Oxford University Scientific Society - May 14, 2014
May 14, 2014
as the Short Route to Fusion Power
Eric J. Lerner
Chief Scientist, LPPFusion, Inc.
What would happen?
Why Crowdfund it?
How can it be so small and cheap?
How does it work?
Where are we in getting to
What do we need to do to
What Would Happen
If We had Cheap Clean Energy?
What if we could develop in the
next five years a 5 MW energy
source 10 times cheaper than
any now available that was
safe and non-polluting?
17% increase in real income for median
industrialized country resident
44% increase in real income for median
person in the world
JOBS, Services and Infrastructure
$5 TRILLION per year not spent
100-150 million new jobs
• End 7 million deaths per year from
pollution by coal, diesel, gasoline
• End oil spills, mining devastation
• Total recycling with plasma torch
• Money released to end deforestation,
• No greenhouse gases
• No radioactive waste
Benefits for Peace
No more war to prop up the price of oil
Fission energy is obsolete—
lock up the uranium mines
• 5 MW generators, safe enough to
put in neighborhoods
• far more reliability in disasters,
• rapid deployment to towns and
villages throughout the world
Would You Chip In?
What if this new ideal energy
source could be demonstrated to
be scientifically feasible for only
$1 million and
a prototype generator developed for
only about $50 million?
CROWD-funding for Fusion
Launched on Indiegogo May 6
By June 15: Goal $200,000 for vital parts
Need $1 million,
12-18 months to scientific feasibility
Why Crowd-funding For Fusion?
International fusion effort
concentrated on single device, ITER
Over 50 scientists have signed an
open letter urging broader approach
Only brave investors for
fusion research—not enough
Benefits all, so crowdfunding asks all
Focus-Fusion-1 Experimental Device
Stored energy 100kJ
(vs 10 GJ for JET)
Capacitor potential 45 kV
Capacitance 75 mF
Peak current 1.4-2.8 MA
Electrodes: 5 cm cathode, 2.8 cm anode
Beam From Star
REPRODUCING NATURAL INSTABILITIES
Key plasma parameters-- such as
In Lab: 10 cm , msec
Solar flare: 10,000 km, 100 sec
Galaxy: 30 kpc, 15 My
Super-cluster: 100 Mpc, 100Gy
The Cosmic Connection
WHAT IS ANEUTRONIC FUSION?
It’s a fusion using aneutronic fuel, ideally made of
hydrogen and boron, pB11, which produces no
neutrons and thus no radioactive waste.
Aneutronic → No neutrons → No Radioactive
ENERGY CAPTURE DEVICE
X-rays, Ion Beams
• NO neutrons from main reaction
• NO high energy neutrons
• NO radioactive waste—electrodes contain
less radioactivity than a roomful of people.
• Generator safe to service without protection 9
hours after turn-off
How Do we Reduce X-ray Cooling?
X-ray emission increases as z2
Boron 25 x as emissive as hydrogen
How do we avoid this?
Reducing X-ray Cooling
Quantum Magnetic Field Effect
QMEF reduces Te by
Cuts X-ray by >4x
Allows ignition of pB11
BUT only with B>~3 GG
WHERE ARE WE?
Ion temperature— goal achieved —over
1.8 billion degrees, enough to ignite pB11
Confinement time— goal achieved 20 ns—more
than 8 ns goal
Energy transfer to plasmoid—
over 50% of goal
Density—must increase by 10,000
Plasma 1/3 metal by mass, mostly Ag,
1% by number
Uneven impurity distribution causes
asymmetric sheath, poor
Increase in collision rate with zeff
prevents magnetization of filaments,
How Do Impurities
Why More Effect with
1) Arcing above 2 MA/cm2
2) Magnetization of filaments easier
Magnetization depends on B/n.
For B2/n constant,
B/n declines with increasing B
Steps To Increase Density
50x-- Achieve theoretical density—tungsten
electrodes to eliminate impurity
10x-- Increase current to 2.8 MA
20x-- Better compression with heavier pB11
Getting the B Field
• FF-1Now– 0.06 GG
With filaments—0.6 GG
Full current—1.3 GG
With pB11—10 GG
Tungsten is fine for impurity, but
absorbs too many x-rays
Beryllium far more transparent
But costs-- (single unit)--$250,000
Biggest Engineering Challenges
Heat Removal—Electrode Erosion
• Sputtering may limit electrode lifetime
but with re-deposition a few weeks
may be OK
• Anode will be heated by x-rays
- key upper limiting factor in repetition
• Deposition of boron
- key lower limit on repetition rate
Why Has it Taken So Long?
Tungsten too expensive
Too few large experiments
Under staffing slows progress
Let Focus Fusion