General Fusion is working towards magnetized target nuclear fusion. General Fusion is targeting a large prototype by 2015 and a working reactor by 2020.
Canadian Manufacturing had an article earlier in the year covering General Fusion. General Fusion is creating a prototype and subsystems at full scale. They have made a full scale plasma injector that create the magnetized targets and individual full scale pistons. They have made a one meter diameter sphere with 14 pistons to demonstrate the symmetry of the compression.
They had closed on another round of funding for $19.5 million. There is new picture of the full scale plasma injector. It is at the EU Fusenet site They say not to use the picture without permission. So go through this link to check out the EU Fusenet site
General Fusion has a full scale prototype of the Plasma Injector. It is approximately 5 meters long and conical in shape, tapering from 2 meters to 40 centimeters wide. It is powered by a 22 kV, 2.4 MJ energy storage capacitor pulsed power supply.
More General Fusion Background
Michel Laberge knew he couldn’t beat the existing multibillion-dollar fusion labs at their own game. So instead, he decided to combine ideas from the two current approaches to make a vastly cheaper machine
Canadian startup General Fusion has designed a machine to generate fusion power by smashing together two variants of hydrogen atoms: deuterium, which has one neutron and one proton, and tritium, which has two neutrons and one proton.
The result: helium gas (which will get released into the atmosphere) and vast amounts of energy, which will get captured and turned into electricity. The company is still constructing its prototype. Here’s how it’s supposed to work.
1. Two large injectors heat the deuterium and tritium gas to 1 million degrees Celsius, turning it into plasma, an electrically charged gas.
2. Puffs of the plasma are shot into the center of a spherical tank filled with spinning, molten lead.
3. The spinning vortex of metal creates magnetic fields that trap the plasma in the center of the sphere.
Creating The Fusion Reaction
4. About 200 pneumatic pistons cover the outside of the sphere. The pistons strike the tank at exactly the same time, creating a shock wave in the liquid metal. This shock wave compresses the plasma in the center.
5. The compression raises the temperature to 150 million degrees Celsius, creating the right conditions for fusion.
Capturing Energy, Generating Electricity
6. The energy released from the fusion gets absorbed into the swirling lead, causing it to heat up. The hot lead is piped away to a heat exchanger, where it boils water into steam. The steam then turns a turbine, generating electricity.
“Other fusion uses a very complex way of producing energy — superconducting magnets, laser beams, all sorts of expensive and complicated and pricey stuff,” he says. “It costs them billions and billions of dollars, so it’s not so practical in my opinion. Here, what the energy source is, is compressed air. Compressed air is dirt cheap.”
Think of his idea as a one-two punch. His big electrical gizmo starts to heat up the atoms. Those get injected into a 10-foot-wide sphere full of swirling molten lead.
“The liquid will be circulated with a pump, so it spins around and makes a vortex in the center. You know, like your toilet with a hole in the center,” Laberge says.
And just as the heated atoms get into the center, Laberge fires 200 pistons, powered with compressed air, which surround the sphere. “Those are compressed air guns … that send a big compression wave, squash the thing, and away you go!”
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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