Author Topic: Fusion Power in 5 years?  (Read 1813 times)

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Offline Andrew

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Fusion Power in 5 years?
« on: October 03, 2013, 05:30:25 PM »
http://www.dvice.com/2013-2-22/lockheeds-skunk-works-promises-fusion-power-four-years

I don't know if anyone else has seen this but it looks interesting. More credible than most of the claims to be able to produce working fusion powerplants
 

Offline HaliRyan

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 05:37:04 AM »
I'd love for it to be true, and for them to pull it off, but I'd bet the house that they won't.
 

Offline MarcAFK

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2013, 06:18:27 AM »
I think It's more likely that NASA will get that fusion rocket going before any large-scale power-plant prototype manages to break even.
And if not, I still think the cost of getting duterium for the near future will rather limit the application to more expensive applications like warships and rockets, etc, at least compared to more conventional energy generation.
" Why is this godforsaken hellhole worth dying for? "
". . .  We know nothing about them, their language, their history or what they look like.  But we can assume this.  They stand for everything we don't stand for.  Also they told me you guys look like dorks. "
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Offline TallTroll

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2013, 10:47:57 AM »
A semi-commercial fusion reactor is being built in France right now. It's designed for 500MW/50MW, 1000s pulse, so not really ready to take up duty as a main source of power, but its only a matter of time now.
 

Offline Paul M

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2013, 12:57:27 PM »
Uhm...

ITER (the experiment in Cadarache, France) is not a reactor.  It is not "semi-commerical" it is an expirment test bed to show proof of princple things about fusion power generation.  It has no ability to generate power at all.  It is designed to demonstrate Q=10, and while ignition is sort of a "stretch goal" it is not in the planning.  The pulse length should be 3600 seconds (at least we in the NNBI community have been pressed to develop a 3600 s injector system).

ITER is the first step machine, with the next step DEMO (a demonstraton commercial plant) to come...well depending on which road map one looks at...say 10-30 years after ITER.

I am dubious in the extreme of any claim by anyone that they will be bringing electricity generated by fusion before that.  The people in the business aren't stupid and ITER isn't being built because alternatives that are viable exist.  While it is possible someone might come up with something out of the box on this it is at this point unlikely.  I've seen a Ph.D. thesis that analysesed a lot of alternatives and the result of the analysis was basically that the magnetic confinement of a deuterium-tritium fuel mix is the probably the best choice due to energetics.

But there are a lot of technical hurdles between what we have now and comercial fusion power.  But because they are largely just technical issues I'm fairly confident that they will get resolved.  I'm not aware of any basic physics that says a stellerator or tokamak based reactor would not work, leaving aside the question of "how well."  Keep in mind that the only working fusion device in our neighborhood is our sun, and it is working based on the two weakest forces in the universe and the fact it is huge.  So it isn't a case of reproduction but doing the same thing in a completely different manner...and that is a lot more complicated.
 

Offline schroeam

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2013, 08:34:20 PM »
The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was breaking even (power out = power in) with their laser based fusion power before the government shutdown halted their production.  They are currently the furthest along of all the fusion experiments.  Even so, the estimates are decades away for commercial use.
 

Offline MarcAFK

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2013, 01:04:09 AM »
The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was breaking even (power out = power in) with their laser based fusion power before the government shutdown halted their production.  They are currently the furthest along of all the fusion experiments.  Even so, the estimates are decades away for commercial use.
To be somewhat more specific the facility achieved more power out than the amount absorbed by the fuel from the lasers, which is a huge milestone, but there was still more energy used with magnetic confinement and also the waste heat from the lasers. So technically break even is still far off.
" Why is this godforsaken hellhole worth dying for? "
". . .  We know nothing about them, their language, their history or what they look like.  But we can assume this.  They stand for everything we don't stand for.  Also they told me you guys look like dorks. "
"Stop exploding, you cowards.  "
 

Offline TallTroll

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2013, 04:48:35 AM »
>>  It is designed to demonstrate Q=10

... Exactly. More out than in is pretty much the definition of a "commercial" system, and since ITER isn't planned to be hooked into the grid, I therefore characterised it as "semi-commercial". If (and that's still a pretty big "if") it works as planned, and it doesn't leak alpha particles and tritium into the world, and doesn't suffer huge neutron bombardment degradation, it will simply be scaled up and be used as the pattern for DEMO / PROTO.

Then again, if Lockheed really can start churning out viable 100MW units on a factory production line inside a decade or so, all bets are off. No-one is going to be too interested in building expensive large-scale plants for anything other than research purposes if you can just order generating capacity off the shelf
 

Offline Andrew

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2013, 05:28:58 PM »
I was somewhat surprised by the Lockheed announcement as I knew about ITER and expected that to be the somewhat long path forward. It  will be interesting to see what happens
 

Offline Father Tim

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2018, 05:51:40 PM »
I'd love for it to be true, and for them to pull it off, but I'd bet the house that they won't.

So-o-o. . .  about your house:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/19652/lockheed-martin-now-has-a-patent-for-its-potentially-world-changing-fusion-reactor
 

Offline Erik Luken

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2018, 05:58:10 PM »
 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2018, 07:25:40 AM »
I'd love for it to be true, and for them to pull it off, but I'd bet the house that they won't.

So-o-o. . .  about your house:

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/19652/lockheed-martin-now-has-a-patent-for-its-potentially-world-changing-fusion-reactor

My takeaway from the article is that this is an example of how broken the US patent system is.  The triggering event for the article is that the patent was finally granted, after being filed ~early 2014, i.e. 4 years.  Other than a comment that maybe Lockheed's been talking about the project in plasma physics circles, this appears to be a rehash of what Lockheed claimed back then.

And just because USPTO awarded a patent for it doesn't mean it will actually work :)

John
 

Offline Iranon

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 03:41:47 PM »
The estimated time until fusion power has remained constant for quite some time...
 

Offline captain_carrot

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2018, 05:40:46 PM »
The joke I heard from my nuclear engineering professor was that it's been "Fusion Power in 5 Years" for the last 30 years or so ;)
 

Offline sloanjh

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Re: Fusion Power in 5 years?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2018, 07:04:29 PM »
The joke I heard from my nuclear engineering professor was that it's been "Fusion Power in 5 Years" for the last 30 years or so ;)

When I was applying for college, my dad called one of his frat buddies who worked on fusion.  He told my dad it was 20 years off.  In 1978.  I've always seen an ETA of 20 years, so 5 years is a big increase in optimism :)

John
 

 

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