More Helion Energy news....

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: More Helion Energy news....

Post by mvanwink5 »

The point is that TAE's plasma is created once, and once created it is maintained as long as they keep the neutral beams on, hence, no divertor issues. Plasma losses are controlled by controlling plasma stability and the key finding demonstrated with Norman is that the higher the temperature the better the plasma stability. TAE has found that neutral beam injection is capable of achieving needed plasma temperature and is why TAE is confident in Copernicus and believe that Da Vinci will also achieve needed temperatures for P-B11.

Helion has different engineering issues than TAE and one issue is divertor erosion and deposition which Helion wants to improve. Still, Helion's point is that the divertor issue is not a show stopper, instead it is an O&M cost, and they can improve it with better materials and magnetic shielding. It is now all a matter of numbers, O&M cost, capital cost/MW, machine size, etc, and market. However that shakes out we are the winners. Commercial fusion is near term and there are at least 3 companies and likely more looking for a niche.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

mvanwink5
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by mvanwink5 »

@Helion_Energy May 11
There are some interesting things happening again on the fusion space propulsion front. Hopefully more information to be released soon.
Helion team knows fusion, and this tweet is not an idle comment. Anyone have any idea what Helion might be working on in space propulsion? Chemical rockets are great since SpaceX showed up, but with fusion propulsion anyone can build a rocket that gets us wherever we want to go, fast.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Skipjack »

mvanwink5 wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 1:14 am
@Helion_Energy May 11
There are some interesting things happening again on the fusion space propulsion front. Hopefully more information to be released soon.
Helion team knows fusion, and this tweet is not an idle comment. Anyone have any idea what Helion might be working on in space propulsion? Chemical rockets are great since SpaceX showed up, but with fusion propulsion anyone can build a rocket that gets us wherever we want to go, fast.
Could be in reference to several things. David Kirtley and Anthony Pancotti and I believe a few other people at Helion were previously at MSNW, which did the early research for the Helion reactor. MSWN has done quite a bit of work with fusion- and plasma- propulsion, most notably the Fusion Driven Rocket, which had some (unfortunately insufficient) funding from NIAC.
Helion is in a very friendly competition with ZAP and David Kirtley at least knows a little about the Plectomeme approach that Helicityspace is taking.
I know he is also familiar with the work Sam Cohen is doing at PPPL with his PFRC - Direct Fusion Drive. He was chatting with Stephanie Thomas about that at a NIAC meeting a few years ago.
I mean, the fusion industry is quite small anyway. So everyone knows everyone somehow.

Giorgio
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Giorgio »

In honor of truth, nothing interesting has ever happened on the fusion space propulsion front, apart from financing toward academic efforts to foresee potential use of fusion reaction as a propulsion medium.
Unfortunately most of these (and future) works do not have any real potential to ever be developed simply because we are still lacking a working fusion technology framework on which to base the starting assumptions for a fusion engine.
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Skipjack »

Giorgio wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 7:46 am
In honor of truth, nothing interesting has ever happened on the fusion space propulsion front, apart from financing toward academic efforts to foresee potential use of fusion reaction as a propulsion medium.
Unfortunately most of these (and future) works do not have any real potential to ever be developed simply because we are still lacking a working fusion technology framework on which to base the starting assumptions for a fusion engine.
To be fair, Sam has a working prototype at PPPL, though way sub scale and MSNW had quite a bit of hardware for their FDR. They were doing compression tests and all that. Not sure how far they got, though before the funding ran out. That said, it will certainly help to have at least ONE working fusion reactor before fusion propulsion will be getting serious funding.

Giorgio
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Giorgio »

If I remember well the research on the Fusion Driven Rocket of MSNW slowed down quite a lot from their initial phase 2 NIAC grant. They probably hit some technological/physical limit that prevented further development.

I didn't know that Dr. Cohen had a working prototype. Is than an "engine" prototype or a "proof of principle" prototype?
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Skipjack »

Giorgio wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 12:17 pm
If I remember well the research on the Fusion Driven Rocket of MSNW slowed down quite a lot from their initial phase 2 NIAC grant. They probably hit some technological/physical limit that prevented further development.

I didn't know that Dr. Cohen had a working prototype. Is than an "engine" prototype or a "proof of principle" prototype?
The FDR development stopped because they ran out of money. They had collected some good data from actual experiments at the time (liner compression, etc). They even observed the same plasma jets that they are now seeing in the Helion reactor. Of course for a FDR, that is a desirable property.
As for Cohen, he has the PFRC2 prototype. Still early days with that one (far from break even). For the longest time, he had just enough money to keep the lights on and the occasional grad student who got lost and stumbled into his lab. IIRC, he got some additional funding from the Chinese now. Not sure what happened since. It is a bit of a shame that the PFRC is not getting more attention at PPPL, despite the fact that they managed 300 ms configuration life time (10 times longer than TAE) with a tiny reactor and zero budget. Unfortunately at PPPL it's all about Tokamaks there.
Anyway, to my (very limited) understanding, the PFRC only differs from the direct fusion drive in that it does not have a magnetic nozzle for the SOL to exhaust their fusion products (which would be difficult to do on Earth).

Giorgio
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Giorgio »

Skipjack wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 12:33 pm
The FDR development stopped because they ran out of money. They had collected some good data from actual experiments at the time (liner compression, etc). They even observed the same plasma jets that they are now seeing in the Helion reactor. Of course for a FDR, that is a desirable property.
I read before that there were some issues that was pointed out in their phase 2 NIAC final report.
I will try to find it and read it when I have some free time.

Skipjack wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 12:33 pm
As for Cohen, he has the PFRC2 prototype.
Ok, now I understand what you are referring to, indeed the PFRC and PFRC2 are intriguing machines, not yet at the power level where we can actually be sure that they will work, but the whole idea of a rotating magnetic field is interesting indeed.
The main concern was the stability of the magnetic lines of the rotating field.

Skipjack wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 12:33 pm
Anyway, to my (very limited) understanding, the PFRC only differs from the direct fusion drive in that it does not have a magnetic nozzle for the SOL to exhaust their fusion products (which would be difficult to do on Earth).
Your understanding is totally correct.
There is a a rotating hot plasma trapped in the middle that warms up a colder plasma that flows around it till part of the ions get hot enough to fuse. The cool plasma gets recycled and the fusion product is extracted for power generation.
The only issue I see in transforming it into a direct fusion drive, is that they would need to find a way to recover part of the "colder" plasma to sustain the next fusion cycle, else every cycle need to start from zero.
A society of dogmas is a dead society.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Skipjack »

Giorgio wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 5:09 pm
I read before that there were some issues that was pointed out in their phase 2 NIAC final report.
I will try to find it and read it when I have some free time.
IIRC, there were some (surmountable) issues with the liner symmetry.

Giorgio wrote:
Fri May 21, 2021 5:09 pm
The only issue I see in transforming it into a direct fusion drive, is that they would need to find a way to recover part of the "colder" plasma to sustain the next fusion cycle, else every cycle need to start from zero.
IIRC, they were planning to have a small sterling engine of sorts that was attached to a He cooling cycle that was supposed to supply the reactor and the auxiliary systems with power. My biggest gripe with their design is that unlike Helion, they had no plans for producing He3 for use in the engine.
Mining the moon is IMHO not an efficient way to do it. Of course if Helion gets their reactor going, one could dedicate a couple of those to produce just He3 for such missions. Still, that would not be very cheap.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Skipjack »

Helion Energy is looking for a VP of engineering. Interesting.

https://jobs.lever.co/helionenergy

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Skipjack »

Here is a little bit about what Helion is up to. Since this is now public, I think it is fair to post here:
This presentation is from January 26th.

Quotes:
The whole process takes less than 1 millisecond from start to finish and is repeated every 10 minutes.
Goal for 7thGen accelerator is to run 1 Hz for short period

Energy is directly recaptured and recycled in a capacitor bank(upwards of 95% energy recovery).

Eliminates the need for a steam cycle

Only 5% of energy is produced as lower energy neutrons

Deuterium-Helium 3 Fusion is possible because of advancements in direct energy recovery technology and Helion’s magneto-inertial fusion
design
My thoughts:

One shot every 10 minutes is good for an experiment, but they will have to increase that a lot. 7th (next) generation prototype will operate at 1 Hz for short periods of time. So likely not quite a commercial reactor prototype as that would need to operate continuously for long periods of time. Will be interesting to see what the commercial reactor will do, then (8th prototype?). I presume that there is still some work to do (materials? pulsed power supply?) to increase the rate.

They are able to recover more than 95% of the energy and I got first hand confirmation that this indeed applies to the input energy.
So they are completely changing the metrics for Q(eng). They can get a net gain with relatively little fusion power.

We discussed this earlier here, but it looks like I was right after all and there won't be a steam cycle (which really won't make sense for 5% of the energy).

Only 5% of energy is produced as lower energy neutrons. Not sure whether this is actually new information, but it is good to have a first hand number there.

They are very confident that they can do D+He3 (alright, we assumed that they were confident about that, but it is good to see that reconfirmed).

Unrelated to the presentation below, there is one more interesting tidbit that I heard recently: They presented over 10^19 keV*s/m3 for VENTI at the TOFE meeting in 2018. They also said that they had over 10^11 neutrons /pulse, which matches what I heard elsewhere.

Link to the full presentation. The Helion Energy segment starts on page 45:
https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML2102/ML21026A315.pdf
Last edited by Skipjack on Tue Jun 22, 2021 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Skipjack »

And more Helion Energy News today!
New website is up! Pretty!

Latest Prototype achieved 100 million degrees!
6th Prototype name is Trenta.
9 keV total bulk plasma temperatures with operation above 8 keV ion temperature and 1 keV electron temperature.
1 MW/m^2 divertor plasmas
Fusion reaction rates and particle confinement meet or exceed traditional modified-Lower Hybrid Drift (LHD) FRC energy confinement and overall Configuration time is limited as expected by the onset of n=2 rotational instability.

Helion will be presenting these results at the 2021 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference & Symposium on Fusion Engineering.

Press release:
https://www.helionenergy.com/wordpress/ ... verted.pdf

crowberry
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by crowberry »

Thanks Skipjack for this piece of good news! I hope that Helion Energy will also publish their latest results in a journal.

Skipjack
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by Skipjack »

crowberry wrote:
Tue Jun 22, 2021 4:45 pm
Thanks Skipjack for this piece of good news! I hope that Helion Energy will also publish their latest results in a journal.
Helion will be presenting these results at the 2021 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference & Symposium on Fusion Engineering.
The abstract is in the press release :)

crowberry
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Re: More Helion Energy news....

Post by crowberry »

Yes, I read those abstracts, but a journal paper is more interesting because of the much more content than fits an abstract. It is already many years since Helion Energy published a paper on their work, so hopefulyl they will publish these new results in a paper that is accessible.

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