuel cycle in the name of their company as a dare for anyone to see. :twisted:

And we all missed it. :roll:

I'd bet good money the mentions of DT were "lets-be-conservative in the press releases" caution until they managed to crack the problems of DD/DHe3.

Not as ambitious as the Polywell/Focus Fusion pB11 cycle, but not as unimaginative as the ITER-ites either. The Goldilocks zone - "just right."

What's encouraging is how so many variants now seem to be approaching maturation almost simultaneously - like the golden age of internal combustion engine development in the last quarter of the 19th century. That's very much what you should expect to see with the logistic s-curve of development. A large number of "phyla" pay out at the initial inflection point, and 1 or 2 more (such as the wankel cycle and jet turbines) pay out as the second inflection point turns the s-curve over to diminishing returns some decades later.

Much like with ICE - a variant for every need, instead of needing to scale tokamaks alone up and down an infinite range of sizes as scifi assumed 1965-2005.

Skipjack wrote:
djolds1 wrote:How hard would it be to scale up a Helion Fusion Engine to the same Gigawatts-thermal output as Bussard guesstimated for his Polywells in the Askmar QED Rocket papers? 8GW-th, IIRC for QED/ARC and QED/CSR-A, which should be sufficient to get to Jupiter and maybe Saturn. Bussard guesstimated his polywell system mass at 10 tonnes or so for that output, ISTR.
There are some NASA studies on using FRC based engines for in space propulsion. These things would be pretty big. Not sure how well Helion's reactor would scale to these large sizes, though. They always only mention smaller reactors (which is perfectly fine for power production and that might be the only reason they prefer to stay small).
I think that the Fusion Driven rocket, developed by some of the same people (David Kirtley, John Slough) at MSNW LLC might be better suited for in space propulsion than the reactor design.

Either way, I am even more excited about Helion's design these days than I have been in the past. From what I understand, there will be more announcements from them soon. I am sure we will see some papers released very soon as well. They are definitely gearing up for some big news.
I've seen those. They look to be light booster engines for orbital injection, not the SSTA Earth to Mars Bussard was envisioning as possible (tho difficult) with QED/ARC. Still, if it works at significantly greater efficiency than the legacy chem systems we've been using for 60 years, WGAS?
Vae Victis

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:18 pm

djolds1 wrote:Note the quote about "The Helion" now on their "Technology" page.

They put their target fuel cycle in the name of their company as a dare for anyone to see. :twisted:

And we all missed it. :roll:

Hahaha, I know! I feel rather stupid now too. At least I called the tritium suppressed and helium catalyzed deuterium fusion process, though pretty late.

djolds1 wrote:I'd bet good money the mentions of DT were "lets-be-conservative in the press releases" caution until they managed to crack the problems of DD/DHe3.

And caution is a good thing. DT would have been just fine, IMHO, at least for the first reactors. It is fine for ITER after all and that would suffer worse from the neutrons.
Either way, this is even better and I love "better" :)

djolds1 wrote:What's encouraging is how so many variants now seem to be approaching maturation almost simultaneously - like the golden age of internal combustion engine development in the last quarter of the 19th century. That's very much what you should expect to see with the logistic s-curve of development. A large number of "phyla" pay out at the initial inflection point, and 1 or 2 more (such as the wankel cycle and jet turbines) pay out as the second inflection point turns the s-curve over to diminishing returns some decades later.

Yes, very encouraging, indeed. What thrills me about Helion is that they actually upped their predictions with the D+D/He3 approach. I have not seen anyone else do that yet.


Skipjack wrote:I've seen those. They look to be light booster engines for orbital injection, not the SSTA Earth to Mars Bussard was envisioning as possible (tho difficult) with QED/ARC. Still, if it works at significantly greater efficiency than the legacy chem systems we've been using for 60 years, WGAS?

You must be talking about the ELF and the Electro Magnetic Plasmoid thruster. They (MSNW) are also working on something called the "Fusion Driven Rocket", which uses a different principle (liner compression). That one could do Mars in 90 days, or even as little as 30 days. MSNW got NASA funding for that.
https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/pnwm ... -final.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHSOmOu61b0
To clarify: Helion is exclusively working on the fusion reactor. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two, because many of the same people are involved with both and there is a technology transfer from MSNW to Helion.

djolds1
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby djolds1 » Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:59 pm

Skipjack wrote:
djolds1 wrote:I'd bet good money the mentions of DT were "lets-be-conservative in the press releases" caution until they managed to crack the problems of DD/DHe3.
And caution is a good thing. DT would have been just fine, IMHO, at least for the first reactors. It is fine for ITER after all and that would suffer worse from the neutrons.

Either way, this is even better and I love "better" :)
Agreed. :D

Skipjack wrote:
djolds1 wrote:What's encouraging is how so many variants now seem to be approaching maturation almost simultaneously - like the golden age of internal combustion engine development in the last quarter of the 19th century. That's very much what you should expect to see with the logistic s-curve of development. A large number of "phyla" pay out at the initial inflection point, and 1 or 2 more (such as the wankel cycle and jet turbines) pay out as the second inflection point turns the s-curve over to diminishing returns some decades later.
Yes, very encouraging, indeed. What thrills me about Helion is that they actually upped their predictions with the D+D/He3 approach. I have not seen anyone else do that yet.
Lawrenceville Plasma Physics and EMC2 have both claimed the pB11 cycle, but EMC2 has been dark for years and Lawrenceville is aiming at a 5-10 megawatt reactor IIRC. Nice and small for the local city-block power plant, but probably not in the 100-10,000 MW range for "muscular" applications.

Still, the players who look good for near-term pay-off:

Tri-Alpha
Helion
Lockheed Martin
Lawrenceville
General Atomics
EMC2

Each of which is running with their own distinct design. That is an... EXTRAORDINARY range of promising near-term candidates. Especially compared to the DoE's "magnetic, inertial or nothing!" dictum of the last 40 years.

Skipjack wrote:
djolds1 wrote:I've seen those. They look to be light booster engines for orbital injection, not the SSTA Earth to Mars Bussard was envisioning as possible (tho difficult) with QED/ARC. Still, if it works at significantly greater efficiency than the legacy chem systems we've been using for 60 years, WGAS?
You must be talking about the ELF and the Electro Magnetic Plasmoid thruster. They (MSNW) are also working on something called the "Fusion Driven Rocket", which uses a different principle (liner compression). That one could do Mars in 90 days, or even as little as 30 days. MSNW got NASA funding for that.
https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/pnwm ... -final.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHSOmOu61b0

To clarify: Helion is exclusively working on the fusion reactor. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two, because many of the same people are involved with both and there is a technology transfer from MSNW to Helion.
No, I was thinking of the lifting body diagram in this:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/03/george ... clear.html

I know the Helion Fusion Engine is the powerplant version of the Slough Fusion-Driven Rocket. But an FDR isn't going to achieve the difficult Earth-to-Orbit part of "halfway to anywhere."
Vae Victis

Ivy Matt
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Ivy Matt » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:25 pm

djolds1 wrote:They put their target fuel cycle in the name of their company as a dare for anyone to see. :twisted:

And we all missed it. :roll:

Perhaps. Or maybe it was just serendipity that they chose the Greek word for the Sun god (or one declension thereof) for their fusion company's name, and then later found out that they had a shot at burning D+3He. I remember John Slough being pretty scornful of advanced fuels in one of his presentations, although I don't recall if D+3He was specifically included in that scorn.

EDIT: or should I call this D+D-T+3He?
Temperature, density, confinement time: pick any two.


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