2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

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

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mvanwink5
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:23 pm

Also we missed Muon catalyzed fusion. Here is the company website linked at NBF's article:
http://www.starscientific.com.au
I've no idea how to rate their effort. Perhaps others here are familiar with their "breakthrough" and what that means for their chance of success.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

D Tibbets
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby D Tibbets » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:36 am

This has been mentioned here before.
The website linked above has very little information. This link has more, and note it seems to have been updated from the previous information.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muon-catalyzed_fusion

There are several problems. First is making the muons without expending too much energy, and to produce them in such quantities that useful amounts of fusion can occur. A microwatt of fusion energy would not be worth much, except possibly as a modest neutron source. To break even more than ~ 300-500 DT fusions have to take place for each Muon lifetime. D-D catalyzed fusions would have to be even greater, due to the lower energy output. Add to that the probability of fusion being ~ 10 times less frequent. As with any DT fusion, you first have t make tritium. That can be done by using the neutron from prevous nuclear reactions. As in Tokamaks, this is done by capturing the neutron in lithium.This has to be 100 percent efficient and is difficult to achieve. In the Tokamak D-T reaction this is theoretically doable, but has not been demonstrated.

The Muon lasts a short period of time, but still it catalyzes fusion so fast that thousands of fusions or even about 1 million fusions can occur. But this does not account for transit times as the Muon moves from one one molecule to the next. This takes up most of the time and limits the number of catalyzed reactions to about 1000. This is energetically favorable, provided you do not spend too much energy making the Muons, at least for D-T catalyzed fusion.

Then there is that pesky alpha muon capture which limits the muon availability for a few hundred events at most. Until this probability based on straight forward physics can be circumvented, the picture is bleak.

Also, a situation not emphasized is that the process has to occur in a cold dense environment. The hydrogen isotopes have to be in a liquid or solid state. A gas w2ould not work. This is because (I assume) because the transit time from one molecule to another has to be so short or you are losing fusion chances before the muon decays. The gas molecules are just to far apart. This also, limits how much fusion you can have occuring befor the cryogenic hydrogen heats up. The neutrons may mostly escape without much heating of the SMALL chunk of frozen hydrogen, but the produced alphas and protons would not. If the fusion yeild was a feeble nanowatt or possibly a microwatt in the lab, you might be able to keep the hydrogen cooled, but any more significant alpha or energetic proton or energetic tritium heating would be intolorable. The better it works, the more unlikely you can sustain it.

Perhaps using some superdense gas could work. All you need is pressures like in the core of Jupiter.

Note that muons would not work in a plasma or even in a gas where the electrons would likely spend their time in more energetic orbitals, as this moves the muon out from the nucleus. In the case of a fully ionized plasma, the muons are not orbiting at all (very rarely) so you would not have this Coulomb shielding. This prevents you from getting additional fusion crossection gains that are typical at these temperatures. Or rather you would, but the muon catalyzing effects would be non existent, and the mouns would not serve any purpose.

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

Ivy Matt
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Ivy Matt » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:54 am

Star Scientific chairman Andrew Horvath has a blog in which he talks about how great it would be if we had fusion power and comments on various happenings in science and energy. His latest post was on November 22, 2013. The Star Scientific website has a 2011 copyright notice. I suspect they want to give the impression of having achieved something, or of being close to achieving it, without actually making any specific claims they could be held to.
Temperature, density, confinement time: pick any two.

mvanwink5
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:08 am

Thanks D Tibbets, Ivy Matt, so in my book I will put it at dimmer than Dark Fusion. And yes, the web site did seem a bit on the cotton candy scale.

I wonder if there is a garage door activity sighting or parking lot car count for EMC2? After July, a no news result will be really bad as the FPDS report has 4-30-14 as the completion date.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Asterix
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Asterix » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:28 am

I've been following Star Scientific for a couple of years now. It's my impression that they have received a certain amount of investment capital.

In past website news, they seem to have been particularly proud of their CNC turret lathe and have shown various bits of experimental equipment under construction, but since they never really address how they were going to overcome the practical physical issues, it seemed as if they're just putting on a show.

They claim to have an educational foundation, which can often signal a scam operation. If they really did have something tangible, they wouldn't have time for a foundation, it seems to me.

mvanwink5
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:21 pm

Ok, for fusion veterans and those not given to wild optimistic dreams of fusion breakthroughs, it looks like **if** 2014 has a good news announcement it will be late 2014 or 2015.

* Hat tip to Skipjack for championing Helion's prospects, but we will have to wait for the good news he feels is just now coming. Published research is important to attract the cash needed to advance a particular project, top researchers, and of course a winning approach, but a business team is critical to take a company to the $10^8 to $10^9 finance level. Until Helion makes the move to put a business team together I can't see the needed cash in their future. Maybe that will happen once the research is published.

* EMC2 made a splash with their mini-WB research results, but they have lost Navy funding and have not to my knowledge (so what? :) I am certainly not in the loop!) secured a sugar daddy to replace the Naval Scrooge they had. EMC2 hasn't even lit up WB-8 with adequate electron guns due to typical project shoestring underfunding. So, EMC2 doesn't even have teenage pimples yet. "Sir, can I have a little more?" is where they are it seems, a real shame. It is what they get for not being able to dance with the evil VC's for money. Will LockMart see opportunity knocking??? So, the best I hope for here is a new cash source.

* Tri-Alpha seems like it is still in progress... Fusion is just hard, tough, expensive work. Who knows what their progress is or time line? One line says all I can say.

* LPP is beating their chest claiming major, best of the dark horses progress, but when they ask for cash... they can't even make it to $10^6 magnitude. There is a reality disconnect that is confusing me and casting serious doubt on their concept. What am I missing on the LPP narrative that the cash-men see, or don't see?

* Last but not least on my dark horse reality TV list is GF. First class business team, research team, finances, concept, progress, a winning narrative across the board. GF still has in my limited field of knowledge the best 2014 chance of announcing the golden fleece, Grail cup, go ahead for full scale prototype build.

Cash on the barrel will decide which contestant wins the first round, but ultimately a commercial, real world, fusion engine is the final decision maker.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Betruger
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Betruger » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:17 pm

mvanwink5 wrote: the good news he feels is just now coming

It looks like the source for this is someone associated with the project posting at NSF:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index. ... msg1242122
We will be releasing more Helion-related information over the next two weeks, stay tuned. However, I can add some input. MSNW is/has been supported to do several Deuterium fusion experiments from the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Science. These programs were only somewhat related to propulsion. NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts has been supporting all of the work on the Fusion Driven Rocket which uses inductive metal liners to generate very high fields (over 100 Tesla) for space-based fusion for propulsion. To date, no funding yet from ARPA-E!
His only post, atm.
You can do anything you want with laws except make Americans obey them. | What I want to do is to look up S. . . . I call him the Schadenfreudean Man.

Skipjack
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Skipjack » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:24 pm

Betruger wrote:
mvanwink5 wrote: the good news he feels is just now coming

It looks like the source for this is someone associated with the project posting at NSF:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index. ... msg1242122
We will be releasing more Helion-related information over the next two weeks, stay tuned. However, I can add some input. MSNW is/has been supported to do several Deuterium fusion experiments from the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Science. These programs were only somewhat related to propulsion. NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts has been supporting all of the work on the Fusion Driven Rocket which uses inductive metal liners to generate very high fields (over 100 Tesla) for space-based fusion for propulsion. To date, no funding yet from ARPA-E!
His only post, atm.

Yes that would be David Kirtley, CEO of Helion and propulsion research scientist at MSNW LLC. As I said, I think we will hear more good news soon. They are obviously gearing up to something. Now, I don't expect a break even experiment quiet yet, but I would love to be wrong with that. I just think that they have now all the pieces of the puzzle together and all the IP secured so that they can go and approach investors that will allow them to move on to the next stage.

Betruger
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Betruger » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:28 pm

Such a coincidence - so many of these alternative fusion projects all sounding off at once. Maybe funding really is that competitive...
You can do anything you want with laws except make Americans obey them. | What I want to do is to look up S. . . . I call him the Schadenfreudean Man.

Skipjack
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Skipjack » Wed Aug 13, 2014 6:50 pm

Betruger wrote:Such a coincidence - so many of these alternative fusion projects all sounding off at once. Maybe funding really is that competitive...

Well, many of these publish results of their research, even TAE does to some extent. Combine that with faster computers that allow more precise and complex modeling to be done without building hardware, better software algorithms developed for ITER and you get a critical mass of understanding for plasma physics that had to result in a surge of new ideas and thus startups in search of funding.

D Tibbets
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby D Tibbets » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:00 pm

100 Tesla? That is a technical hurdle to dismay many. Even 10 Tesla in a Polywell is a challenging target. Even the very best magnetic field generators are only reaching ~ 30 Teslas in small volumes, and this is in environments where there is no heat from fusion, bremsstruhlung, etc.to deal with. The "forgiving" variable may be pulsed versus steady state field requirements...

Note that ITER is going to use ~ 13 Tesla(?) fields, but the huge size of the machine eliminates any consideration for any portable application, or profitable application for that matter (a debate topic in its own right).

Dan Tibbets
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Skipjack
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Skipjack » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:26 pm

D Tibbets wrote:100 Tesla? That is a technical hurdle to dismay many.

This is the value for the fusion driven rocket developed by MSNW (which is a completely different principle from the Helion reactor!!!),which uses magnetically driven foil liner compression. The Lithium liner creates its own magnetic field as is compresses and that has a peak of 100 Tesla (actually it will be well in excess of that, but 100 is what is needed). So the actual compression of the plasmoid is done with the magnetic field created by the liner, not the liner itself. Previous experiments have already achieved field strengths of over 600 Tesla.
See their latest paper here for theory and experimental results:
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q= ... 8740,d.aWw

Please note again, that this project is using a very different concept from the Helion reactor.

mvanwink5
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby mvanwink5 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:18 pm

I just think that they have now all the pieces of the puzzle together and all the IP secured so that they can go and approach investors that will allow them to move on to the next stage.
Judging by statements on their website and confidence I see the basis for your optimism. It will be good news even if it is only used to justify funding for a full scale prototype (or just a break-even prototype). Maybe we will hear something this year. Wow!

Also, it looks like a full scale prototype is significantly less than GF's full scale prototype so funding would be lower risk (based on $). Also it would seem Helion's components would not have as long a lead time for an order.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Ivy Matt
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby Ivy Matt » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:53 am

mvanwink5 wrote:* LPP is beating their chest claiming major, best of the dark horses progress, but when they ask for cash... they can't even make it to $10^6 magnitude. There is a reality disconnect that is confusing me and casting serious doubt on their concept. What am I missing on the LPP narrative that the cash-men see, or don't see?

mvanwink5 wrote:It is what they get for not being [willing] to dance with the evil VC's for money.

That's probably not the only reason. I imagine that LPP being a small team, with Eric Lerner presently the only plasma physicist (and one known to promote some decidedly non-mainstream cosmology ideas), is a concern. Imagine what would have happened to EMC2 if they hadn't brought Nebel and Park aboard before Bussard died.

Oh, and speaking of dark horses, what do folks think about Doug Coulter?: http://coultersmithing.com/

It stinks that it's taking this long to get safe to pursue a huge breakthrough first tested on May 1,2014, which gave 2800x (estimated) with no tuning whatever. That's getting us real close to actual net power gain after conversion via steam - not that far to go, maybe just tuning. But...the way it was, running for a minute would give me half a Sievert of radiation...and I'd not survive that. Sooo....we do this boring crap awhile. Dieing from rad poisioning is even worse than boredom.

http://www.coultersmithing.com/forums/v ... t=10#p5124
Temperature, density, confinement time: pick any two.

ladajo
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Re: 2014 Dark Horse Trifecta Year?

Postby ladajo » Thu Aug 14, 2014 1:23 pm

I think part of the issue we are seeing is that real scientists doing real science and research on how to solve the problem are not business men or marketing experts in any sense. That means that those who can market and talk money intelligently (not your average good scientist) do not garner funding nearly as well (or at all in some cases) as the salesmen. I think this is a a dilemma in the private funding arena.

How do you connect good science to good money and make real progress?

Back in the day it was government support via educational institutions and the eventual creation of the FFRDC concept in support of national defense and national advancement. However, that system too has fallen to political corruption.

Is it a crowd funding methodology that goes beyond the current scales and support systems? I think so, and am eager to explore this idea. America is the largest per-captita donor country in the world. Imagine tapping this resource to advance humanity vice provide free-stuff and band-aid services. (Okay, we could probably do both). Think of it as self-directed tax spending. I have come to think it is one of the only ways to escape the drama of politically managed money in pursuit of vote buying in DC. Plus, it is tax deductable... :)
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