Helicity Space

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

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

Helicity Space

Post by Skipjack »

Helicity Space is a private fusion venture and member of the FIA that I have until now known very little about.
Their concept does actually appear to be very interesting. It is a magneto inertial fusion concept, not unlike what Helion is doing, but with a different plasma configuration and a few others twists.
Overall, very interesting!
Presentation by Setthivoine You starts at 3 hours and 40 minutes. The whole video is generally interesting and worth watching.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIT1uZIe6F8

They want to enable Mars in 2 months travel time (I guess that is average distance?):
https://www.helicityspace.com/

Their TRL still seems to be quite low compared to Helion. Not sure about their funding.

Giorgio
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Location: China, Italy

Re: Helicity Space

Post by Giorgio »

Magnetic Helicity has become again an hot topic in Astrophysics plasma in the last few years thanks to new solar observations and measurements.

Here is some more info from a research project of one of the founders:
https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/re ... mas/45023/

"The Mochi.LabJet experiment is thus designed to observe the self-organisation of plasmas in a simple experiment designed to mimic an astrophysical jet. Using technology derived from fusion and plasma space propulsion experiments, nested electrodes with magnetic fields produce long stable jets of plasma that travel at 80 km/s. The experiment demonstrates how astrophysical jets can be remarkably stable, collimated and straight."
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

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

Re: Helicity Space

Post by Skipjack »

Nice one!
One of the properties of Helion's reactor design is that FRCs can be translated over great distances without losing stability. They make use of that to physically separate the compression chamber from the injectors and other more sensitive equipment. Helion is accelerating their plasmoids to hundreds of km/sec before they merge and not just 80km/sec.
I wonder whether Helicity Space could and should do something similar for terrestrial energy applications. Also, wondering whether anything speaks against them mirroring the machine for that purpose. So that they combine several Plectonemes at each end, then merge them again in the middle.
So in a way a combination of Helion's and their design. The reasoning being that Helion's reactor design essentially has direct conversion built into the design that way and that could be interesting for them too.
In any way, it is the similarities to Helion's approach that have me quite excited about their design. The biggest difference being that they can use a near unlimited amount of plasmoids. Though I do wonder whether FRCs can be used in a similar manner.
Certainly exciting times for fusion. So many great ideas out there.

Skipjack
Posts: 6167
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Re: Helicity Space

Post by Skipjack »

Short presentation from December:
https://infuse.ornl.gov/wp-content/uplo ... ed-jet.pdf

According to Zoominfo they have about 4 million in funding and 22 employees. Now from what I know about that site is that their numbers are not necessarily up to date and/or correct. So take that with a grain of salt.
https://www.zoominfo.com/c/helicityspace/470023886

Giorgio
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Re: Helicity Space

Post by Giorgio »

Skipjack wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:58 am
Helion is accelerating their plasmoids to hundreds of km/sec before they merge and not just 80km/sec.
The slower speed is probably due to the limited length of the test machine that they are using and the lack of all the magnetic nozzle components that should help to boost speed before and after the fusion event.

Skipjack wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:58 am
I wonder whether Helicity Space could and should do something similar for terrestrial energy applications. Also, wondering whether anything speaks against them mirroring the machine for that purpose.
According the pdf you linked the fusion event happens in the compression coils, and the fusion power depends only on the number of plectonemic plasma beams joined together [Pf=~ N^(3/2) with N>>2 ], so mirroring would not create any additional benefit and increasing Pf would be just a matter to increase the number of Plasma Jets that will twist together.
I can envision it in the same way as ropes are made, with single strands of twisted yarns (the Plectonemic Plasma jets) that are joined together (the Magnetic reconnection-heating) to create an ordered reinforced rope of compressed helical yarn (the Peristaltic magnetic compression). The larger the number of starting Yarns, the stronger the rope. Neat idea.

Skipjack wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:58 am
Certainly exciting times for fusion. So many great ideas out there.
Indeed. These guys are just at the start of their experimental tests,it will be very interesting to see how the experiment will match the theoretical model.
The one big advantage they have over the other companies is that the core of their project (the Magnetic Helicity) is a known natural phenomena, so they do not need to prove that it exist but just that they can control it in a suitable way to induce enough compression to start a fusion event.
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

Skipjack
Posts: 6167
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Re: Helicity Space

Post by Skipjack »

Giorgio wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 4:31 pm

According the pdf you linked the fusion event happens in the compression coils, and the fusion power depends only on the number of plectonemic plasma beams joined together [Pf=~ N^(3/2) with N>>2 ], so mirroring would not create any additional benefit and increasing Pf would be just a matter to increase the number of Plasma Jets that will twist together.
They do talk about more compression in the video and how that also affects performance. So they have several knobs to twist.
Mirroring would double the number of plasma beams and they can also merge the head on, not just at the angle in the graphic (there was an experiment at the University of Maryland where they did that).
The reason why I am wondering about mirroring and a longer translation is for the same reasons that Helion is doing it: Physical distance from the compression chamber to the plasma injectors and other expensive components and direct conversion.
During compression when the fusion events happen, very hot and very fast plasma jets form that propagate axially outward from the compression chamber in both directions. You don't want those to hit your injectors at full speed and temperature or they (the injectors) like won't last long. On the positive side, these jets contain charged particles and when they move through the magnetic acceleration/compression coils, they will induce a current in the coils. So you can harvest that energy and slow down the jets at the same time. Also another reason to make that section longer.
Mirroring makes sense because the plasma jets will go both ways anyway and so you will need coils in both directions if you want to harvest the energy from them.
Now for a propulsion system, you likely want to keep things compact and low mass. So I get that they will make it short, but for a terrestrial application, maintenance and economic concerns would be dominating. So I think there is a lot speaking for making it longer.
Either way, I am (at least with my current understanding) rather excited about the concept and I see a lot of potential. Let's hope they make quick progress.

Giorgio
Posts: 2830
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 6:15 pm
Location: China, Italy

Re: Helicity Space

Post by Giorgio »

Skipjack wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:47 pm
They do talk about more compression in the video and how that also affects performance. So they have several knobs to twist.
I will need to find the time to check the video. My understanding on how the magnetic re-connection and compression phase should work is based on the papers on Magnetic Helicity in astrophysics plasma, so I might be biased.

My understanding is that the plectonemic plasma beams will undergo a natural heating thanks to the energy absorbed during the magnetic re-connection (merging) of the individual single beams into the main beam. The main beam will be stable thanks to the helical flow shear that is naturally generated and will undergo an additional compression to kick-start the fusion event.
The helical shear flow will prevent the backfire of the fusion events forcing them in the direction of flow.

Skipjack wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:47 pm
Either way, I am (at least with my current understanding) rather excited about the concept and I see a lot of potential. Let's hope they make quick progress.
I also can't wait to get more info on this pretty neat idea.
If the the fusion power is really scalable as they propose, this engine could enable full exploration of the solar system.

Edited to fix typos.
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

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