More Helion Energy news....

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

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Bumblebee
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Bumblebee » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:18 pm

Not sure I have this right but Helion may have just got $1.5 million boost.

http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/ ... ry_doc.xml

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:32 pm

Looks like that turned into two million:
http://nextbigfuture.com/2014/08/nextbi ... .html#more

Helion Energy has raised $2 million from Peter Thiel and Y Combinator


Congrats to Helion!

djolds1
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby djolds1 » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:44 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:
djolds1 wrote:General Atomics
I think you meant "General Fusion."
Si.

Skipjack wrote:
djolds1 wrote:No, I was thinking of the lifting body diagram in this:

http://nextbigfuture.com/2010/03/george ... clear.html
This is not based on a FRC reactor, but a DPF, like LPPs design.
True. Tho the massive FRC design you referenced wouldn't really work for an SSTO design, would it? And certainly not the "...light booster engines for orbital injection..." that was tickling the back of my mind.

Skipjack wrote:
djolds1 wrote:I know the Helion Fusion Engine is the powerplant version of the Slough Fusion-Driven Rocket.
No, they are very different designs. The Fusion Driven Rocket uses an imploding metal liner that compresses a single FRC plasmoid. The Helion reactor collides two FRC plasmoids and compresses them using high speed magnetic compression only.
Agree to disagree, perhaps? :) I tend to think in very generalist terms, and there is a... stylistic similarity... between the two Slough designs (implosion compression of FRC plasmoids).

Skipjack wrote:
djolds1 wrote:But an FDR isn't going to achieve the difficult Earth-to-Orbit part of "halfway to anywhere."
Yes, that is unfortunately true. The DPF or the Polywell seem to be the only ones that could take a spacecraft to orbit, provided they work as advertised.
And the Polywell scale output does allow for more "muscular" designs. I'd bet the DPF design maxes at 25 tonnes cargo to LEO; Heavy chemical booster range, tho the DPF design would doubtless manages a much higher average Isp. QED by contrast can probably manage 75-150 tonnes cargo to LEO before the booster designs become ludicrously large.

MSimon wrote:
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)
So you think the same would apply to the Helion Fusion Engine? Just a matter then of finding the sweet spot between increased dimensions and increased magnetic field strength.

Should probably get the baseline prototype to spec first, of course. :twisted:
Vae Victis

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:22 pm

djolds1 wrote:True. Tho the massive FRC design you referenced wouldn't really work for an SSTO design, would it? And certainly not the "...light booster engines for orbital injection..." that was tickling the back of my mind.

I wished, but no :( Not even the Fusion Driven Rocket design would be suitable for earth to LEO propulsion. So far it looks like we are stuck with chemicals for that.

djolds1 wrote:Agree to disagree, perhaps? :) I tend to think in very generalist terms, and there is a... stylistic similarity... between the two Slough designs (implosion compression of FRC plasmoids).

Mmmmm, David Kirtley was quite adamant about the differences between them. They both are made for very specific uses. There is a design for an FRC base engine (also burning He3 and D) that would have a pretty good T/W ratio. It is developed by Princeton Plasma Physics Lab.

djolds1 wrote:And the Polywell scale output does allow for more "muscular" designs. I'd bet the DPF design maxes at 25 tonnes cargo to LEO; Heavy chemical booster range, tho the DPF design would doubtless manages a much higher average Isp.

We will see about Polywell or DPF. They sure sound good on paper.


djolds1 wrote:
MSimon wrote:
Skipjack wrote: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)
So you think the same would apply to the Helion Fusion Engine? Just a matter then of finding the sweet spot between increased dimensions and increased magnetic field strength.

I am not sure how well the Helion reactor scales. I have to ask David. It is one of the questions that Brian should have asked on NBF.

nextbigfuture
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby nextbigfuture » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:00 pm

I recall the answer being that the 50 Megawatt size was optimal for the first generation.
The right size (shipping container) and a good modular size.

I think it also happens to be in the sweet spot for their design.

There is some about how it could be improved for future generations of the system but the preference was that if they could make it smaller they would

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:25 am

I just had a great conversation with David Kirtley and I am working on summarizing everything I have learned (which is a ton). I will post that once I have put everything together and in order.
I just want to let all you plasma physics guys here know that Helion and MSNW will be hiring new people soon. So if you are skilled in the field are interested in working with some of the coolest guys in the field, maybe it is a good idea to send in your resume.
I wished I was a nuclear physicist. I certainly would love to work there!
Anyway, from what I learned, they are the probably the team that is closest to break even (other than JET) and they can do advanced fuels (Deuterium and Deuterium plus Helium3).
More later.

mvanwink5
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby mvanwink5 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:48 am

Super news! Thanks SJ, looking forward to your conversation summary.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

ladajo
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby ladajo » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:04 pm

they are the probably the team that is closest to break even


I think most everyone claims that for their own project...
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)
What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:19 pm

ladajo wrote:
they are the probably the team that is closest to break even


I think most everyone claims that for their own project...

No, that is my opinion, based on what I have learned.

ladajo
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby ladajo » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:23 pm

My statement was half toungue in cheek.

Lighten up Francis.

I don't know how close they actually are. But I do have an idea how close others are.
I think the next 3 to 5 years is going to be really interesting.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

mvanwink5
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby mvanwink5 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:32 pm

2014 is indeed turning out to be a hot year for fusion dark horses, for whatever reasons. The trigger I am looking for is the big funding steps needed, and I am hoping 2014 will have one or possibly more take place. Still looking for SJ's summary.
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 » Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:37 pm

ladajo wrote:My statement was half toungue in cheek.

Lighten up Francis.

I am rather tired and slow this morning. Humor totally escapes me until I have had my first and only shot of caffeine for the day :)

ladajo wrote:I don't know how close they actually are. But I do have an idea how close others are.
I think the next 3 to 5 years is going to be really interesting.

I think so too! Seems like things are finally moving at a pace that is fun and exciting! Lets hope things keep the momentum and don't slow down again. The team at Helion still needs a lot of money for their break even reactor.

D Tibbets
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby D Tibbets » Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:49 pm

My uncertain impression is that FRC and DPF approaches scale in a bell curve fashion. There is a Goldilocks region where things optimistically work best. My impression is that this is in the range of a few MW to a few dozen MW fusion output. Also, optimistic Qs of less than 10 may be the best they can do.while this may be be useful in many applications including space propulsion, the power available is far short of what would be needed for boosting from Earth's surface, unless a forest of them could be assembled without too much weight penalty (even then the incremental thrust would probably be less than the weight of each reactor).

The Polywell, and Tokamak may have a more linear gain potential -up to limits of Q of ~ 20 for P-B11 in the Polywell, up to 100 for D-D in a Polywell, and above this for Polywell and Tokamaks and General Fusion(?) for D-T. I'm not sure where D-He3 would lie on this map. Available power may grow into the Gigawatts or even the tens of GWs. The Tokamak is just too big though, and this may leave only the Polywell as a potential power source for a booster rocket. Bussard explored this possibility in several papers. I suspect General Fusion's approach would also have too much weight(even in a moderate sized machine that tub of lead has to weigh alot). The dependance of the Tokamak, and General Fusion (?) on only D-T fuel without the potential for direct conversion and / or hot fusion product exhaust - perhaps diluted with inert mass (like hydrogen) to gain the necessary thrust, leaves only the Polywell or perhaps an advanced fission rocket in the game (again a field that Bussard was involved with in the 1960s).

Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby Skipjack » Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:59 am

So, while I am writing up my summary of the interview (that was a long conversation there, thanks so much to Dave for his time!), I will just jump in here to say that according to Dave, their reactors do scale very well. The 50 MWe was chosen for a first generation power plant for economic and practical reasons. It is much easier to deploy a more compact 50 MW reactor than a much larger reactor with multiple GW of power.

AcesHigh
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Postby AcesHigh » Sun Aug 17, 2014 3:29 pm

A question, maybe more about markets than fusion itself... what do you guys think will happen to investments in other fusion projects the moment the first one breaks even? Will other projects get more funding, the moment someone proves fusion is achievable and economically viable? Or will investors give up on risking in other methods and only put money on projects similar to the one that worked, with minor tech differences?


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