Oil prices at new highs

Discuss funding sources for polywell research, including the non-profit EMC2 Fusion Development Corporation, as well as any other relevant research efforts.

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Post by Zixinus »

A lot of people have/are investing a lot of money in energy technologies. The Polywell is their worst nightmare. Consider for a moment who isn't going to like the Polywell:

1. The fusion people. They've already gone ballistic (but we're not going to go there).
2. The fission people. They're working on a "nuclear renaissance".
3. The solar people.
4. The wind people.
5. Big oil.
6. The gas and coal companies
7. The biofuels people.
8. A few of the environmentalists.
This reeks a bit. Lets have a look closer at this list, shall we?
1. The fusion people. They've already gone ballistic (but we're not going to go there).
Are you implying the Tokamak Maffia at work? The Tokamaks are, and always have been, research devices that held promise. The whole "ITER will make energy thing" is more of a million-dollar PR stunt. If Polywell works, and proven that they work (which is why they are "going ballistic" on "us"), they'll be just as exited as we are (or we will be).
2. The fission people. They're working on a "nuclear renaissance".
There are still plenty of fission plants operation and half-built. Even if no new fission plants are researched, there are still these that need to be looked after. Also, whoever is highly trained in the handling of a power plant will likely be able to be cross-trained to new Polywell power plants.
3. The solar people.
4. The wind people.
They are pissed at anything that may compete with them or even anyone that points out that their energy source has limitations.
5. Big oil.
6. The gas and coal companies
Aren't they the same?

Oil will still be needed, even if someone knacks out a perfect alternative as I write this and released to public use. There are still enourmous amount of vehicles and equipment that uses oil and gas, coal having many other uses then in power plants.

Besides these companies are already digging their grave with Peak Oil.
7. The biofuels people.
? Biofuels people? Unless these people think that everything could run on biofuels (which might be actualyl worse then oil in regards of greenness, especially considering how much food-land it would take away), they are already wacked.
8. A few of the environmentalists.
Don't you mean most environmentalists? Environmentalists rabidly oppose anything nuclear anyway, so its not like we will be the primary thick. For them, its the same target just shinier and with a better pich.
"We should be open minded, but not so open minded that our brain falls out."
- Richard Dawkins

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Post by jmc »

I completely don't understand this fusion people going ballistic thing. At the end of the day if this Polywell thing pans out and Polywell fusion turns into a big industry, people who have skills in nuclear fusion will have the most valuable experience of anyone. I don't think fusion people really have a vested and lasting interest in making sure Polywell's don't work.

I really would like to understand the exact story of why so many fusion people attacked Dr. Bussard. Who cast the first stone? Certainly in what I've read on the internet Bussard pretty much trashed tokamaks saying they would never work while promoting his idea in its place.

Rider's criticism of the HEPS seemed to have been justified in that Dr. Bussard himself decided any Polywell machine had to be recirculating. His Master's Thesis in 1991 stated that the cusp losses of a non-recirculating machine would be prohibitive. Here's a question... back in those days had Dr. Bussard actually tested any recirculating models at the time? Was Rider maliciously hiding his knowledge of superior versions of the Polywell or was he simply criticising flaws in what was at the time considered state of the art.

Nevins said that Polywells would not converge and at the moment it indeed seems unlikely that they will converge. Are we sure this is the malicious supression of a technology they fear will work and superceed Tokamaks a the most favoured fusion concept?

I have to say, at the moment I believe criticism from the main stream fusion community is motivated more strongly by the belief that the Polywell is an ill-thought out design that won't work properly, will be over-hyped by the press as a the new solution, would end up failing spectacularly and in the wake of its failure might be end up dragging the whole fusion programme down with it (the word ITER comes to mind for some strange reason).

I honestly believe that if a strong case could be made backed up by sound experimental evidence that the Polywell showed genuine promise for getting scaled up to an economical power plant, the fusion community, including those working on tokamaks would soon show support, rather than disdain towards its development. If there is any evidence to support a contrary hypothesis I'd like to hear about it... in detail. At the end of the day fostering emnity towards mainstream tokamak institutions could prove damaging and wasteful to the Polywell Programme as it is these mainstream insitutions which posess the technology and expertise (neutral beams, pellet injector expertise in running magnets inside vacuum vessels) that could make the Polywell Programme advance far more rapidly and smoothly than having an isolated group of people trying to "go it alone".

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Post by olivier »

jmc wrote:I honestly believe that if a strong case could be made backed up by sound experimental evidence that the Polywell showed genuine promise for getting scaled up to an economical power plant, the fusion community, including those working on tokamaks would soon show support, rather than disdain towards its development.
In that event, choose from three quotations (sorry if I am a bit cynical today) :
1 - Arthur Schopenhauer wrote:All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
2 - Jonathan Swift wrote:When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.
3 - Jules Claretie wrote:He who undertakes something has against him those who wish to do the same, those who wish to do the exact opposite and its sharpest critics, the great army of those who do nothing at all.
The more I read about IEC, from you guys in this forum, the more I think those who try are smarter than those who don't.

In fact, jmc, I am curious to know the way the ITER people you know react, when you tell them something as benign as: "I know of a small R&D project in New Mexico. Their concept may work or may not. However it is interesting, unexpensive and the issue is important, so it's worth trying."

Although I did some statistical physics in college 20 years ago, I am not a plasma physicist (no regrets ?). However my work allows me to be in touch with the nuclear industry, including ITER more often than never. To start with, I made a few cautious attempts at mentioning alternatives to tokamak fusion to people around me (engineers and PhDs), just to see how they would react. Sometimes I got a "You mean, cold fusion ?" with disdain. Not always. But the truth is that no one had ever heard of anything outside magnetic or inertial confinement.

ITER only represents one thousandth of EU GDP: significant but affordable. The problem with ITER is that it has drained all budget for physics research in Europe. What is more, the way R&D resources have been managed for years, all other options seem to have vanished from memories. Am I overstating ?

What can we do about it? The generic problem is: "How do we generate interest and suggest credibility to people who do not have any feeling that major opportunities can be unknown to them?" Personally I am still thinking of a good strategy, before searching the first chink in the armor (a decision-maker who would listen and take the time to understand). There must be a few somewhere.
Last edited by olivier on Thu May 22, 2008 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by MSimon »


Not cynical at all. Maybe even not cynical enough. :-)

You have two required steps to make something happen:

1. Get some eqpt and funds (of course you can trade off one for the other)
2. Get a champion

I would start at a very low level:

Fusors. Proliferate them and use the successes to leverage Polywells.
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.

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Post by jmc »

The people I talk to in Culham are vaguely curious and mildly interested, not vehemently determined to support it, but mildly interested when I explain it to them.

You may be right about the ITER draining the fusion budget, personally I think th fusion budget in total is too low and there should be room for both ITER and smaller projects.

But I must reiterate, people who work in tokamak fusion who are opposed to Polywells are opposed to them because they think they won't work and are a distraction from a more promising approach. They're not afraid of Polywells woking and solving all mankinds energy needs!!

I too agree with trying every approach that cannot be shown not to hold promise and I agree it is counter productive to hold the view that only your idea could ever work (although many people who work on tokamaks don't think this way, Bussard may have done some demonizing). The important point if sufficient evidence is amassed to show this line of investigation holds promise then people who work on tokamaks will chip in and join the programme. Everyone who works in fusion wants fusion to work!

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Re: Here's why the navy really wants polywell

Post by Roger »

Jccarlton wrote:
The Navy has been concerned for some time with the growing number of surface skimming supersonic cruise missiles and the need to defend against them.
I know of two, the Sunburn, it doesnt skim, it likes to dive from altitude at the target at mach 4+.
"In July 1999, defense analyst Richard D. Fisher wrote an evaluation of the Russian-built Sunburn missile being sold to China. A senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a Washington based think-tank, Fisher reported that the SS-N-22 may be capable of a dive speed of Mach 4.5 that would help it evade U.S. naval defenses. The Sunburn anti-ship missile is perhaps the most lethal anti-ship missile in the world,"

This may be the reason the Arliegh Burkes are losing their Phalynx guns in favor of box launched point defense missles.

Then there is the newer BrahMos:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... rahmos.htm

The BrahMos is short range and is probably the sea skimmer you cite. But for the life of me, I can't find that growing number of surface skimming supersonic cruise missiles you mentioned.

MSimon wrote:
Lithium is better anyway.
MSimon has it right, NiMH is the prior generation, Li-poly is the current generation and preforms better, discharge and recharge times are greatly reduced.
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

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Post by drmike »

The BrahMos is getting a new version. A mach 5 cruise missle has a lot of uses.

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