EMC2 news

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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ladajo
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby ladajo » Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:16 am

Don't believe everything you hear from John Slough. Maybe you should ask yourself where are the high end plasma physicists on his team. Why aren't they there?
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)
What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

Skipjack
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby Skipjack » Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:24 am

ladajo wrote:Don't believe everything you hear from John Slough. Maybe you should ask yourself where are the high end plasma physicists on his team. Why aren't they there?

I dont know what you are going, ladajo but I think that the people on the Helion team are competent enough as it is. They have almost 100 years of experience in this field and have published countless papers on plasma physics, nuclear fusion and related fields. Their work has been vetted by ARPA- E, the DOE and the DOD. So I would be very careful with discrediting them like that.
But hey, I am just a stupid software engineer. How would could I possibly know anything about all of this? ;)

crowberry
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby crowberry » Sat Sep 12, 2015 10:24 am

The situation is quite interesting indeed. One should not forget that EMC2 has been funded by the Navy in 2014 and 2015, but the results in the recent PRX paper were actually from 2013. Getting new funding is obviously a top priority for EMC2, but still they have had two years to work with their current equipment, so I wonder if progress has been made during that time?

The previous paper by Helion Energy is from 2011 and they have been doing experiments with their present devices and planning for their next ones as wells as getting funding at the same time. So HE looks to be in a good position at least currently. How their device(s) will scale up remains to be seen.

Tri Alpha Energy has made an interesting step forward and it will be nice to see when the results get published and follow the next steps in scaling up the experiments.

General Fusion is working with figuring out how to compress the plasmoid in a smooth and efficient fashion to figure out how to build the prototype reactor.

LPPF is currently running with the tungsten electrode. If they have solved the plasma contamination issues then the next shots could be really interesting...

Tokamak Energy is doing interesting and good work and they have the largest base of previous knowledge to work on. They plan to operate on a similar time scale as the others so they are also a strong player in the race.

Skipjack
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby Skipjack » Sat Sep 12, 2015 2:08 pm

crowberry wrote:The previous paper by Helion Energy is from 2011 and they have been doing experiments with their present devices and planning for their next ones as wells as getting funding at the same time. So HE looks to be in a good position at least currently. How their device(s) will scale up remains to be seen.

They have had several new experiments since then, some of them for scaling up as well.

ladajo
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby ladajo » Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:07 pm

Skipjack wrote:
ladajo wrote:Don't believe everything you hear from John Slough. Maybe you should ask yourself where are the high end plasma physicists on his team. Why aren't they there?

I dont know what you are going, ladajo but I think that the people on the Helion team are competent enough as it is. They have almost 100 years of experience in this field and have published countless papers on plasma physics, nuclear fusion and related fields. Their work has been vetted by ARPA- E, the DOE and the DOD. So I would be very careful with discrediting them like that.
But hey, I am just a stupid software engineer. How would could I possibly know anything about all of this? ;)


I think you have drunk too much of the Slough marketing cool-aid. You should base your thoughts on more that a bullet header from the Helion web page.
You are apparently also lacking in understanding who the leaders in plasma physics research really are.
Go find a top 20 guy and ask him what he thinks of Slough and his team.
I am not saying they are dumb, just that the team is not top tier, and that for all the hoopla, folks should ask themselves why not.
For instance, what do you really know about George Voutrobek? Or Chris Pihl? How much salt are you taking when reading Slough's actual detailed research resume?
How do these guys know each other? Why aren't there others who are older / more experienced / from other places on the team? How did they hook up with Dave Kirtley? What does he really know about plasma fusion research?
If you want to hang your hat on a team with some bench depth, you should be thinking about Tri-Alpha. The behind the scenes lineup there is really impressive.

It is called critical thinking.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

ladajo
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby ladajo » Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:19 pm

For those who didn't see this before;
Bob Hirsch covers the bases IRT ITER, he hits on everthing we have hit on here. Take it a step further, and apply the same thinking pattern to other projects.
The two top issues remain relevant: Plasma Stability, Materials.

http://issues.org/31-4/fusion-research-time-to-set-a-new-path/
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

Skipjack
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby Skipjack » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:16 am

ladajo wrote:You are apparently also lacking in understanding who the leaders in plasma physics research really are.
Go find a top 20 guy and ask him what he thinks of Slough and his team.
I am not saying they are dumb, just that the team is not top tier, and that for all the hoopla, folks should ask themselves why not.
For instance, what do you really know about George Votroubek? Or Chris Pihl? How much salt are you taking when reading Slough's actual detailed research resume?
How do these guys know each other? Why aren't there others who are older / more experienced / from other places on the team? How did they hook up with Dave Kirtley? What does he really know about plasma fusion research?

I don't quite know what grain of salt I need to take with John Slough's research resume. He is a professor at UW and he has published papers on plasma research since the early 80ies.
George Votroubek, David Kirtley and John Slough had been working at MSNW LLC together for many years prior to Helion. Votroubek has been cited in publications for over 15 years. Kirtley has similar experience.
At MSNW they were together doing experiments with various fusion reactor designs, among other things like fusion driven rocket, ELF, EMPT, etc. They considered several reactor designs, usually a combination of a FRC and something else. I think it was Votroubek who had the idea for the Xenon plasma liner implosion experiment that they did at MSNW.
Chris Phil is a long time affiliate of MSNW. His company Pulsed Power Solutions provides among other things the switches that are used for MSNWs experiments and for Helions reactors. Pulsed fusion reactors need some really good switches.

If you want to hang your hat on a team with some bench depth, you should be thinking about Tri-Alpha. The behind the scenes lineup there is really impressive.


I do like Tri Alpha and I think they have the second best chance of all to get to an economic reactor design before anybody else does. But (putting Rostoker and Monkhorst aside), the guys from Helion are not that far behind in terms of experience in the field. John Slough has been around a lot longer than TAE's Michael Binderbauer, e.g.
Slough's and Votroubek's papers are frequently cited in Tri Alpha publications and there are some similarities between the reactor designs of Helion and TAE. In at least one paper, "Dynamic Formation of a Hot Field Reversed Configuration with Improved Confinement by Supersonic Merging of Two Colliding High- Compact Toroids", John Slough is credited with being an adviser to TAE, helping them with the C-2 experimental reactor design:
A debt of gratitude is also due to John Slough for his advice during the initial design of C-2.

http://www.researchgate.net/publication ... ct_Toroids
The fact that both groups came to simillar conclusions and the resulting similarities give both teams a lot more credibility, IMHO.
I like Helion better because they are aiming for the lower hanging fruit (D+He3 is a little easier than PB11). This is why they are getting away with a slightly simpler and smaller reactor design. Their reactor does not really suffer that badly from the disadvantages that D+He3 has compared to PB11. Technically, it could do D+T too and with less problems than Tokamaks.
And this is why I think that they can do it.

ladajo wrote:You should base your thoughts on more that a bullet header from the Helion web page.

I do know a tiny little bit more about their operation than what you can find on their website ;)
So, what do you base your thoughts about them on? Just curious? Have you met them, visited their lab, maybe even worked for them? Have you ever even talked to anyone of them?
And finally, I want to add that it is not just stupid ol' me, who is thinking that they have a good shot at getting there first.
You might remember Art Carlson, probably the smartest guy to ever post on this board. He also thought rather highly of Helion. He had done his thesis on FRCs and was originally rather skeptical of them.
A few years ago he visited them in Redmond and what he saw there changed his mind. I was originally skeptical as well, but Art's testimony convinced me to check them out and I found that I rather liked what I saw.
They have come a long way since then and the results of their later tests were even better than anticipated. This is why they think that they can actually do D+He3 in their first generation reactor and not just D+T as they had originally planned. And this is why they are finally in a position to get good funding.

ladajo
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby ladajo » Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:14 pm

So what you really are saying about the Helion team is that they know each other because primarily, they have only ever worked with each other. And that previous work (if any) by team members was on small scale plasma concepts that did not really generate any interest in the main stream.
So again, I ask, why is it they do not have any of the top tier on their team? Slough, while knowledgeable in certain lanes, is really better at promises and marketing than product and advancement. What did happen with his (self promoted really) fusion engine?

I am not saying they are doing nothing, I am merely proposing that you think about if they are really doing as much as you think.
If you want to consider which fusion approach is best, then you need to put them all on the same ruler. Not cherry pick what you think are important singular points.
As Bob Hirsch pointed out, the best ruler on the table today is EPRI's.
To boil down his points into my framework: Stability, Materials, Economic Viability.
Any energetic compression, and especially cyclic compression approach is going to have issues with stability when attempting to reach Q>1 regimes. Instability = real dangers of significant down-times due to re-start requirements or machine failures resulting in reduced service life and / or repairs.
Materials is an issue that every project faces. In real, full scale, operating plants between radiation induced material dynamics, and simply the ability to materially handle the proposed primary and support system operating regimes, this remains the biggest hurdle in my mind. There are things we don't know that we don't know, and there are things that we do know, but don't know how to solve. The simpler the machine, the better of it is materially. The complexity of some approaches regarding core and supporting systems moving parts and extreme requirements is already a good indicator of the risk faced to ever achieve an actual sustainable functional design.
Economic Viability is its own issue, and is also driven by the first two. Bottom line, it is an engineering issue. Can we engineer a plant that will scale economically, in the simple balance of cost of goods sold verses market value.

I am not trying to change your mind, I value your inherent right to see things as you wish. I am only trying to address how I see you making your deliberations. I perceive that you have gaps in your processes based on how you present your arguments. Pick a theory / theories as a framework, determine an analytic model, collect real data to support addressing the needs of the framework and analytic model, conduct your analysis, present your findings. You tend to have gaps as far as I can see, unless you are pushed.
Take it or leave it, your choice. :)
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

mvanwink5
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:10 pm

GF has run into the spheromak stability problem at required levels of compression, but Tri Alpha has finally solved that and at an even greater time scale, one needed for continuous operation. As far as I can see, Helion has not added neutral beam injection to stiffen the spheromaks they fire at each other, yet. GF is taking a page from ITER and has added poloidal fields (already used by TA early on). So, I think they will all 3 get there with the tricks at hand, perhaps the question is in the final design and target markets. For instance, I can't see GF's reactor in a ship, or a quiet submarine! However, for utility power retrofits, GF would fit the bill.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

mvanwink5
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:25 pm

End game pB11 complexity is in the fusion machine itself rather than fuel handling and processing and for that and progress to date (plus machine generation, for instance, if Helion has to go back and develop neutral bream injection...) I would bet on Tri Alpha and GF over Helion for commercial operation. Polywell, overall, due to simplicity, if they can get funding this year.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

choff
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby choff » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:07 pm

Anyone hear anything more about Sandia Labs Z Pinch, there was talk of a breakeven shot a year or two back?
CHoff

mvanwink5
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 4:55 pm

a breakeven shot
Only a Gubberment lab would make such a PR announcement. :roll:
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.

Skipjack
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby Skipjack » Mon Sep 14, 2015 6:50 pm

ladajo wrote:So what you really are saying about the Helion team is that they know each other because primarily, they have only ever worked with each other. And that previous work (if any) by team members was on small scale plasma concepts that did not really generate any interest in the main stream.

Dear ladajo, please use google. You are smart enough to know how to do that. When you do that, you will find that they all have had careers outside of MSNW LLC.

ladajo wrote:So again, I ask, why is it they do not have any of the top tier on their team? Slough, while knowledgeable in certain lanes, is really better at promises and marketing than product and advancement. What did happen with his (self promoted really) fusion engine?

Funding realities. They are still working on it but other, better funded projects currently have the priority.
John Slough is not the CEO of Helion. He is the Chief Science Officer. He invented the technology. Turning science into a product is mainly an engineering issue and that is what Helion is doing.
That is why David Kirtley is the CEO.

ladajo wrote:I am not saying they are doing nothing, I am merely proposing that you think about if they are really doing as much as you think.

Not exactly sure what that means. They have had funding problems in the past (like most fusion projects) that is why their progress has been slow. EMC2, which had A LOT more funding in the past has not been exactly fast either. In fact, I believe that Helion/MSNW has made more progress in the same time frame.
They certainly had more prototypes and variations of their reactors that they tested.

ladajo wrote:If you want to consider which fusion approach is best, then you need to put them all on the same ruler. Not cherry pick what you think are important singular points.
As Bob Hirsch pointed out, the best ruler on the table today is EPRI's.

Ok, so what exactly does the Electric Power Reasearch Institute have to do with this?

ladajo wrote:To boil down his points into my framework: Stability, Materials, Economic Viability.
Any energetic compression, and especially cyclic compression approach is going to have issues with stability when attempting to reach Q>1 regimes. Instability = real dangers of significant down-times due to re-start requirements or machine failures resulting in reduced service life and / or repairs.

Uhm, considering that Helion/MSNW has had many prototypes and years of experience with pulsed plasma, I think that this is not going to be an issue. Besides, their reactor design is shaped in a way that the "burn chamber" is a simple cylindrical piece located relatively far away from the expensive equipment. This is why their reactor design is equally suitable for D+T. It can be serviced very easily.

ladajo wrote:Materials is an issue that every project faces. In real, full scale, operating plants between radiation induced material dynamics, and simply the ability to materially handle the proposed primary and support system operating regimes, this remains the biggest hurdle in my mind.

Yes, materials is an issue for all of the proposed projects. I don't think that there are any exceptions to this. So what is your point?

ladajo wrote:There are things we don't know that we don't know, and there are things that we do know, but don't know how to solve. The simpler the machine, the better of it is materially. The complexity of some approaches regarding core and supporting systems moving parts and extreme requirements is already a good indicator of the risk faced to ever achieve an actual sustainable functional design.
Economic Viability is its own issue, and is also driven by the first two. Bottom line, it is an engineering issue. Can we engineer a plant that will scale economically, in the simple balance of cost of goods sold versus market value.

Fixed that for you ;)

And I do agree with you about that as well. But if you take a look at Helion's machine, you will see that it is relatively simple with a very simple linear geometry that makes it easy to replace parts of it. Their reactors are relatively easy and cheap to build. The expensive equipment is relatively separated from where the nasty happens. This is a IMHO a huge advantage of their design.
I think the biggest problem that they have is the direct conversion. We don't have a lot of experience with that at the scales that they want to do it. Even though it is worth mentioning that their reactor designs are relatively well suited for the idea, certainly better than the Polywell or the DPF. Plus, if all things fail they can always go back to D+T and a steam cycle.

ladajo wrote:I am not trying to change your mind, I value your inherent right to see things as you wish. I am only trying to address how I see you making your deliberations. I perceive that you have gaps in your processes based on how you present your arguments. Pick a theory / theories as a framework, determine an analytic model, collect real data to support addressing the needs of the framework and analytic model, conduct your analysis, present your findings. You tend to have gaps as far as I can see, unless you are pushed.

How much do you know I know about Helion? You never answered my question from earlier about where your opinion is from. I read your posts and I see that you do not know very much about them. You don't know the people and you obviously have not concerned yourself more with their reactor design than what you can read on their website. I would suggest that you maybe try talking to David Kirtley or John Slough for a bit. They are very nice and approachable people, unless you come over like a total arrogant ass when talking to them.

Skipjack
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby Skipjack » Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:10 pm

mvanwink5 wrote:End game pB11 complexity is in the fusion machine itself rather than fuel handling and processing and for that and progress to date (plus machine generation, for instance, if Helion has to go back and develop neutral bream injection...) I would bet on Tri Alpha and GF over Helion for commercial operation. Polywell, overall, due to simplicity, if they can get funding this year.

Ok, I am confused. Helion is not doing PB11. They do D+D/ D+He3 and if that fails for some reason, their reactor is well suited for D+T. None of the competing devices is doing that. IIRC, Polywell and TAEs machine can theoretically handle D+T but their machines will IMHO suffer more from the fast neutrons. Both of them have expensive equipment right where the majority of the action is.
GF is only doing D+T anyway.
So it is hard to compare all of them to Helion.
Also, Helion has had quite a few prototypes that tested different aspects of the design. They just never had the funding to do it all in one big machine... until now.

mvanwink5
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Re: EMC2 news

Postby mvanwink5 » Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:29 pm

Yes, pB11 is TA, so take it from there. Helion has a whole processing back end to develop, and Helion may well have to develop neutral beam injection, which takes time. And the end point is really commercial.
Near term, cheap, dark horse fusion hits the air waves, GF - TED, LM - Announcement. The race is on.


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