2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

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

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crowberry
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby crowberry » Mon Feb 10, 2014 8:40 am

One way to approach this highly speculative topic without enough information is to make a guess based on physics in terms of cross section and energy production. The D-T reaction is easiest to achieve break even with and with the resources available at General Fusion it could very well be that they make significant progress this year or next year.

The second easiest reaction is D-D and there is only one dark horse planning on using it so not much choice here. In this way Sorlox would be second.

The next reaction is p-B11 and based on the publicly available information LPP claims to be ahead of TAE. EMC2 has not published anything, but LPP is planning to start p-B11 experiments this year and try for break even maybe next year, so the third candidate would be LPP.

So in this way the list would be: GF, Sorlox, LPP

Of course the complications of the confinement scheme will be as important as the physics of the reaction as well as the manpower and funding for developing the concepts, so one could devise multiple trifecta lists...

mvanwink5
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:24 pm

CB,
One critical thorn in LPP optimism is that their "onion" X-ray conversion scheme must work for their "break even" plan to work, and as far as I know nothing has been shown to make the onion believable. Next is that I have seen nothing that gives me any confidence that LPP's device will last long enough to be economical. The Tokamak has this "first wall" Achilles heel also. GF has by design the down stream issues handled as does EMC2 (which could also use T-D, or D-D), and TA, and Helion also have their down stream issues addressed. Sorlox as far as I can see has a "first wall" or livability problem with not even a start on how to solve it. LM is a complete unknown and only stands in line because of reputation (and we never hear about their project failure rate, only what works).

So, although the triple product is an excellent metric, it would seem to me it is useful only if resolution of the down stream issues are believable. Does that make sense? So I think LPP falls behind TA and Helion. Maybe LPP then falls ahead of Sorlox. Sorlox just makes it ahead of LM because LM is complete vapor at this point. Unless there is reason to think LPP downstream issues are trivial.
Best regards,
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Skipjack
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Skipjack » Mon Feb 10, 2014 2:32 pm

At this years NIAC spring conference, MSNW stated that they wont be doing any break even experiments with their fusion driven rocket as part of the NIAC Phase2 funding. Because of that, I see less chance to see break even with their Helion fusion engine as well. I might be wrong though and they might just be planning to focus their time for experiments on Helion and less ton the rocket engine.

mvanwink5
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:15 pm

they might just be planning to focus their time for experiments on Helion
Given Helion's acquisition of their new machine, from their website:
THE 4TH IN HELION’S SERIES OF GROUNDBREAKING PROTOTYPES IS NOW OPERATIONAL. 10-14-13
it would give that idea strong support. It seems to me that spheromak plasma stability during compression and acceleration is the common challenge for GF, TA, and Helion, and given GF's reported experience there are solutions to that. So, if one solves it adequately, perhaps the others won't be far behind. On the other hand GF's compression does not have to be that great in their plasma injector as compared to TA and Helion. That would give GF an edge, no?
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

zapkitty
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby zapkitty » Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:32 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:CB,
One critical thorn in LPP optimism is that their "onion" X-ray conversion scheme must work for their "break even" plan to work, and as far as I know nothing has been shown to make the onion believable.


?

As the photoelectric effect is a known quantity what makes you think the onion is not believable?

mvanwink5 wrote:Next is that I have seen nothing that gives me any confidence that LPP's device will last long enough to be economical.


?

You mention "first wall" issues with other concepts but nothing specific to a focus fusion device. In an FF device the pulsed mode of operation, the fusion events measured in microseconds, the x-ray transparency of the core electrodes and the aneutronic nature of the process would seem to give it a definite leg up over most of the competition as far as "first wall" issues are concerned.

And as an aside I thought the goal for this particular horserace was to reach breakeven?

mvanwink5 wrote:So, although the triple product is an excellent metric, it would seem to me it is useful only if resolution of the down stream issues are believable.


That seems to be rather indeterminate and subject to... a lot of subjectiveness :)

mvanwink5 wrote:Unless there is reason to think LPP downstream issues are trivial.


"Trivial" would seem to be an odd phrase to use in connection with any fusion energy project.

The issues remaining after FF scientific feasibility is demonstrated are considered at this time to be engineering issues. The LPP projected timeline allows for several million dollars to be spent over 5 years to bring up a prototype power generator.

But in reality if LPP demonstrates scientific feasibility then there will be a hell of a lot more resources than that allocated to the idea.

Skipjack
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Skipjack » Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:47 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:
they might just be planning to focus their time for experiments on Helion
Given Helion's acquisition of their new machine, from their website:
THE 4TH IN HELION’S SERIES OF GROUNDBREAKING PROTOTYPES IS NOW OPERATIONAL. 10-14-13
it would give that idea strong support. It seems to me that spheromak plasma stability during compression and acceleration is the common challenge for GF, TA, and Helion, and given GF's reported experience there are solutions to that. So, if one solves it adequately, perhaps the others won't be far behind. On the other hand GF's compression does not have to be that great in their plasma injector as compared to TA and Helion. That would give GF an edge, no?

I think Sorlox also has the same challenge. I saw that about Helions new prototype (which is why I speculated that they might refocus on Helion). I think that Helion and TA are different in the sense that their devices are both smaller and mechanically a lot simpler than GFs. That can make a difference in the race. I have a bit of a soft spot for the guys at MSNW. So I hope to see them make some good progress this year and maybe win the race.

mvanwink5
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:08 pm

zapkitty,
Maybe the onion will work, but as far as I know it has not been built and tested for conversion efficiency to electricity. So, to me it seems a leap to say that it will work with high enough efficiency to allow the LPP device to "break even." LPP's device is subject to erosion. The issue is how many shots will it last before it has to be replaced, and the device is extremely sensitive to small variations that will arise from erosion. Look, these are just my own thoughts which I will readily abandon if a good argument is put forth. If you still deny these are real issues that would be good news to me. Anything that works is all good in my eyes. :D
Best regards

Skipjack, I thought that was why you thought that Helion may be focusing on their fusion to energy project, but had to go check what the device was (4th gen). GF full scale mechanics have been proven (pistons full size, sphere at 1/3 size) including the reliability and durability. The plasma injector is the hold up and they are closing in on that.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Skipjack
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Skipjack » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:24 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:GF full scale mechanics have been proven (pistons full size, sphere at 1/3 size) including the reliability and durability. The plasma injector is the hold up and they are closing in on that.

One problem with large devices is that it takes a lot longer to build (and modify them if needed). That also drives up cost. This is why I think that the smaller and mechanically simpler devices still have a shot at being first. It is definitely a cool and interesting race to watch. I hope we will see a lot of movement this year, but wont hold my breath for significant news until fall.

mvanwink5
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:30 pm

I have dim hopes of GF saying something during their March TED presentation. It would be great publicity.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Skipjack
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Skipjack » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:47 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:I have dim hopes of GF saying something during their March TED presentation. It would be great publicity.

Well, it does not give them a whole lot of time since FPA last December...

mvanwink5
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:08 pm

FPA presentation was made September 2013, and the results looked like they were June 2013 results. Moreover, from the Clean Break September article:
Richardson: 
We’ve struggled with getting the confinement and we’re probably at half of what we need. So we’re working on that….

"Half" is as close as it gets for fusion projects these days where orders of magnitude away brings optimism. How many orders of magnitude is LPP away? :D
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Skipjack
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Skipjack » Mon Feb 10, 2014 7:08 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:FPA presentation was made September 2013, and the results looked like they were June 2013 results. Moreover, from the Clean Break September article:
Richardson: 
We’ve struggled with getting the confinement and we’re probably at half of what we need. So we’re working on that….

"Half" is as close as it gets for fusion projects these days where orders of magnitude away brings optimism. How many orders of magnitude is LPP away? :D

Uhm, it is not just confinement times, but also density and energy that matter.

ladajo
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby ladajo » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:22 pm

Personally, I am not so sure the fat lady is going to sing for any of the contenders this year.

I think we will see some solid progress. And odds are someone is going to have to change their approach.
I am also thinking that LPP will run in to materials problems and could well scrap or suffer significant delay.
They are asking an awful lot of the electrode configuration and content.

Now if they only had some unobtanium to make the electrode out of...
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: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:41 pm

Skipjack, confinement time is not their issue and hasn't been for quite some time, compression (or one might also say confinement) is the issue and what they have been working on and where their breakthrough almost a year ago was about, but that is just how I see it. I just can't see Richardson addressing anything but the one thing they are working on, stable compression.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Skipjack
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Skipjack » Mon Feb 10, 2014 9:45 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:Skipjack, confinement time is not their issue and hasn't been for quite some time, compression (or one might also say confinement) is the issue and what they have been working on and where their breakthrough almost a year ago was about, but that is just how I see it. I just can't see Richardson addressing anything but the one thing they are working on, stable compression.

Ok, so plasma density, is what you are referring to?


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