Tri-alpha Energy nuclear fusion C2 experiment looks a lot like what Helion Energy has been doing
Highlights of Scientific Achievements:
* Demonstration of long-lived FRCs by dynamic merging Compact Toroids (CTs)
* Active control of n=2 mode rotational instability by (1) quadrupole fields and (2) electrode biasing
* Reduction of background neutrals by wall conditioning (Titanium or Lithium getterings)
* Improvement in flux confinement / transport properties
* Hot stable FRCs have been produced in C-2 using the novel merging FRC technique, and plasma lifetime achieved record exceeding2 ms.
* The merged FRC state exhibits following key properties:
* Strong conversion from kinetic energy into thermal energy, predominantly into the ion channel.
– Significantly improved confinement over the original θ-pinch FRCs with flux transport rates approaching classical values.
– N=2 rotational mode has been controlled by quadrupole fields as well as by positively-biased electrode.
* Wall conditioning is effective at reducing both neutral recycling and impurity influx.
Tri Alpha Energy, a secretive California-based company, is believed to have raised $90 million for its variant of the field-reversed technique; among its investors is Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In a rare public communication a year ago, Tri Alpha researchers showed how they had collided two plasma balls at a temperature over 5 million degrees and held them together for up to 2 milliseconds (Physical Review Letters, vol 105, p 045003). Tri Alpha says it will produce a working commercial reactor some time between 2015 and 2020 – possibly before ITER fires up for the first time.