Commonwealth Fusion stronger magnet tokomak gets billionaire funding

Commonwealth Fusion Systems a spinout from MIT has received additional funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures (which investment from billionaires Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Mukesh Ambani, and Richard Branson).

Commonwealth Fusion Systems will use new superconducting materials to make far stronger magnets for a smaller Tokamak fusion system. The planned fusion experiment, called Sparc, is set to be far smaller – about 1/65th of the volume – than that of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project, an international collaboration.

They want to build a significant prototype system in a few years and build a full-scale commercial system by about 2033.

Improved magnets would improve any nuclear fusion design that involves confinement of plasma. There is less science risk to this MIT approach but more technological risk. They are trying to accelerate the commercial use of high-temperature superconducting magnets and trying to contain their costs. Cost for superconducting magnets for past fusion projects have been $20 per watt but other applications have seen costs of $1.4 to $1.8 per watt.

160 thoughts on “Commonwealth Fusion stronger magnet tokomak gets billionaire funding”

  1. Do a search for MIT’s spark. I was really impressed with their plans. They want to use ribbon cable. Mit’s proposal is state of the art and it really sounds like it will work.

    Reply
  2. Do a search for MIT’s spark. I was really impressed with their plans. They want to use ribbon cable. Mit’s proposal is state of the art and it really sounds like it will work.

    Reply
  3. That’s one long check list… I wish the Billionaires would toss at least a little money at some of the non Tokamak alternative approaches…

    Reply
  4. One thing that is meaningful about using high temperature superconductors is they don’t require the same level of insulation which means the magnets can be closer to the plasma. So perhaps it’s not the strength of field so much it’s the effectiveness of it.

    Reply
  5. Nothing here that says they’ve solved the micro instability problem. Just making a smaller unstable reactor isn’t going to do the trick.

    Reply
  6. Throwing a billion at a producing high efficiency natural uranium/thorium capable breeder reactor would be money much better spent. You could have cheap clean power worldwide in 1-2 decades.

    Reply
  7. That’s one long check list… I wish the Billionaires would toss at least a little money at some of the non Tokamak alternative approaches…

    Reply
  8. One thing that is meaningful about using high temperature superconductors is they don’t require the same level of insulation which means the magnets can be closer to the plasma. So perhaps it’s not the strength of field so much it’s the effectiveness of it.

    Reply
  9. Nothing here that says they’ve solved the micro instability problem. Just making a smaller unstable reactor isn’t going to do the trick.

    Reply
  10. Actually, I have reason to believe that the “focussed ion approach” is WAY more likely to produce a lot of fused deuterium and tritium when it gets going in earnest, because at least the ions in question are in beams directed at each other. By comparison, spheromaks, tokomaks, stellarators and all the rest utilize donuts of plasma, held in place by great big magnetic fields, and bearing high enough radial currents (internal to the plasma torae) to pull the really-want-to-escape super-hot plasma ions back toward the center line of the torus. Nice, but not terribly well directed. Yet, perhaps the analysis pessimism is unfounded: Dr. Farnsworth — some 70 years back — came up with a brilliantly simple idea, the so-called Farnsworth Fusor; not only did his insight yield a surprisingly simple device, but upon being charged with just deuterium, it produced prodigious neutron output demonstrating the fact that is flying ions were indeed fusing at the virtual focal point in the center. So simple is the apparatus that hundreds of high school physicist hopefuls have cobbled together Farnsworth Fusors. The “Farnsworth Fusor” idea is: 2 open concentric shells of wire, in a bell vacuum jar. The inner shell is charged negative, to attract ions (deuterium nuclei, stripped of their electrons). The outer shell, positive, helps strip electrons from the deuterium gas in the vacuum chamber. When the vacuum drops to 1 Torr or so, the deuterium gas ionizes and glows. Because the shells are concentric, there is a strong spherical electric field which accelerates deuterons towards the center of the concentric sphere assembly. Because the ions are streaming toward the same focal point, collisions are maximized. At a few kilovolts of kinetic energy are in each deuteron, which is — when converted — a few million degrees kelvin. At these “temperatures” deuterons have a significant probability of fusing. When they do, they create tritium and a neutron. Thus from a brightly

    Reply
  11. You do realize, right… that the topknot graphic is NOT a photo. Its a ray-traced 3D model + looks-like-humans mathematical dummies thrown in. Not one of them is “doing something” plausible with the shiny sub-size tokomak. Anyway, its like it always has been: a whole lot of marketing of the Next Big Thing, replete with outstanding street-creds for the blue-ribbon list of well heeled Investors and Venture Capitalists who — one presumes — will be fully and generously funding this great effort. Right? Time and time again. Same ol’, Same ol. INSOFAR as I can tell, everything proposed hinges on a single development. HTS — High Temperature Superconductor. Perhaps it ought to be called “high performance superconductor” because the aspects of it that “count” towards the great expectations are: • (1) mechanical strength • (2) magnetic field tolerance • (3) substantially high magnetic field superconductivity extinction at very low operational temperatures. • (4) reasonable cost, fabrication overhead, ubiquity (1) is needed because super-intense magnetic fields also through the Lorentz force tend to cause the coil’s windings to push apart. Tons per square inch. (2) in a bulk sense, as the magnetic field grows, the innermost windings are under very high magnetic field intensity. This tends to “push the electrons” toward one wall (“the Hall force”), concentrating them to above the critical maximum-density of current might lie. Field collapses, rather explosively. (3) Thing is, even tho’ the moniker is “HTS → HIGH temperature superconductivity”, it turns out that the superconductive properties of a few HTS materials SUBSTANTIALLY improves as the operating temperature is lowered from near-liquid-nitrogen critical-temp to near-liquid-helium temps. Like… by factors of 100× or more. (4) of course, made out of unicorn horn, aurochs hoof and drac hearts, the stuff would be prohibitively out of reach of even the most well heeled research budgets. Thing is, satisf

    Reply
  12. I understand that, unless it’s aneutronic, it’s not going to be revolutionary at all. The capital costs per MW are going to be insane, and there will still be neutrons involved, normal fusion outside stars spews out incredible neutron fluxes. What’s going to happen is that, the moment fusion starts to look practical, the watermelons who’ve been using it as the best to combat fission’s “good enough” will notice the neutrons, and oppose it. And it goes nowhere because it’s freaking expensive to do.

    Reply
  13. Throwing a billion at a producing high efficiency natural uranium/thorium capable breeder reactor would be money much better spent. You could have cheap clean power worldwide in 1-2 decades.

    Reply
  14. Actually I have reason to believe that the “focussed ion approach” is WAY more likely to produce a lot of fused deuterium and tritium when it gets going in earnest because at least the ions in question are in beams directed at each other. By comparison spheromaks tokomaks stellarators and all the rest utilize donuts of plasma held in place by great big magnetic fields and bearing high enough radial currents (internal to the plasma torae) to pull the really-want-to-escape super-hot plasma ions back toward the center line of the torus. Nice but not terribly well directed. Yet perhaps the analysis pessimism is unfounded: Dr. Farnsworth — some 70 years back — came up with a brilliantly simple idea the so-called Farnsworth Fusor; not only did his insight yield a surprisingly simple device but upon being charged with just deuterium it produced prodigious neutron output demonstrating the fact that is flying ions were indeed fusing at the virtual focal point in the center. So simple is the apparatus that hundreds of high school physicist hopefuls have cobbled together Farnsworth Fusors.The “Farnsworth Fusor” idea is: 2 open concentric shells of wire in a bell vacuum jar. The inner shell is charged negative to attract ions (deuterium nuclei stripped of their electrons). The outer shell positive helps strip electrons from the deuterium gas in the vacuum chamber. When the vacuum drops to 1 Torr or so the deuterium gas ionizes and glows. Because the shells are concentric there is a strong spherical electric field which accelerates deuterons towards the center of the concentric sphere assembly. Because the ions are streaming toward the same focal point collisions are maximized. At a few kilovolts of kinetic energy are in each deuteron which is — when converted — a few million degrees kelvin. At these temperatures”” deuterons have a significant probability of fusing. When they do”””” they create tritium and a neutron. Thus from a brightly glo”

    Reply
  15. You do realize right… that the topknot graphic is NOT a photo. Its a ray-traced 3D model + looks-like-humans mathematical dummies thrown in. Not one of them is doing something”” plausible with the shiny sub-size tokomak. Anyway”” its like it always has been: a whole lot of marketing of the Next Big Thing replete with outstanding street-creds for the blue-ribbon list of well heeled Investors and Venture Capitalists who — one presumes — will be fully and generously funding this great effort. Right?Time and time again. Same ol’ Same ol. INSOFAR as I can tell everything proposed hinges on a single development. HTS — High Temperature Superconductor.Perhaps it ought to be called “high performance superconductor” because the aspects of it that “count” towards the great expectations are:• (1) mechanical strength• (2) magnetic field tolerance• (3) substantially high magnetic field superconductivity extinction at very low operational temperatures.• (4) reasonable cost fabrication overhead ubiquity(1) is needed because super-intense magnetic fields also through the Lorentz force tend to cause the coil’s windings to push apart. Tons per square inch. (2) in a bulk sense as the magnetic field grows”” the innermost windings are under very high magnetic field intensity. This tends to “”””push the electrons”””” toward one wall (“the Hall force”)”” concentrating them to above the critical maximum-density of current might lie. Field collapses rather explosively. (3) Thing is even tho’ the moniker is “HTS → HIGH temperature superconductivity” it turns out that the superconductive properties of a few HTS materials SUBSTANTIALLY improves as the operating temperature is lowered from near-liquid-nitrogen critical-temp to near-liquid-helium temps. Like… by factors of 100× or more. (4) of course made out of unicorn horn aurochs hoof and drac hearts the stuff would be prohibitively out of reach of even the most well heeled research budge”

    Reply
  16. I understand that unless it’s aneutronic it’s not going to be revolutionary at all. The capital costs per MW are going to be insane and there will still be neutrons involved normal fusion outside stars spews out incredible neutron fluxes.What’s going to happen is that the moment fusion starts to look practical the watermelons who’ve been using it as the best to combat fission’s good enough”” will notice the neutrons”””” and oppose it. And it goes nowhere because it’s freaking expensive to do.”””

    Reply
  17. See my main comment. But “yes it’ll work” — the building of a compact, super high magnetic field survivable HTS-run-at-liquid-helium Tokomak. But… will these conditions not just drive the entrained plasma … inevitably … toward wiggly-donut instability, as all such efforts have, in the last 50+ years? Ah, that’s harder to say with confidence. Just saying, GoatGuy

    Reply
  18. See my main comment. But yes it’ll work”” — the building of a compact”” super high magnetic field survivable HTS-run-at-liquid-helium Tokomak. But… will these conditions not just drive the entrained plasma … inevitably … toward wiggly-donut instability as all such efforts have in the last 50+ years? Ah that’s harder to say with confidence. Just saying””GoatGuy”””””””

    Reply
  19. One big advantage is that the YBCO HTS allows a higher mag field and thus a smaller cheaper reactor despite it needing to be mechanically strong. They have the YBCO and have developed coils using it. Its a clever design that allows the coils to be opened to lift out the vacuum vessel (when it needs to be replaced after a few years neutron irradiation) – also uses a liquid lithium breeder blanket.

    Reply
  20. One big advantage is that the YBCO HTS allows a higher mag field and thus a smaller cheaper reactor despite it needing to be mechanically strong. They have the YBCO and have developed coils using it. Its a clever design that allows the coils to be opened to lift out the vacuum vessel (when it needs to be replaced after a few years neutron irradiation) – also uses a liquid lithium breeder blanket.

    Reply
  21. One big advantage is that the YBCO HTS allows a higher mag field and thus a smaller cheaper reactor despite it needing to be mechanically strong. They have the YBCO and have developed coils using it. Its a clever design that allows the coils to be opened to lift out the vacuum vessel (when it needs to be replaced after a few years neutron irradiation) – also uses a liquid lithium breeder blanket.

    Reply
  22. Don’t forget your confined high density neutro… sorry NEUTRON CLOUD. It’s the capital letters that let you confine the neutrons. The 100 GEV radio frequency waves are left as an exercise for the reader.

    Reply
  23. Don’t forget your confined high density neutro… sorry NEUTRON CLOUD. It’s the capital letters that let you confine the neutrons.The 100 GEV radio frequency waves are left as an exercise for the reader.

    Reply
  24. Going off the deep end, if gravity is indistinguishable from inertial loading, then would an ultra-centrifuge produce the same slowing effect as ultra gravity?

    Reply
  25. Going off the deep end if gravity is indistinguishable from inertial loading then would an ultra-centrifuge produce the same slowing effect as ultra gravity?

    Reply
  26. Stimulated transition in a neutron cloud giving a burst of beta particles – i like it! I’m gonna be a superhero that does that for Halloween.

    Reply
  27. Stimulated transition in a neutron cloud giving a burst of beta particles – i like it! I’m gonna be a superhero that does that for Halloween.

    Reply
  28. It would be awesome if we could affect alpha emitter decay constants with something other than a gravity well and the observer’s perspective to that gravity well. A radium atom on the event horizon never decays – but can we speed it up? Can it be done? Are neutrinos the answer? There are supposedly 30E15/cm/cm/s of them fluxing my retina – maybe just bump this to 50E15 and the radium will decay faster. Wow, just think about that – the neutrino fluence of my retina is 3.78E25/cm/cm! Maybe those floaters or flashes I occasionally see are neutrino interactions – I’ve detected neutrinos!!!! Seriously though – fission propulsion is not a great idea for anything smaller than a boat.

    Reply
  29. It would be awesome if we could affect alpha emitter decay constants with something other than a gravity well and the observer’s perspective to that gravity well. A radium atom on the event horizon never decays – but can we speed it up? Can it be done? Are neutrinos the answer? There are supposedly 30E15/cm/cm/s of them fluxing my retina – maybe just bump this to 50E15 and the radium will decay faster. Wow just think about that – the neutrino fluence of my retina is 3.78E25/cm/cm! Maybe those floaters or flashes I occasionally see are neutrino interactions – I’ve detected neutrinos!!!!Seriously though – fission propulsion is not a great idea for anything smaller than a boat.

    Reply
  30. Don’t forget your confined high density neutro… sorry NEUTRON CLOUD. It’s the capital letters that let you confine the neutrons.

    The 100 GEV radio frequency waves are left as an exercise for the reader.

    Reply
  31. Get a standard Tesla SUV and convert it to a pickup truck Get a set of “advanced Stirling radioisotope generator” as developed by NASA, rated at 32 kg for 130 W continuous output. Get say 50 of them for 6.5 kW output. That’s 1.6 tonnes so you won’t be able to carry anything else in your pickup truck. Use them to trickle charge the battery. You probably, under normal use, would never run out of power until the battery chemistry wore out. Never walk to the rear of the vehicle.

    Reply
  32. Get a standard Tesla SUV and convert it to a pickup truckGet a set of advanced Stirling radioisotope generator”” as developed by NASA”” rated at 32 kg for 130 W continuous output. Get say 50 of them for 6.5 kW output. That’s 1.6 tonnes so you won’t be able to carry anything else in your pickup truck.Use them to trickle charge the battery.You probably under normal use”” would never run out of power until the battery chemistry wore out.Never walk to the rear of the vehicle.”””

    Reply
  33. No, you are going to have to do better than just remove the https. How about you either put spaces between the terms like www . madeup . address. com/fake Or give us a distinctive prase to google.

    Reply
  34. No you are going to have to do better than just remove the https.How about you either put spaces between the terms like www . madeup . address. com/fakeOr give us a distinctive prase to google.

    Reply
  35. It would be awesome if we could affect alpha emitter decay constants with something other than a gravity well and the observer’s perspective to that gravity well. A radium atom on the event horizon never decays – but can we speed it up? Can it be done? Are neutrinos the answer? There are supposedly 30E15/cm/cm/s of them fluxing my retina – maybe just bump this to 50E15 and the radium will decay faster. Wow, just think about that – the neutrino fluence of my retina is 3.78E25/cm/cm! Maybe those floaters or flashes I occasionally see are neutrino interactions – I’ve detected neutrinos!!!!

    Seriously though – fission propulsion is not a great idea for anything smaller than a boat.

    Reply
  36. Get a standard Tesla SUV and convert it to a pickup truck
    Get a set of “advanced Stirling radioisotope generator” as developed by NASA, rated at 32 kg for 130 W continuous output. Get say 50 of them for 6.5 kW output. That’s 1.6 tonnes so you won’t be able to carry anything else in your pickup truck.

    Use them to trickle charge the battery.

    You probably, under normal use, would never run out of power until the battery chemistry wore out.

    Never walk to the rear of the vehicle.

    Reply
  37. No, you are going to have to do better than just remove the https.

    How about you either put spaces between the terms like www . madeup . address. com/fake
    Or give us a distinctive prase to google.

    Reply
  38. Fission car is pretty silly brett – even if Ford put out a concept car. If they discovered fission power in 1800s there would still be old growth forests in England.

    Reply
  39. Fission car is pretty silly brett – even if Ford put out a concept car. If they discovered fission power in 1800s there would still be old growth forests in England.

    Reply
  40. I read an article on muon catalyzed fusion many years ago (in Scientific American IIRC). One point made in the article was that a temperature of about 900 °C was optimum for getting it to work, if it could be made to work at all. This would be good for high efficiency heat engines & process heat. The problem with muon catalyzed fusion is not so much the short half life of muons as the too high chance of the muon sticking to the resulting helium nucleus so it is unavailable to catalyze further fusions.

    Reply
  41. I read an article on muon catalyzed fusion many years ago (in Scientific American IIRC). One point made in the article was that a temperature of about 900 °C was optimum for getting it to work if it could be made to work at all. This would be good for high efficiency heat engines & process heat. The problem with muon catalyzed fusion is not so much the short half life of muons as the too high chance of the muon sticking to the resulting helium nucleus so it is unavailable to catalyze further fusions.”

    Reply
  42. Yeah, the problem being that “significant probability of fusing” still implies that almost all of the collisions are duds. Well, fine, elastic collision, they head on back out, then fall back in for another try. Only the grid intercepts a small fraction of them on the way in, which means you can only recycle the ions so many times before a collision with the grid takes them out, and it’s not nearly enough times. A LOT of brain power has been directed at getting the recycling high enough to reach breakeven, so far to no avail. The selling point of the magnetic confinement schemes is that the ions get many chances to collide with each other before escaping the system. The downside is they spend all of their time “hot”, radiating like mad.

    Reply
  43. Yeah the problem being that significant probability of fusing”” still implies that almost all of the collisions are duds. Well”” fine elastic collision they head on back out then fall back in for another try.Only the grid intercepts a small fraction of them on the way in which means you can only recycle the ions so many times before a collision with the grid takes them out and it’s not nearly enough times. A LOT of brain power has been directed at getting the recycling high enough to reach breakeven”” so far to no avail.The selling point of the magnetic confinement schemes is that the ions get many chances to collide with each other before escaping the system. The downside is they spend all of their time “”””hot”””””””” radiating like mad.”””

    Reply
  44. Muon catalyzed fusion doesn’t work at plasma temperatures, it depends on the muon replacing an electron in the D-D molecule, and because of its much larger mass, the orbital shrinks down so far that the nuclei are close enough together to tunnel into Helium. If the fuel is hot enough to be ionized, this mechanism doesn’t work.

    Reply
  45. Muon catalyzed fusion doesn’t work at plasma temperatures it depends on the muon replacing an electron in the D-D molecule and because of its much larger mass the orbital shrinks down so far that the nuclei are close enough together to tunnel into Helium.If the fuel is hot enough to be ionized this mechanism doesn’t work.

    Reply
  46. Actually, you *could* build a nuclear powered car, but people are too paranoid about a little radiation exposure, and I doubt it could have ever been economical compared to fossil fuels. But, if they’d discovered nuclear power back in the 1800’s? It would probably have been built.

    Reply
  47. Actually you *could* build a nuclear powered car but people are too paranoid about a little radiation exposure and I doubt it could have ever been economical compared to fossil fuels.But if they’d discovered nuclear power back in the 1800’s? It would probably have been built.

    Reply
  48. When I was in college I majored in philosophy and political science, but I carpooled with a guy who was majoring in mechanical engineering. He said that fusion power will always be twenty years away. Back in the fifties, they used to promise that the power company would pay YOU once they developed fusion and that people would drive nuclear powered cars. Now I agree we’re closer to the day that this energy source will be developed than ever, but that day might take one-hundred years to come to pass. Until then, drill baby drill.

    Reply
  49. When I was in college I majored in philosophy and political science but I carpooled with a guy who was majoring in mechanical engineering. He said that fusion power will always be twenty years away. Back in the fifties they used to promise that the power company would pay YOU once they developed fusion and that people would drive nuclear powered cars. Now I agree we’re closer to the day that this energy source will be developed than ever but that day might take one-hundred years to come to pass. Until then drill baby drill.

    Reply
  50. I read an article on muon catalyzed fusion many years ago (in Scientific American IIRC). One point made in the article was that a temperature of about 900 °C was optimum for getting it to work, if it could be made to work at all. This would be good for high efficiency heat engines & process heat. The problem with muon catalyzed fusion is not so much the short half life of muons as the too high chance of the muon sticking to the resulting helium nucleus so it is unavailable to catalyze further fusions.

    Reply
  51. Yeah, the problem being that “significant probability of fusing” still implies that almost all of the collisions are duds. Well, fine, elastic collision, they head on back out, then fall back in for another try.

    Only the grid intercepts a small fraction of them on the way in, which means you can only recycle the ions so many times before a collision with the grid takes them out, and it’s not nearly enough times. A LOT of brain power has been directed at getting the recycling high enough to reach breakeven, so far to no avail.

    The selling point of the magnetic confinement schemes is that the ions get many chances to collide with each other before escaping the system. The downside is they spend all of their time “hot”, radiating like mad.

    Reply
  52. Muon catalyzed fusion doesn’t work at plasma temperatures, it depends on the muon replacing an electron in the D-D molecule, and because of its much larger mass, the orbital shrinks down so far that the nuclei are close enough together to tunnel into Helium.

    If the fuel is hot enough to be ionized, this mechanism doesn’t work.

    Reply
  53. Actually, you *could* build a nuclear powered car, but people are too paranoid about a little radiation exposure, and I doubt it could have ever been economical compared to fossil fuels.

    But, if they’d discovered nuclear power back in the 1800’s? It would probably have been built.

    Reply
  54. When I was in college I majored in philosophy and political science, but I carpooled with a guy who was majoring in mechanical engineering. He said that fusion power will always be twenty years away. Back in the fifties, they used to promise that the power company would pay YOU once they developed fusion and that people would drive nuclear powered cars. Now I agree we’re closer to the day that this energy source will be developed than ever, but that day might take one-hundred years to come to pass. Until then, drill baby drill.

    Reply
  55. I think you might be missing some of the details about how difficult the engineering problems are. It’s not a conspiracy of oil interests. Oil will always be useful. They just can’t make it work because it takes a lot of energy input in order to produce fusion output.

    Reply
  56. I think you might be missing some of the details about how difficult the engineering problems are. It’s not a conspiracy of oil interests. Oil will always be useful. They just can’t make it work because it takes a lot of energy input in order to produce fusion output.

    Reply
  57. I see If you are interested in my comment, maybe you can “reassemble” this address by adding https up front?: ://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/09597b104b84e91f1e31dae27c07cefbb9984224ce373d4fe4c98b503d0669c9.jpg

    Reply
  58. I seeIf you are interested in my comment maybe you can reassemble”” this address by adding https up front?:://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/09597b104b84e91f1e31dae27c07cefbb9984224ce373d4fe4c98b503d0669c9.jpg”””

    Reply
  59. Give me a break. Iter is totally bureucratic with obsolete old designs, some private ventures invest some 100 millions per year in a 1,4 trillion dollar worth market,.. All that coal barons in 21 century lol,… Fusion is high tech, clean, you don’t need mountain of resources – building all that solar, coal and similar,.. It could give boost to economy with lower energy prices, cut off all that indirect expeses with deaths, health expenses from pollution,… Nuclear industy didn’t want to invest in new tech – just getting nice money per plants with old designs. Laser driven fusion is best bet in my opinion, but you need to show some interest in working fusion plants and invest money. More then couple 100 millions per year.

    Reply
  60. Give me a break. Iter is totally bureucratic with obsolete old designs some private ventures invest some 100 millions per year in a 14 trillion dollar worth market.. All that coal barons in 21 century lol… Fusion is high tech clean you don’t need mountain of resources – building all that solar coal and similar.. It could give boost to economy with lower energy prices cut off all that indirect expeses with deaths health expenses from pollution… Nuclear industy didn’t want to invest in new tech – just getting nice money per plants with old designs. Laser driven fusion is best bet in my opinion but you need to show some interest in working fusion plants and invest money. More then couple 100 millions per year.

    Reply
  61. I did a paper on fusion while an engineering student in 1971. Prof said “I’m skeptical.” Looks like I’ll be dead before controlled fusion is achieved.

    Reply
  62. I did a paper on fusion while an engineering student in 1971. Prof said I’m skeptical.”” Looks like I’ll be dead before controlled fusion is achieved.”””

    Reply
  63. Energy market was worth about 1,4 trillion in 2016 and smarphone market is +- 400 billion per year. 1 Nuclear plant can cost about 5 billion dollars,.. And how much is invested in fusion per year? POCKET CHANGE LOL. Too many people would loose their source of income with fusion plants. Oil industry and cars,.. Russia and their natural gas, nuclear lobbies, all that solar, wind, coal – Koch brothers,… There is a very little interest for commercial working fusion reactors from people with money and power. If you invest pocket change in 1,4 or more trillion worth industry then you can’t expect results lol. Fusion power is possible, but you need to invest into it and solve the problems,.. The problem is many people with money loose their source of income with commercial working fusion reactors.

    Reply
  64. Energy market was worth about 14 trillion in 2016 and smarphone market is +- 400 billion per year.1 Nuclear plant can cost about 5 billion dollars..And how much is invested in fusion per year? POCKET CHANGE LOL.Too many people would loose their source of income with fusion plants. Oil industry and cars.. Russia and their natural gas nuclear lobbies all that solar wind coal – Koch brothers… There is a very little interest for commercial working fusion reactors from people with money and power. If you invest pocket change in 14 or more trillion worth industry then you can’t expect results lol. Fusion power is possible but you need to invest into it and solve the problems.. The problem is many people with money loose their source of income with commercial working fusion reactors.

    Reply
  65. See my main comment. But “yes it’ll work” — the building of a compact, super high magnetic field survivable HTS-run-at-liquid-helium Tokomak. But… will these conditions not just drive the entrained plasma … inevitably … toward wiggly-donut instability, as all such efforts have, in the last 50+ years? Ah, that’s harder to say with confidence. Just saying, GoatGuy

    Reply
  66. See my main comment. But yes it’ll work”” — the building of a compact”” super high magnetic field survivable HTS-run-at-liquid-helium Tokomak. But… will these conditions not just drive the entrained plasma … inevitably … toward wiggly-donut instability as all such efforts have in the last 50+ years? Ah that’s harder to say with confidence. Just saying””GoatGuy”””””””

    Reply
  67. Actually, I have reason to believe that the “focussed ion approach” is WAY more likely to produce a lot of fused deuterium and tritium when it gets going in earnest, because at least the ions in question are in beams directed at each other. By comparison, spheromaks, tokomaks, stellarators and all the rest utilize donuts of plasma, held in place by great big magnetic fields, and bearing high enough radial currents (internal to the plasma torae) to pull the really-want-to-escape super-hot plasma ions back toward the center line of the torus. Nice, but not terribly well directed. Yet, perhaps the analysis pessimism is unfounded: Dr. Farnsworth — some 70 years back — came up with a brilliantly simple idea, the so-called Farnsworth Fusor; not only did his insight yield a surprisingly simple device, but upon being charged with just deuterium, it produced prodigious neutron output demonstrating the fact that is flying ions were indeed fusing at the virtual focal point in the center. So simple is the apparatus that hundreds of high school physicist hopefuls have cobbled together Farnsworth Fusors. The “Farnsworth Fusor” idea is: 2 open concentric shells of wire, in a bell vacuum jar. The inner shell is charged negative, to attract ions (deuterium nuclei, stripped of their electrons). The outer shell, positive, helps strip electrons from the deuterium gas in the vacuum chamber. When the vacuum drops to 1 Torr or so, the deuterium gas ionizes and glows. Because the shells are concentric, there is a strong spherical electric field which accelerates deuterons towards the center of the concentric sphere assembly. Because the ions are streaming toward the same focal point, collisions are maximized. At a few kilovolts of kinetic energy are in each deuteron, which is — when converted — a few million degrees kelvin. At these “temperatures” deuterons have a significant probability of fusing. When they do, they create tritium and a neutron. Thus from a brightly

    Reply
  68. Actually I have reason to believe that the “focussed ion approach” is WAY more likely to produce a lot of fused deuterium and tritium when it gets going in earnest because at least the ions in question are in beams directed at each other. By comparison spheromaks tokomaks stellarators and all the rest utilize donuts of plasma held in place by great big magnetic fields and bearing high enough radial currents (internal to the plasma torae) to pull the really-want-to-escape super-hot plasma ions back toward the center line of the torus. Nice but not terribly well directed. Yet perhaps the analysis pessimism is unfounded: Dr. Farnsworth — some 70 years back — came up with a brilliantly simple idea the so-called Farnsworth Fusor; not only did his insight yield a surprisingly simple device but upon being charged with just deuterium it produced prodigious neutron output demonstrating the fact that is flying ions were indeed fusing at the virtual focal point in the center. So simple is the apparatus that hundreds of high school physicist hopefuls have cobbled together Farnsworth Fusors.The “Farnsworth Fusor” idea is: 2 open concentric shells of wire in a bell vacuum jar. The inner shell is charged negative to attract ions (deuterium nuclei stripped of their electrons). The outer shell positive helps strip electrons from the deuterium gas in the vacuum chamber. When the vacuum drops to 1 Torr or so the deuterium gas ionizes and glows. Because the shells are concentric there is a strong spherical electric field which accelerates deuterons towards the center of the concentric sphere assembly. Because the ions are streaming toward the same focal point collisions are maximized. At a few kilovolts of kinetic energy are in each deuteron which is — when converted — a few million degrees kelvin. At these temperatures”” deuterons have a significant probability of fusing. When they do”””” they create tritium and a neutron. Thus from a brightly glo”

    Reply
  69. You do realize, right… that the topknot graphic is NOT a photo. Its a ray-traced 3D model + looks-like-humans mathematical dummies thrown in. Not one of them is “doing something” plausible with the shiny sub-size tokomak. Anyway, its like it always has been: a whole lot of marketing of the Next Big Thing, replete with outstanding street-creds for the blue-ribbon list of well heeled Investors and Venture Capitalists who — one presumes — will be fully and generously funding this great effort. Right? Time and time again. Same ol’, Same ol. INSOFAR as I can tell, everything proposed hinges on a single development. HTS — High Temperature Superconductor. Perhaps it ought to be called “high performance superconductor” because the aspects of it that “count” towards the great expectations are: • (1) mechanical strength • (2) magnetic field tolerance • (3) substantially high magnetic field superconductivity extinction at very low operational temperatures. • (4) reasonable cost, fabrication overhead, ubiquity (1) is needed because super-intense magnetic fields also through the Lorentz force tend to cause the coil’s windings to push apart. Tons per square inch. (2) in a bulk sense, as the magnetic field grows, the innermost windings are under very high magnetic field intensity. This tends to “push the electrons” toward one wall (“the Hall force”), concentrating them to above the critical maximum-density of current might lie. Field collapses, rather explosively. (3) Thing is, even tho’ the moniker is “HTS → HIGH temperature superconductivity”, it turns out that the superconductive properties of a few HTS materials SUBSTANTIALLY improves as the operating temperature is lowered from near-liquid-nitrogen critical-temp to near-liquid-helium temps. Like… by factors of 100× or more. (4) of course, made out of unicorn horn, aurochs hoof and drac hearts, the stuff would be prohibitively out of reach of even the most well heeled research budgets. Thing is, satisf

    Reply
  70. You do realize right… that the topknot graphic is NOT a photo. Its a ray-traced 3D model + looks-like-humans mathematical dummies thrown in. Not one of them is doing something”” plausible with the shiny sub-size tokomak. Anyway”” its like it always has been: a whole lot of marketing of the Next Big Thing replete with outstanding street-creds for the blue-ribbon list of well heeled Investors and Venture Capitalists who — one presumes — will be fully and generously funding this great effort. Right?Time and time again. Same ol’ Same ol. INSOFAR as I can tell everything proposed hinges on a single development. HTS — High Temperature Superconductor.Perhaps it ought to be called “high performance superconductor” because the aspects of it that “count” towards the great expectations are:• (1) mechanical strength• (2) magnetic field tolerance• (3) substantially high magnetic field superconductivity extinction at very low operational temperatures.• (4) reasonable cost fabrication overhead ubiquity(1) is needed because super-intense magnetic fields also through the Lorentz force tend to cause the coil’s windings to push apart. Tons per square inch. (2) in a bulk sense as the magnetic field grows”” the innermost windings are under very high magnetic field intensity. This tends to “”””push the electrons”””” toward one wall (“the Hall force”)”” concentrating them to above the critical maximum-density of current might lie. Field collapses rather explosively. (3) Thing is even tho’ the moniker is “HTS → HIGH temperature superconductivity” it turns out that the superconductive properties of a few HTS materials SUBSTANTIALLY improves as the operating temperature is lowered from near-liquid-nitrogen critical-temp to near-liquid-helium temps. Like… by factors of 100× or more. (4) of course made out of unicorn horn aurochs hoof and drac hearts the stuff would be prohibitively out of reach of even the most well heeled research budge”

    Reply
  71. I understand that, unless it’s aneutronic, it’s not going to be revolutionary at all. The capital costs per MW are going to be insane, and there will still be neutrons involved, normal fusion outside stars spews out incredible neutron fluxes. What’s going to happen is that, the moment fusion starts to look practical, the watermelons who’ve been using it as the best to combat fission’s “good enough” will notice the neutrons, and oppose it. And it goes nowhere because it’s freaking expensive to do.

    Reply
  72. I understand that unless it’s aneutronic it’s not going to be revolutionary at all. The capital costs per MW are going to be insane and there will still be neutrons involved normal fusion outside stars spews out incredible neutron fluxes.What’s going to happen is that the moment fusion starts to look practical the watermelons who’ve been using it as the best to combat fission’s good enough”” will notice the neutrons”””” and oppose it. And it goes nowhere because it’s freaking expensive to do.”””

    Reply
  73. I think you might be missing some of the details about how difficult the engineering problems are. It’s not a conspiracy of oil interests. Oil will always be useful. They just can’t make it work because it takes a lot of energy input in order to produce fusion output.

    Reply
  74. I see

    If you are interested in my comment, maybe you can “reassemble” this address by adding https up front?:

    ://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/09597b104b84e91f1e31dae27c07cefbb9984224ce373d4fe4c98b503d0669c9.jpg

    Reply
  75. Throwing a billion at a producing high efficiency natural uranium/thorium capable breeder reactor would be money much better spent. You could have cheap clean power worldwide in 1-2 decades.

    Reply
  76. Throwing a billion at a producing high efficiency natural uranium/thorium capable breeder reactor would be money much better spent. You could have cheap clean power worldwide in 1-2 decades.

    Reply
  77. Give me a break. Iter is totally bureucratic with obsolete old designs, some private ventures invest some 100 millions per year in a 1,4 trillion dollar worth market,.. All that coal barons in 21 century lol,… Fusion is high tech, clean, you don’t need mountain of resources – building all that solar, coal and similar,.. It could give boost to economy with lower energy prices, cut off all that indirect expeses with deaths, health expenses from pollution,… Nuclear industy didn’t want to invest in new tech – just getting nice money per plants with old designs. Laser driven fusion is best bet in my opinion, but you need to show some interest in working fusion plants and invest money. More then couple 100 millions per year.

    Reply
  78. Energy market was worth about 1,4 trillion in 2016 and smarphone market is +- 400 billion per year.
    1 Nuclear plant can cost about 5 billion dollars,..
    And how much is invested in fusion per year? POCKET CHANGE LOL.

    Too many people would loose their source of income with fusion plants. Oil industry and cars,.. Russia and their natural gas, nuclear lobbies, all that solar, wind, coal – Koch brothers,…

    There is a very little interest for commercial working fusion reactors from people with money and power. If you invest pocket change in 1,4 or more trillion worth industry then you can’t expect results lol. Fusion power is possible, but you need to invest into it and solve the problems,.. The problem is many people with money loose their source of income with commercial working fusion reactors.

    Reply
  79. That’s one long check list… I wish the Billionaires would toss at least a little money at some of the non Tokamak alternative approaches…

    Reply
  80. That’s one long check list… I wish the Billionaires would toss at least a little money at some of the non Tokamak alternative approaches…

    Reply
  81. One thing that is meaningful about using high temperature superconductors is they don’t require the same level of insulation which means the magnets can be closer to the plasma. So perhaps it’s not the strength of field so much it’s the effectiveness of it.

    Reply
  82. One thing that is meaningful about using high temperature superconductors is they don’t require the same level of insulation which means the magnets can be closer to the plasma. So perhaps it’s not the strength of field so much it’s the effectiveness of it.

    Reply
  83. See my main comment. But “yes it’ll work” — the building of a compact, super high magnetic field survivable HTS-run-at-liquid-helium Tokomak. But… will these conditions not just drive the entrained plasma … inevitably … toward wiggly-donut instability, as all such efforts have, in the last 50+ years?

    Ah, that’s harder to say with confidence.
    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

    Reply
  84. Actually, I have reason to believe that the “focussed ion approach” is WAY more likely to produce a lot of fused deuterium and tritium when it gets going in earnest, because at least the ions in question are in beams directed at each other. By comparison, spheromaks, tokomaks, stellarators and all the rest utilize donuts of plasma, held in place by great big magnetic fields, and bearing high enough radial currents (internal to the plasma torae) to pull the really-want-to-escape super-hot plasma ions back toward the center line of the torus.

    Nice, but not terribly well directed.

    Yet, perhaps the analysis pessimism is unfounded: Dr. Farnsworth — some 70 years back — came up with a brilliantly simple idea, the so-called Farnsworth Fusor; not only did his insight yield a surprisingly simple device, but upon being charged with just deuterium, it produced prodigious neutron output demonstrating the fact that is flying ions were indeed fusing at the virtual focal point in the center.

    So simple is the apparatus that hundreds of high school physicist hopefuls have cobbled together Farnsworth Fusors.
    The “Farnsworth Fusor” idea is: 2 open concentric shells of wire, in a bell vacuum jar. The inner shell is charged negative, to attract ions (deuterium nuclei, stripped of their electrons). The outer shell, positive, helps strip electrons from the deuterium gas in the vacuum chamber.

    When the vacuum drops to 1 Torr or so, the deuterium gas ionizes and glows. Because the shells are concentric, there is a strong spherical electric field which accelerates deuterons towards the center of the concentric sphere assembly.

    Because the ions are streaming toward the same focal point, collisions are maximized. At a few kilovolts of kinetic energy are in each deuteron, which is — when converted — a few million degrees kelvin.

    At these “temperatures” deuterons have a significant probability of fusing. When they do, they create tritium and a neutron. Thus from a brightly glowing Farnsworth Fusor come billions of neutrons per second.

    Indeed… the operation of this is so intense that the experiments are NOT allowed to be run at the usual Science Fairs where they are on display. Being bathed with neutrons is no way to ensure a long life.

    The very same tech is used in atom bombs… of the “modern type” to create the initial burst of neutrons to initiate ²³⁵U or ²³⁹Pu fission in the microseconds when its inertial compression has reached the highest amount. Nothing else ever created has been made so compact, and so able to create a few thousand neutrons “right on time” within 100 nanoseconds of a targeted time. Thank you Professor Farnsworth. I guess.

    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

    Reply
  85. You do realize, right… that the topknot graphic is NOT a photo. Its a ray-traced 3D model + looks-like-humans mathematical dummies thrown in. Not one of them is “doing something” plausible with the shiny sub-size tokomak.

    Anyway, its like it always has been: a whole lot of marketing of the Next Big Thing, replete with outstanding street-creds for the blue-ribbon list of well heeled Investors and Venture Capitalists who — one presumes — will be fully and generously funding this great effort. Right?

    Time and time again.
    Same ol’, Same ol.

    INSOFAR as I can tell, everything proposed hinges on a single development.

    HTS — High Temperature Superconductor.

    Perhaps it ought to be called “high performance superconductor” because the aspects of it that “count” towards the great expectations are:

    • (1) mechanical strength
    • (2) magnetic field tolerance
    • (3) substantially high magnetic field superconductivity extinction at very low operational temperatures.
    • (4) reasonable cost, fabrication overhead, ubiquity

    (1) is needed because super-intense magnetic fields also through the Lorentz force tend to cause the coil’s windings to push apart. Tons per square inch.

    (2) in a bulk sense, as the magnetic field grows, the innermost windings are under very high magnetic field intensity. This tends to “push the electrons” toward one wall (“the Hall force”), concentrating them to above the critical maximum-density of current might lie. Field collapses, rather explosively.

    (3) Thing is, even tho’ the moniker is “HTS → HIGH temperature superconductivity”, it turns out that the superconductive properties of a few HTS materials SUBSTANTIALLY improves as the operating temperature is lowered from near-liquid-nitrogen critical-temp to near-liquid-helium temps. Like… by factors of 100× or more.

    (4) of course, made out of unicorn horn, aurochs hoof and drac hearts, the stuff would be prohibitively out of reach of even the most well heeled research budgets. Thing is, satisfying (3) and (2) and even (1) is achievable of recent out of some fairly economical HTS materials. So, “Green lights!” ahead!
    _______

    That prelim stuff aside, the use of high performance HTS then figures critically into pulling magnetic fields into much smaller volumes, yet still with intensities projected to be “critically enough” for the sustaining of intense plasmas of deuterium and tritium, to actually engage in over-investment-energy hot fusion. That’s the proposal.

    YET… for me — if I were an investor with solid physics sensibilities — I’d be asking, “well, with the super-high magnetic fields, isn’t the experiment venturing into a plasma stability space that not only hasn’t been significantly researched, but where such stretch-efforts in the past have turned up wiggly donuts of instability? Why would this venture be even slightly different?”

    And that is the point of this comment.
    Just saying,
    GoatGuy

    Reply
  86. Do a search for MIT’s spark. I was really impressed with their plans. They want to use ribbon cable. Mit’s proposal is state of the art and it really sounds like it will work.

    Reply
  87. Do a search for MIT’s spark. I was really impressed with their plans. They want to use ribbon cable. Mit’s proposal is state of the art and it really sounds like it will work.

    Reply
  88. I understand that, unless it’s aneutronic, it’s not going to be revolutionary at all. The capital costs per MW are going to be insane, and there will still be neutrons involved, normal fusion outside stars spews out incredible neutron fluxes.

    What’s going to happen is that, the moment fusion starts to look practical, the watermelons who’ve been using it as the best to combat fission’s “good enough” will notice the neutrons, and oppose it. And it goes nowhere because it’s freaking expensive to do.

    Reply
  89. Throwing a billion at a producing high efficiency natural uranium/thorium capable breeder reactor would be money much better spent. You could have cheap clean power worldwide in 1-2 decades.

    Reply
  90. One thing that is meaningful about using high temperature superconductors is they don’t require the same level of insulation which means the magnets can be closer to the plasma. So perhaps it’s not the strength of field so much it’s the effectiveness of it.

    Reply

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