Z-Pinch Renaissance

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

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Skipjack
Posts: 6110
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Skipjack »

ZAP has updated their website:
https://www.zapenergyinc.com/
Plans to achieve Q~1 by 2022! That is aggressive though not surprising for me, given their track record to date and quite frankly, I would not be surprised if they got there sooner. In any case, the race is getting hot and ZAP is among the hottest contenders.

Carl White
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Carl White »

Oil major Chevron Corp (CVX.N) said on Wednesday it is investing in Zap Energy Inc, joining Italy’s ENI (ENI.MI) and Norwegian state oil company Equinor (EQNR.OL) who have also backed nuclear fusion startups to reduce their carbon footprint.

Zap Energy raised $6.5 million from its Series A financing on July 12, according to data from Crunchbase.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-chev ... reddit.com

Skipjack
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Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Skipjack »

Yes, I just saw that as well! Very exciting news for Uri and the fellows at ZAP! I am very happy for them.

Skipjack
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Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Skipjack »

This article has a little more detail:
https://vcnewsdaily.com/zap-energy/vent ... vcxmdjnhgx

Skipjack
Posts: 6110
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Skipjack »

Some more interesting tidbits about ZAP:
https://arpa-e.energy.gov/?q=slick-shee ... mprovement
There are also new sections on their website for the board of directors and careers:
https://www.zapenergyinc.com/board
https://www.zapenergyinc.com/careers

Also, from the recent IAEA conference presentation by Uri, it looks like neutron yield is increasing with pinch current at somewhere between the 8th and the 10th power.

Edit: Updated website now available. That one is a lot more readable:
https://conferences.iaea.org/event/214/ ... ons/17405/

Skipjack
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Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Skipjack »

ZAP BETHE Kickoff- presentation:
https://arpa-e.energy.gov/sites/default ... Nelson.pdf

New prototype in the works: FuZE-Q
I presume that the Q is a reference to Q=1, but I might be wrong.
BETHE tasks:

▸Build and commission new, more capable, SFS Z-pinch FuZE-Q

▸Improved diagnostics to resolve higher current, higher temperature, higher density, and smaller diameter pinches
– Higher-resolution spatial- and time-resolved diagnostics for temperature, density, and PMI measurements
– X-ray & Thomson scattering Temeasurements and imaging (with ARPA-E Diagnostic and Capability Teams)

▸High-fidelity computational studies
– Electrode PMI studies, separate formation/acceleration concepts, validation, etc.

▸Evaluate SFS Z-pinch concept at higher performance

▸Verify scaling to higher currents
– Improved 𝑛𝑛𝑘𝑘𝑘𝑘𝜏𝜏
– Higher-resolution diagnostics

▸Computationally evaluate effects of PMI, as well as independent control of acceleration and compression processes
– Improved electrode designs– Improved operational domains

▸Evaluate scaling* for SFS Z-pinch reactor and economics
– Compact, no coils, TBR > 1.1 with liquid PbLiwalls, Pth~ 200 MW**

Skipjack
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Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Skipjack »

For those who have not seen it yet, here is an update on the progress, challenges and upcoming research at ZAP:
https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0004228

crowberry
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Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by crowberry »

This is one of the abstracts submitted by Zap Energy Inc. to the 62nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics. It will be interesting to see how they can scale up their device.

Abstract: CP20.00015 : Scaling of the Sheared-flow-stabilized Z Pinch toward Reactor Conditions http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DPP20/Session/CP20.15

Skipjack
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Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Skipjack »

LOL! I was just about to post the same :)
ZAP is definitely one of the top contenders in the field right now and it is amazing how quickly they got to this point, which makes me quite optimistic.
It will be extremely interesting to see where they are going next. A demonstration of notional break even by even just one competitor could be exactly what the fusion industry needs right now. Based on what I have seen and know, I would assume that they will reach that in about 2 years.

There are only five others that I am aware of and have a chance at beating them purely based on the fact that their timelines do no give a later date and/or what I know about their progress:

Helion: We don't know where they are at right now, but they were somewhere between 10^19 and 10^20 keV*sec/m3 with the relatively small and low power VENTI and they have a much larger (higher power) prototype now.

Lerners LPP team with their DPF: currently stuck at 2x10^20 keV*sec/m3 but they seem to be mostly struggling with engineering problems right now.

MIFTI: Staged Z- Pinch. No timeline, but they are already commercializing their current reactor for isotope production through D+T with high neutron counts. They are not far off from scientific break even. Also, I understand that they have solid funding.

Compact Fusion Systems: In 2019 they claimed to be 3 years away from scientific break even. No idea where they are at right now. They got funding from ARPA-E.

Proton Scientific: The odd ones. Also a Z- Pinch type device. Their timeline claims 2021 for their full scale prototype, but there us no info on funding and no papers, etc. I am skeptical of these but they are at least theoretically in the race.

Anyone want to add to that list?

What I find interesting is that 4 of these companies are using some kind of Z- Pinch or derivative and the two others are using FRCs...

Giorgio
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Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:15 pm
Location: China, Italy

Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Giorgio »

It's some time that it seems to me that every heat based fusion machine experiment is reaching the point where they can't improve anymore their results due to limitations of construction materials more than due to issues connected to understanding the physics of the process.
All the new superconductors advancements opened indeed a new windows in fusion progress, but reducing the size, conversely, increased the need of performances from most the other components of the system that instead didn't advance much (or didn't advance at all). of
Just think to the heat flux managing issue as example. We passed from a designed 20MW/m2 needed for a stable ITER operation to values in the order of GW/m2 for the SPARC.....

Superconductor advancement was pushed forward by the medical industry with their huge private investments because they represent almost 1/3 of whole superconductor market, but for the other components research funds has been mostly limited to small government grants.

Unless we have parallel projects dedicated to improve performances of the other components I am afraid we will be stuck to this point for still long time.
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

Skipjack
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Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Skipjack »

I don't think that the MIT sees any show stoppers for going forward with SPARC. I am a bit confused why you think they could not?

Giorgio
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Location: China, Italy

Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Giorgio »

Skipjack wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:23 pm
I don't think that the MIT sees any show stoppers for going forward with SPARC. I am a bit confused why you think they could not?
My concern is not that there is a "design" show stopper from the physics side, but engineering design for components like the divertor are simply not yet mature to be used in a commercial reactor or even to make full use of the actual test possibilities offered by the new superconductors in research reactors like SPARC.
And no one is putting "real" effort and money to overcome these limits.


I will take few examples from the very same papers that they are going to be presented in the coming APS meeting:

http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DPP20/Session/JO08.13
"The divertor heat flux problem is an important unresolved dilemma facing future reactor-level fusion devices. "


http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DPP20/Session/JO08.12
"Based on empirical scalings, the peak unmitigated divertor parallel heat flux in SPARC is projected to be greater than 10 GW/m2"
(Our best technology (for ITER) is now on the range of 20 MW/m2.)


http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DPP20/Session/JO08.15
"Fusion power fundamentally has two limits: core plasma pressure must reside within tokamak operation limits and plasma heat exhaust must be within technology limits."
(This paper also evaluates fusion power limits with with actual TRL (and by sacrificing some other factors) and sets it to 2GW fusion power. This should be an interesting paper to read if they will publish it.)
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

Skipjack
Posts: 6110
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Skipjack »

We should take that debate over to the SPARC forum, I think.
See my response there:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=6341&p=132747#p132747

williatw
Posts: 1912
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Location: Ohio

Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by williatw »

Apologies if this has already been posted:



Pulsed Plasma Rocket

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Howe Industries is investigating a Pulsed Plasma Rocket system that can produce 20,000 lbs of thrust with an Isp of 5,000 seconds . The Pulsed Plasma Rocket (PPR) is smaller, less complex, and more affordable.

They fire a 2 kilogram bullet down a barrel where it gets converted into plasma and generates the thrust.

They think it could enable 2-3 month one-way trips to Mars.

The performance of a propulsion system with high Isp and high thrust allows missions throughout the solar system and beyond which are not possible with current technology. Human missions to Mars in two months are possible. Alternatively, heavier ships containing shielding against Galactic Cosmic Rays are enabled so that the dose to the crew is reduced to negligible levels. This may be preferable for Mars missions or may enable human missions to the Asteroid Belt in acceptable timeframes. A mission to the 550 AU location where the Sun’s gravitational lens focuses can be considered. They are focusing on a large, heavily shielded ship to transport humans and cargo to Mars for the development of a Martian base.

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https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2020/09/p ... ocket.html

Carl White
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:44 pm

Re: Z-Pinch Renaissance

Post by Carl White »

That's great, but with the requirement of a 2.5 GW power source, I doubt we'll see it any time soon. Not before SpaceX repeatedly lands on Mars, more likely than not.

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