In a December 3, 2012 Lawrencevill Plasma Physics (LPP) status report – Two shots with no arcing indicate the problem is solved, although more proof is needed. A leak held up key tests while we implement a solution. Analysis of photos taken in October confirms our understanding of plasmoid structure.
Arcing appears to be solved for now, but a leak causes delay. A twitter update indicates the leak was fixed.
In May, 2012, the LPP plan for the next 12 months was laid out.
To gain higher yield and to attain “feasibility” the following steps are being done over the course of the next year (2013):
1) The “teeth that chew the sheath” tungsten crown to regularize the filaments – 10-100x yield
2) Full power output of Capacitors and to ‘Imitate’ the heavier mixture of pB11 by using Deuterium/Nitrogen.
3) Shorter Electrodes, slower run down, more fill gas.
4) New Raytheon switches for more Current from capacitors – 10x yield.
5) Switch to pB11 (incrementally higher percentage from the D/N mix) – 15x yield.
Goal: 30 kJ* gross fusion energy per shot proves feasibility of a positive net power output Generator using aneutronic fuel!
*A 5MW production reactor would have about 66 kJ gross fusion yield per shot*
Tri Alpha Energy, which is pursuing aneutronic fusion with a different device from the plasma focus, presented their past year’s progress with a half-dozen poster presentations. The clear and thorough presentation of their results was due a shift in management approach to a new openness, according to several of the researchers participating. Tri Alpha’s device, called a Field Reversed Configuration or FRC, generates two large rings of plasma and heats them with an externally accelerated ion beam. Their most recent results show that they have confined plasma at about 100 eV energy for about 2 milliseconds at a density of 2×10^13 ions/cm3. A rough measure of overall progress is the product of these three numbers, called “ntT”, which for Tri Alpha is 4×10^12. By comparison, LPP’s FF-1 with an ion energy of 160 keV, confinement time of about 30 ns and density of 3×10^19 ions/cm3 has a ntT product of 1.4×10^17, a factor of about 30,000 larger than that of Tri Alpha. This puts LPP far closer to the goal of net energy for now. Tri Alpha has raised about $140 million in private investments and works with a staff of 30 physicists. LPP expects to continue discussions with the Tri Alpha team about possible avenues of cooperation.