Two more months on the contract

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TallDave
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Two more months on the contract

Post by TallDave »

I wonder what will happen then.

rj40
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Post by rj40 »

Yes, me too. What results would it take to have the Navy cough-up $250 million at the end of this August or September? And, is WB-7 capable of producing such money producing results?

dch24
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Post by dch24 »

Roger Fox, for one, is convinced that EMC2 has fusion results already.

I'm not so sure. But assuming the results are good -- the "nuanced" data clearly showing fusion rates and neutron counts consistent with theory -- there are plenty of well-funded people willing to invest in the next step, a 100 MW BFR plant.

One thing to note: 100 MW seems very close to the peak output that a 1st-gen BFR can do. The R^3*B^4 scaling hits engineering limits of cooling and magnetic field strength. MSimon has posted the detailed analysis of that but I can't find it right off the bat.

StevePoling
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Post by StevePoling »

rj40 wrote:Yes, me too. What results would it take to have the Navy cough-up $250 million at the end of this August or September? And, is WB-7 capable of producing such money producing results?
I think they'll need more than a half-dozen neutrons to get the Navy to pony up some more cash. In the ideal case, they'll provide enough empirical data to tell the critics that they're right or they're wrong. However, i fear we'll see results that are "nuanced" enough to perpetuate the argument.

kurt9
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peer review

Post by kurt9 »

My understanding is that the experiments will be complete in another two months and another month or two will be necessary for the peer review process. Is this correct?

I think that the group is prudent not to release any details until after the review process is complete, in order to avoid a "cold fusion" fiasco. I think their idea to sell experimental kits (WB7 or WB8) in various configurations for $1 million or so is a very good idea. This is the standard price for an instrumented vacuum system and would be affordable by many private and government R&D organizations. If the current WB7 work is successful, I expect significant interest in such experimental kits.

seedload
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Post by seedload »

dch24 wrote:Roger Fox, for one, is convinced that EMC2 has fusion results already.
Accounting for time to organize and bring in reviewers of their findings, I certainly hope they have results already. Otherwise, two months isn't enough time. They basically have to be getting people lined up with definite dates RIGHT NOW.

It is already summer. This is going to get interesting.

Even with great results, the next contract will probably be an extention at similar funding levels designed to keep the project afloat while the really important funding decisions are being proposed and reviewed.

choff
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Post by choff »

I think I read one blog that said a breakeven reactor could be built for $10 Million. Depending on what 'nuanced' means maybe they get enough to try for a mimimum sized breakeven machine. With the minimalistic budget and time frame they've been forced to work with some results could be inconclusive at this scale. The review panel may try for a intermediate compromise and a second review in another 2 years before they commit themselves to saying 'lets spend $200 million.'
CHoff

Nanos
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Post by Nanos »

My guess on "nuanced" is there are results which include neutron output, but not consistent with expected theory.

So a small step, but at least a step, which I imagine might get others to research and experiment in the field in the coming years, rather than a, we can make a working electric producing system for you next year solution.

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

I think their idea to sell experimental kits (WB7 or WB8) in various configurations for $1 million or so is a very good idea.
If funding for a larger actively-cooled version doesn't materialize, I think it's a great stopgap to keep this idea alive. As Art Carlson has demonstrated, there is a lot of skepticism about things as basic as WB confinement. Having WB-7s at dozens of universities would pretty well end that.

And who knows what improvements they might come up with.
My guess on "nuanced" is there are results which include neutron output, but not consistent with expected theory.
I think people are reading too much into the "nuanced" comment. In context, it sounds like he just meant the results are complicated. Remember, we're talking about neutron counts over a quarter-millisecond, extrapolated into 100MW by r^7 scaling.
I think I read one blog that said a breakeven reactor could be built for $10 Million.
I don't see how. I think the BOE calcs M Simon did found the minimum for a cooled continous-running reactor is around $50M.

Roger
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Post by Roger »

dch24 wrote:Roger Fox, for one, is convinced that EMC2 has fusion results already.
I think that Nebel thinks they should build a 1.6 meter 100MW net power Polywell next.

No offense to you dch24, but do you think Nebel would want to build a 1.6 meter Polywell if WB-7 was sucking balls.

He said he had data, then he said he wants to build the 1.6 meter Polywell.

I think those 2 things are connected, no ?
I like the p-B11 resonance peak at 50 KV acceleration. In2 years we'll know.

Goblin
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Post by Goblin »

Well, I'm pretty confident in saying regardless of the results from Dr. Nebel's experiments the Navy isn't going to drop $200M on a contract to continue the research this fall.

FY08 budget is spent.

FY09 (starting in Oct) is allocated.

You can squeeze $1.8M out of the noise in the R&D budget, maybe even $5M. $200M is another matter though.

Helius
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Post by Helius »

No way can we infer Dr. Nebel would build a 1.6 Meter WB-8 from anything said on Alan Boyle's interview, even if Gubbermint, shoveled him a big enough pile of money. He's not compelled to not try to build it.

I wish he were so compelled in it's avoidance ; There is a lot more research to do first, and the last thing we'd want is a one shot attempt, risking failure and funding abatement. I want to see more research, and I want to see WB-7 instruments available to other institutions.

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Helius,

He seemed to think a 1.5M machine was the logical next step. If it fails, we will learn something. We may learn the Polywell concept is unworkable at those energies. We may learn it's probably workable but needs more development to achieve net power. We may learn we have developed a cheap and abundant power source that solves mankind's energy needs for the next few millennia.

If it doesn't work because it's unworkable, it's best to find that out so we can stop wasting our time on it. That's not a downside.

The upside if it does work, of course, is incredibly high.

TallDave
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Post by TallDave »

Goblin,

It depends on the reviews of the WB-7 results and how much attention they get. You'd be surprised how quickly things can get funded if there's highly motivated bipartisan Congressional interest.

Also, it's over 5 years, so it would probably be $30-$40M for the first year, maybe a lot less if that's a design/get a team together/make a project plan/etc. year.

rj40
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Post by rj40 »

I suppose they can keep doing small scale tests. Trying to build-up a justification for a net power device; but didn’t Bussard say the next step after this *was* the net power device? Anything else would be wasting time? Perhaps I am misremembering that Google talk – or was it the radio interview?

Also, are there many Universities/Colleges out there that would spend $1million on a WB-7 replica (or similar)? Maybe a few? Or maybe they would rather spend that $1million on their collegiate sports activities. Or remedial math for the incoming freshmen, or…

I think it would take an act of congress to start funding a full-up net power “convincer” this year. As mentioned above, current money is already allocated.

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