Helion Energy got funding for possible breakeven fusion device this year

Helion Energy has successfully raised $30 million raised in the past three years will be enough to get Helion through the debut of its 50-megwatt break-even nuclear fusion prototype.

Helion’s commercial strategy is to build fusion reactors in Washington, with capacity of about 50 megawatts, and deploy them at industrial facilities.

Helion Energy is building the latest in a series of prototype generators. They are building full-scale, break-even-or-better that is to be ready in 2018. They have raised enough capital to get it through that stage, Kirtley says, and April, 2018 brought on its 24th employee.
They are targeting generating power at 4 cents per kilowatt-hour.

In 2015, Nextbigfuture reported that Helion Energy had raised $10.6 million in funding.

The company disclosed the funds in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Helion planned to raise more than $21 million total in the continuing round.

In 2018, Helion reported its fifth-generation plasma machine, nicknamed Venti (as in a Starbucks coffee cup size), went into operation in 2017. “Venti aims to compress a plasma target to 20 Tesla and to fusion temperatures,” Kirtley said in a follow-up email.

The sixth-generation machine (Trenta?) is already being designed. And Kirtley expects the seventh-generation machine to hit net energy gain. Just don’t ask him when. “We’re working on it,” he said.

Nextbigfuture interviewed Helion Energy CEO David Kirtley in 2014. An NSF, NASA, and DOD fellow, Dr. Kirtley has 13 years of experience in nuclear engineering, fusion, and aerospace and holds Nuclear and Aerospace Engineering degrees from the University of Michigan. He leads the MSNW propulsion research and development, serves as Helion’s CEO, and has raised and managed many high technology programs.

Helion Energy is trying to achieve commercial Magneto-Inertial Fusion. This combines the stability of steady magnetic fusion and the heating of pulsed inertial fusion, a commercially practical system has been realized that is smaller and lower cost than existing programs. Helion Energy will be magnetically accelerating plasmas together and then compressing them once per second.

David indicated a breakeven fusion machine would need about $35 million in funding. Seattle Business reports that Helion has raised the money and will complete this targeting breakeven machine this year. There was a two or three-year delay to get the funds.

Shifting the dates discussed in 2015. If all goes well this year then Helion Energy machine that proves commercial energy gain would be a 50 Megawatt system built in 2021. $200 million would be needed for the commercial pilot plant. The plan would be to start building commercial systems by 2024. Funding seems to be main issue maintaining the dates and currently Helion Energy is not committing to dates.

Helion is creating technology it calls “The Fusion Engine,” which would use helium from engine exhaust, according to the company’s website. The helium, along with deuterium fuel from seawater, would be heated to become plasma and then compressed with magnetic fields to reach fusion temperature, which is more than 100 million degrees.

Helion Energy will investigate staged magnetic compression of field-reversed configuration (FRC) plasmas, building on past successes to develop a prototype that can attain higher temperatures and fuel density than previously possible. The team will use these results to assess the viability of scaling to a power reactor, which if successful would offer the benefits of simple linear geometry, attractive scaling, and compatibility with modern pulsed power electronics.

Key Benefits of Helion’s Approach

* Magneto-Inertial Fusion: By combining the stability of steady magnetic fusion and the heating of pulsed inertial fusion, a commercially practical system has been realized that is smaller and lower cost than existing programs.
* Modular, Distributed Power: A container-sized, 50 MW module for baseload power generation.
* Self-Supplied Helium 3 Fusion: Pulsed, D-He3 fusion simplifies the engineering of a fusion power plant, lowers costs, and is even cleaner than traditional fusion.
* Magnetic Compression: Fuel is compressed and heated purely by magnetic fields operated with modern solid state electronics. This eliminates inefficient, expensive laser, piston, or beam techniques used by other fusion approaches.
* Direct Energy Conversion: Enabled by pulsed operation, efficient direct conversion decreases plant costs and fusion’s engineering challenges.
* Safe: With no possibility of melt-down, or hazardous nuclear waste, fusion does not suffer the drawbacks that make fission an unattractive alternative.

Previously there was talk about creating a fusion engine to help burn fission waste (unburned fission fuel). It would need to produce a lot of neutrons. This turned out to be more difficult and less practical.

The work indicates that aneutronic Helium 3 – Deuterium is the best path forward.

2D+3He→ 4He+ 1p+ 18.3 MeV

Prototypes every two years

Another view of the fourth prototype

Tri-alpha Energy’s system looks similar to Helion Energy. What is similar and different ?

Tri-alpha energy also creates and merges plasmoids. However, Tri-alpha sustains the merged plasmoids with colliding beams.

Helion Energy will be magnetically accelerating plasmas together and then compressing them once per second.

What recent technological advances have helped Helion Energy ?

Newly available electronics technologies have enabled a revolutionary design to make fusion a commercial reality. The power switching electronics in Wind turbines and in other energy systems helps Helion Energy.

In the future if better superconducting batteries and materials are created it would allow improved Helion Energy reactors that are smaller and more powerful. Current technology is sufficient for the 2019 2021 design. It is a matter of engineering the details correctly.

How does the University of Washington, MSNW LLC and Helion Energy work fit together ?

University of Washington is where the basic scientific research is done.
MSNW LLC is for the SBIR and other grant work and to prove out work that could potentially be commercialized.
Helion Energy is for the commercial venture funded nuclear fusion development.

Helion plans to substantially improve their Fusion Engine for 2016 2018 and have commercially capable system by 20192021

The dots on the graph, HF 2012 (Helion Fusion 2012) and IPA HF 2013 (Inductive Plasma Accelerator High Field 2013) are their prototype performance. They want to get the 10 tesla performance about 20 times better for the breakeven 20162018device. They will go to 12 tesla for the 20192021 version.

The vertical axis is the poloidal flux

Ge on the graph is the gain. So Helion energy is at about 20% now. Targeting between 1 and 2 in 20162018 and a gain of 10 in 20192021.

Helion Energy’s approach will be 10 times faster and 1000 times cheaper than ITER

Helion Energy came up with a new approach and by leveraging $5M from the Department of Energy they proved the technology in a series of breakthrough prototypes that are generating Deuterium-Deuterium fusion today at a small scale. This success gave them a significant technical lead over their competitors and, with additional backing from Mithril Capital (Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan’s firm) and Y Combinator, they increased performance by a factor of 25.

Helion’s technology operates in a promising new region, midway between steady magnetic and inertial fusion. The Fusion Engine works like a diesel engine with electromagnets in place of moving pistons. Fuel is injected and compressed with magnetic fields. It fuses and the expanding particle energy is directly converted to electricity, pulsing once per second.

Helion’s Fusion Engine, if it works, will not produce radioactive waste and will not put Carbon into the atmosphere. It will be safer than nuclear fission, will only require plentiful Deuterium as a new fuel input (Helium-3 is captured and reused), and will end energy dependence on other nations.

This wouldn’t have been possible ten years ago. Recent advancements in high power electronics, developed for space propulsion and the smart grid, is what enable Helion’s Fusion Engine.

There are four major private companies competing in the fusion space. Helion’s reaction is 1000 times easier to achieve than the reactions other clean fusion companies are pursuing. Helion’s pulsed approach enables us to take advantage of advanced Helium-3 fuels and by capturing the alpha particle energy directly the company eliminates the need for steam turbines and cooling towers (and the associated energy losses).

By capitalizing on small, pulsed magnetic, fusion Helion can reach profitable energy generation in a fraction of the time and cost. Helion plans to reach breakeven energy generation in less than three years with just a few tens of millions of dollars; this is nearly 10 times faster and more than 1000 times cheaper than ITER.

Independent estimates are that Helion’s wholesale electricity will be approximately 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, which means electricity could be sold to consumers for around 4 cents.

Competitive Advantage

Helion Energy is uniquely qualified to succeed in bringing the Fusion Engine to market:
* Helion’s technology is the only proven, practical, reactor assembly in existence with greater fusion output than any private competitor.
* The Fusion Engine was designed from the ground up to be a competitive commercial device, yet is based on demonstrated physics, technologies and Helion’s patented scientific breakthrough.
* The world-renowned scientific and technical team has a deep knowledge of the science, and unique experience in the technologies and the scales required for a commercial reactor.
* The science of the Fusion Engine has been rigorously demonstrated and peer-reviewed.
* Helion has radically reduced risk by validating the technology with over $5 M in DOE funding.
* The Fusion Engine is compact (semi-truck sized) will be able to generate lower cost electricity than current baseload power sources.
* The management team won the 2013 National Cleantech Open Energy Generation competition and awards at the 2014 ARPA-E Future Energy Startup competition.

Revenue Model

Helion Energy’s long-term strategy is to generate revenue based on a royalty model of electricity produced with projected electricity prices of 40-60 $/MWhr (4 to 6 cents per kwh). Penetration of the new capacity market is estimated at 20% of market growth (2.5%) per annum eventually reaching 50% of new power generation worldwide – $52 B/yr. Gradual displacement of existing plants provides for continued growth to 20% of world electrical generation after 20 years with a net return of over $300 billion.

74 thoughts on “Helion Energy got funding for possible breakeven fusion device this year”

  1. 2D + 2D gives you one of these two reactions (50% of the time): -> 3T + 1p + ~4.03 MeV -> 4He + n + ~5.27 MeV And now you know where Tritium babies comes from in a Helion reactor! 🙂

    Reply
  2. 2D + 2D gives you one of these two reactions (50{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of the time):-> 3T + 1p + ~4.03 MeV-> 4He + n + ~5.27 MeVAnd now you know where Tritium babies comes from in a Helion reactor! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Researchers don’t want to sound ridiculous or make absurd claims their data doesn’t support…” EXCEPT: when whoring for guvmint grant money for fusion, cow flatulence studies and global warming.

    Reply
  4. Researchers don’t want to sound ridiculous or make absurd claims their data doesn’t support…””EXCEPT: when whoring for guvmint grant money for fusion”””” cow flatulence studies and global warming.”””

    Reply
  5. For those interested, here is a presentation from the Alpha annual review meeting from August 2017. It shows the gain curves and where they were at (or were planning to go) with Venti back then. This graph also has an explanation underneath, which might help some people understand what it means (poloidal flux vs B) I guess that they met their targets (or got sufficiently close) and that this is why they got funding for the full scale device. https://arpa-e.energy.gov/sites/default/files/05_KIRTLEY.pdf

    Reply
  6. For those interested here is a presentation from the Alpha annual review meeting from August 2017. It shows the gain curves and where they were at (or were planning to go) with Venti back then. This graph also has an explanation underneath which might help some people understand what it means (poloidal flux vs B)I guess that they met their targets (or got sufficiently close) and that this is why they got funding for the full scale device.https://arpa-e.energy.gov/sites/default/files/05_KIRTLEY.pdf

    Reply
  7. Don’t forget that the reactor is pulsed and not steady state. That means that they can remove the fusion products between shots and separate them. The tritium would either go into storage until it decays to He3 or could be sold. Tritium is so much more expensive than He3 right now, that selling it and buying He3 in return would actually make a profit. Granted that will probably change once these reactors become more wide spread and demand for He3 goes up. But the first to operate these reactors could probably make some extra profit that way and simplify operations (no need for long term Tritium storage). By the time Tritium prices go down and He3 prices go up, there might be improved and more finely tuned versions of these reactors that have a higher Q. So later adopters will probably benefit from that. Either way, pretty exciting prospects there.

    Reply
  8. Don’t forget that the reactor is pulsed and not steady state. That means that they can remove the fusion products between shots and separate them. The tritium would either go into storage until it decays to He3 or could be sold. Tritium is so much more expensive than He3 right now that selling it and buying He3 in return would actually make a profit. Granted that will probably change once these reactors become more wide spread and demand for He3 goes up. But the first to operate these reactors could probably make some extra profit that way and simplify operations (no need for long term Tritium storage).By the time Tritium prices go down and He3 prices go up there might be improved and more finely tuned versions of these reactors that have a higher Q. So later adopters will probably benefit from that. Either way pretty exciting prospects there.

    Reply
  9. Fusion-boosted-fission incorporating Lithium-6 Deuteride breeds tritium upon neutron bombardment. Lithium-7 thought initially to be inert actually boosted a 1950’s test from a design 5-7 Mt to over 15 Mt. Observers in the instrument blockhouse did survive. Those on the ships went oh-&#$! Alpha particle bombardment! Who knew!

    Reply
  10. Fusion-boosted-fission incorporating Lithium-6 Deuteride breeds tritium upon neutron bombardment. Lithium-7 thought initially to be inert actually boosted a 1950’s test from a design 5-7 Mt to over 15 Mt. Observers in the instrument blockhouse did survive. Those on the ships went oh-&#$! Alpha particle bombardment! Who knew!

    Reply
  11. It purposely produces tritium. It’s a hybrid D-D/D-He3 reaction, with the D-D producing He3 half the time, and the other half producing tritium, which decays to He3 with a 12-year half life. The tritium is a critical part of its fuel cycle. They say the hybrid reaction produces only 6% of its energy as neutron radiation. Tritium is useless for weapons unless you already have fission bombs. If you already have fission, you can easily produce tritium by breeding it from lithium. If you have cheap fusion, then it’s harder to justify building a fission infrastructure.

    Reply
  12. It purposely produces tritium. It’s a hybrid D-D/D-He3 reaction with the D-D producing He3 half the time and the other half producing tritium which decays to He3 with a 12-year half life. The tritium is a critical part of its fuel cycle. They say the hybrid reaction produces only 6{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of its energy as neutron radiation.Tritium is useless for weapons unless you already have fission bombs. If you already have fission you can easily produce tritium by breeding it from lithium. If you have cheap fusion then it’s harder to justify building a fission infrastructure.

    Reply
  13. 2D + 2D gives you one of these two reactions (50% of the time):

    -> 3T + 1p + ~4.03 MeV

    -> 4He + n + ~5.27 MeV

    And now you know where Tritium babies comes from in a Helion reactor! 🙂

    Reply
  14. “Researchers don’t want to sound ridiculous or make absurd claims their data doesn’t support…”

    EXCEPT: when whoring for guvmint grant money for fusion, cow flatulence studies and global warming.

    Reply
  15. For those interested, here is a presentation from the Alpha annual review meeting from August 2017. It shows the gain curves and where they were at (or were planning to go) with Venti back then. This graph also has an explanation underneath, which might help some people understand what it means (poloidal flux vs B)
    I guess that they met their targets (or got sufficiently close) and that this is why they got funding for the full scale device.
    https://arpa-e.energy.gov/sites/default/files/05_KIRTLEY.pdf

    Reply
  16. Don’t forget that the reactor is pulsed and not steady state. That means that they can remove the fusion products between shots and separate them. The tritium would either go into storage until it decays to He3 or could be sold. Tritium is so much more expensive than He3 right now, that selling it and buying He3 in return would actually make a profit. Granted that will probably change once these reactors become more wide spread and demand for He3 goes up. But the first to operate these reactors could probably make some extra profit that way and simplify operations (no need for long term Tritium storage).
    By the time Tritium prices go down and He3 prices go up, there might be improved and more finely tuned versions of these reactors that have a higher Q. So later adopters will probably benefit from that. Either way, pretty exciting prospects there.

    Reply
  17. Fusion-boosted-fission incorporating Lithium-6 Deuteride breeds tritium upon neutron bombardment.

    Lithium-7 thought initially to be inert actually boosted a 1950’s test from a design 5-7 Mt to over 15 Mt. Observers in the instrument blockhouse did survive. Those on the ships went oh-&#$! Alpha particle bombardment! Who knew!

    Reply
  18. The fear factor rules. The public still lives in 1979’s “China Syndrome.” Investors, even if realistic about the technical risks have to deal with the reality of a fantasy-driven public.

    Reply
  19. The fear factor rules. The public still lives in 1979’s China Syndrome.”” Investors”””” even if realistic about the technical risks have to deal with the reality of a fantasy-driven public.”””

    Reply
  20. It purposely produces tritium. It’s a hybrid D-D/D-He3 reaction, with the D-D producing He3 half the time, and the other half producing tritium, which decays to He3 with a 12-year half life. The tritium is a critical part of its fuel cycle. They say the hybrid reaction produces only 6% of its energy as neutron radiation.

    Tritium is useless for weapons unless you already have fission bombs. If you already have fission, you can easily produce tritium by breeding it from lithium. If you have cheap fusion, then it’s harder to justify building a fission infrastructure.

    Reply
  21. The safety requirements are a reason why nuclear is currently priced out of the market. So yes they’re doing a great job re:safety compared to the alternatives, but they would do it much more cheaply if fission required no babysitting and over-engineering.

    Reply
  22. The safety requirements are a reason why nuclear is currently priced out of the market. So yes they’re doing a great job re:safety compared to the alternatives but they would do it much more cheaply if fission required no babysitting and over-engineering.

    Reply
  23. This reactor can not operate on a solely deuterium-helium3 cycle, be aneutronic, and not produce nuclear waste. Some fusion reactions in it will be neutronic, some will not. Some reactions will be D+He3, some will not. The reactor will produce a lot of tritium, a strong beta emitter with a half life of 12.3 years, popular with fusion bomb makers.

    Reply
  24. This reactor can not operate on a solely deuterium-helium3 cycle be aneutronic and not produce nuclear waste.Some fusion reactions in it will be neutronic some will not. Some reactions will be D+He3 some will not. The reactor will produce a lot of tritium a strong beta emitter with a half life of 12.3 years popular with fusion bomb makers.

    Reply
  25. So in 1 400 000 million(1,4 trillion or so) yearly energy market with 1 nuclear reactor costing 5000 million or more a company has managed to get 30 million of founding what is about 0.002 percent of total market worth was invested in founding for this fusion approach.And they seem to have to try hard to get this 0.002 percent. If 1 nuclear reactor costs 5000 million or more 30 million is about 0,6 percent. So 0,6 percent of 1 nuclear reactor cost was invested in founding for this fusion approach, they had to try very hard it seems for 0,6 percent of value of 1 nuclear reactor, 30 mil out of 5000. Why work so hard against fusion? Could they try harder? It is simple math, simple numbers.

    Reply
  26. So in 1 400 000 million(14 trillion or so) yearly energy market with 1 nuclear reactor costing 5000 million or more a company has managed to get 30 million of founding what is about 0.002 percent of total market worth was invested in founding for this fusion approach.And they seem to have to try hard to get this 0.002 percent. If 1 nuclear reactor costs 5000 million or more 30 million is about 06 percent. So 06 percent of 1 nuclear reactor cost was invested in founding for this fusion approach they had to try very hard it seems for 06 percent of value of 1 nuclear reactor 30 mil out of 5000. Why work so hard against fusion? Could they try harder? It is simple math simple numbers.

    Reply
  27. It will be safer than nuclear fission” So what? Fission is already safer that any other energy source. Which has been well documented in this blog.

    Reply
  28. It will be safer than nuclear fission””So what? Fission is already safer that any other energy source.Which has been well documented in this blog.”””

    Reply
  29. A machine that can fuse D+He3 can also fuse D+D. D+D produces a Helion and a neutron in one branch and a Triton and a proton in the other. Since the machine is pulsed, the parameters can be tuned so that very little of the Tritium will fuse in the current pulse. It will end up in the exhaust, where it can be separated from the Helium3. The He3 can be fed back into the machine as fuel. The Tritium has a half life of 12 years when it will beta decay into more He3. Though at the current prices, it may be more economic to just sell the Tritium and buy more He3 and make a profit. Though that may change as demand for He3 goes up.

    Reply
  30. A machine that can fuse D+He3 can also fuse D+D. D+D produces a Helion and a neutron in one branch and a Triton and a proton in the other. Since the machine is pulsed the parameters can be tuned so that very little of the Tritium will fuse in the current pulse. It will end up in the exhaust where it can be separated from the Helium3. The He3 can be fed back into the machine as fuel. The Tritium has a half life of 12 years when it will beta decay into more He3. Though at the current prices it may be more economic to just sell the Tritium and buy more He3 and make a profit. Though that may change as demand for He3 goes up.

    Reply
  31. I think you mean “every blogger”. Researchers don’t want to sound ridiculous or make absurd claims their data doesn’t support, so when I worked in fusion physics, nobody ever claimed that.

    Reply
  32. I think you mean every blogger””. Researchers don’t want to sound ridiculous or make absurd claims their data doesn’t support”” so when I worked in fusion physics”” nobody ever claimed that.”””

    Reply
  33. Most experiments don’t attempt breakeven. They know they’re nowhere near the temperature/density/confinement time required, they’re just trying to learn stuff. This one will attempt breakeven. Personally I think that’s pretty interesting information.

    Reply
  34. Most experiments don’t attempt breakeven. They know they’re nowhere near the temperature/density/confinement time required they’re just trying to learn stuff.This one will attempt breakeven. Personally I think that’s pretty interesting information.

    Reply
  35. I’m glad that they continue to proceed with trying and testing new methods fusion will eventually happen. What I am tired of is every researcher stating the they will be at “break even” in (fill in the blank) been listening to this garbage for 40 years. Please tell us when you get to the break even not when you project it. You have a terrible track record at this prediction.

    Reply
  36. I’m glad that they continue to proceed with trying and testing new methods fusion will eventually happen.What I am tired of is every researcher stating the they will be at break even”” in (fill in the blank) been listening to this garbage for 40 years. Please tell us when you get to the break even not when you project it. You have a terrible track record at this prediction.”””

    Reply
  37. The fear factor rules. The public still lives in 1979’s “China Syndrome.” Investors, even if realistic about the technical risks have to deal with the reality of a fantasy-driven public.

    Reply
  38. From D-D, which half the time produces He3, and the other half produces tritium (which decays to He3). It’s really a hybrid D-D/D-He3 reactor. They say the combined reaction produces 6% of its energy as neutron radiation.

    Reply
  39. From D-D which half the time produces He3 and the other half produces tritium (which decays to He3). It’s really a hybrid D-D/D-He3 reactor. They say the combined reaction produces 6{22800fc54956079738b58e74e4dcd846757aa319aad70fcf90c97a58f3119a12} of its energy as neutron radiation.

    Reply
  40. So if 2D + 3He = 4He + 1p + 18.3 MeV, where are they getting the 3He? It says from the exhaust, but surely if they are only producing it from unspecified side reactions that can’t be sustainable?

    Reply
  41. So if 2D + 3He = 4He + 1p + 18.3 MeV where are they getting the 3He? It says from the exhaust but surely if they are only producing it from unspecified side reactions that can’t be sustainable?

    Reply
  42. The safety requirements are a reason why nuclear is currently priced out of the market. So yes they’re doing a great job re:safety compared to the alternatives, but they would do it much more cheaply if fission required no babysitting and over-engineering.

    Reply
  43. No, those lines are lines of constant gain — as the blobs representing the devices move towards the upper right they cross these isometric lines and $G_E$ improves. The gain seems to be proportional to $B_e log varphi_p$.

    Reply
  44. No those lines are lines of constant gain — as the blobs representing the devices move towards the upper right they cross these isometric lines and $G_E$ improves. The gain seems to be proportional to $B_e \log \varphi_p$.”

    Reply
  45. I don’t get the graph lines – gain is projected to be better at LOWER magnetic field strength? Anyone able to explain what the left axis represents, assuming that’s not the case?

    Reply
  46. I don’t get the graph lines – gain is projected to be better at LOWER magnetic field strength? Anyone able to explain what the left axis represents assuming that’s not the case?

    Reply
  47. This reactor can not operate on a solely deuterium-helium3 cycle, be aneutronic, and not produce nuclear waste.
    Some fusion reactions in it will be neutronic, some will not. Some reactions will be D+He3, some will not.
    The reactor will produce a lot of tritium, a strong beta emitter with a half life of 12.3 years, popular with fusion bomb makers.

    Reply
  48. So in 1 400 000 million(1,4 trillion or so) yearly energy market with 1 nuclear reactor costing 5000 million or more a company has managed to get 30 million of founding what is about 0.002 percent of total market worth was invested in founding for this fusion approach.And they seem to have to try hard to get this 0.002 percent.

    If 1 nuclear reactor costs 5000 million or more 30 million is about 0,6 percent. So 0,6 percent of 1 nuclear reactor cost was invested in founding for this fusion approach, they had to try very hard it seems for 0,6 percent of value of 1 nuclear reactor, 30 mil out of 5000. Why work so hard against fusion? Could they try harder? It is simple math, simple numbers.

    Reply
  49. A machine that can fuse D+He3 can also fuse D+D. D+D produces a Helion and a neutron in one branch and a Triton and a proton in the other. Since the machine is pulsed, the parameters can be tuned so that very little of the Tritium will fuse in the current pulse. It will end up in the exhaust, where it can be separated from the Helium3. The He3 can be fed back into the machine as fuel. The Tritium has a half life of 12 years when it will beta decay into more He3. Though at the current prices, it may be more economic to just sell the Tritium and buy more He3 and make a profit. Though that may change as demand for He3 goes up.

    Reply
  50. I think you mean “every blogger”. Researchers don’t want to sound ridiculous or make absurd claims their data doesn’t support, so when I worked in fusion physics, nobody ever claimed that.

    Reply
  51. Most experiments don’t attempt breakeven. They know they’re nowhere near the temperature/density/confinement time required, they’re just trying to learn stuff.

    This one will attempt breakeven. Personally I think that’s pretty interesting information.

    Reply
  52. I’m glad that they continue to proceed with trying and testing new methods fusion will eventually happen.
    What I am tired of is every researcher stating the they will be at “break even” in (fill in the blank) been listening to this garbage for 40 years. Please tell us when you get to the break even not when you project it. You have a terrible track record at this prediction.

    Reply
  53. From D-D, which half the time produces He3, and the other half produces tritium (which decays to He3). It’s really a hybrid D-D/D-He3 reactor. They say the combined reaction produces 6% of its energy as neutron radiation.

    Reply
  54. So if 2D + 3He = 4He + 1p + 18.3 MeV, where are they getting the 3He? It says from the exhaust, but surely if they are only producing it from unspecified side reactions that can’t be sustainable?

    Reply
  55. No, those lines are lines of constant gain — as the blobs representing the devices move towards the upper right they cross these isometric lines and $G_E$ improves. The gain seems to be proportional to $B_e \log \varphi_p$.

    Reply
  56. I don’t get the graph lines – gain is projected to be better at LOWER magnetic field strength? Anyone able to explain what the left axis represents, assuming that’s not the case?

    Reply

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