Helion Energy? Did they beat Tri Alpha? Scam?

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

Moderators: tonybarry, MSimon

Skipjack
Posts: 5647
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Helion Energy? Did they beat Tri Alpha? Scam?

Postby Skipjack » Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:25 pm

So I dont know whether I understand what they are saying.
If I read it correctly, they are saying that they beat Tri Alpha to a 1/3 scale version of a fusion reactor. No net energy yet, or at least not practically. Anyone got more on this?
People in the comments seem to think they are shady.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/04/helion ... clear.html

rnebel
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2007 12:15 am

Postby rnebel » Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:09 am

I don't know Wallace (the CEO) but Seattle is where most of the FRC research has been done recently. I would guess that this is a spinoff company. FRC translation and compression has been studied for a long time.

D Tibbets
Posts: 2714
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:52 am

Postby D Tibbets » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:32 am

Based on the limited information at the link, it seems thay have tested a ~1 Tesla and 1 KeV machine with D-T. Goal is a demo at ~ 10 Tesla and 5 KeV. From this I'm assumeing they are limiting thier efforts to making the D-T reaction work. Is it reasonable to assume that this is the pontential limiting capacity for reverse field pinch systems (like Tokamaks)? All other things being equal, if the Polywell concept works with D-D reactions it would have a large advantage in cost and complexity (no need for excess tritium production- lithium blankets, buryllium, etc.).
I could see both systems employed if the Polywell ends up being less compact than the RFS. D-D burning Polywells produces power for the grid and tritium as a byproduct. RCS systems uses that tritium in mobile applications like ships without the need to generate endogenous tritium. Tokamaks would be left out in the cold, as would laser confinement unless thay can greatly improve and economise the laser systems beyond the NIF level.


Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

Art Carlson
Posts: 794
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:56 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Postby Art Carlson » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:49 am

Thanks for the tip. Please keep me informed if you learn any more. The info in the link is very meager. Perhaps suspiciously so. "Exclusivity – World‐wide license to core technology of fusion engine and improvements" sounds like they have a patent. If so, we should be able to dig it out. The idea itself is old, so the question is how they deal with the known difficulties. One of these is that FRCs, when scaled to reactor sizes, are supposed to be unstable. (Actually they are supposed to be unstable at laboratory size, which they are not, but it will probably get worse when scaling up.) For you tokamak haters: The topology of an FRC machine is linear, so it is much simpler than a (toroidal) tokamak, and it operates naturally at high beta, so the power density is 2 orders of magnitude higher than for a tokamak..

MSimon
Posts: 14269
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:37 pm
Location: Rockford, Illinois
Contact:

Re: Helion Energy? Did they beat Tri Alpha? Scam?

Postby MSimon » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:55 am

Skipjack wrote:So I dont know whether I understand what they are saying.
If I read it correctly, they are saying that they beat Tri Alpha to a 1/3 scale version of a fusion reactor. No net energy yet, or at least not practically. Anyone got more on this?
People in the comments seem to think they are shady.

http://nextbigfuture.com/2009/04/helion ... clear.html


Did you see Homer Simpson standing near the plant in the PDF? I wonder if he has been trained in plant operation?
Engineering is the art of making what you want from what you can get at a profit.
http://protonboron.com/
THE OPEN POLYWELL FUSION CONSORTIUM

Skipjack
Posts: 5647
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:29 pm

Postby Skipjack » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:59 am

Did you see Homer Simpson standing near the plant in the PDF? I wonder if he has been trained in plant operation?


Yeah, I saw that. ;)
This is not the first time I have seen Homer used to show the size of a machine of sorts. Still kinda odd choice. Maybe they wanted to emphasize that the machine is easy enough to operate, that you can even let a "genius" like Homer near it.

Torulf2
Posts: 285
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:50 pm
Location: Swedem

Re: Helion Energy? Did they beat Tri Alpha? Scam?

Postby Torulf2 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:09 am


chrismb
Posts: 3161
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 6:00 pm

Postby chrismb » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:51 am

Art Carlson wrote:"Exclusivity – World-wide license to core technology of fusion engine and improvements" sounds like they have a patent. If so, we should be able to dig it out. The idea itself is old..

There is a ream's worth of patents, look under Rostoker and/or Monkhorst. They've been pumping out what look like Uni-based [california/florida, viz.well-funded] patent applications for some considerable time, yet I've never been able to figure out what it is that they are claiming that is new. Perhaps this is why most remain patent applications (save for a neutral beam colliding scheme of Rostoker's dating back to 1990).

Art Carlson
Posts: 794
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:56 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Re: Helion Energy? Did they beat Tri Alpha? Scam?

Postby Art Carlson » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:00 pm


It looks like they are using some of the same graphics, and the Seattle area code of the CEO matches the UW, so there is probably more than a coincidental relationship here. That's good. John Slough is an old buddy of mine. He was running the experiment I did my Ph.D. work on. Definitely serious. Keep your eye on this one (but watch your pocketbook).

There are a lot of interesting things to say about this concept. For example, direct conversion: You can magnetically compress the configuration till it starts burning, then let it expand against the field. If you are lucky, you get more electrical energy out than you put in to begin with. This is the most attractive direct conversion scheme I know of. Another thing, wall loading: Since this thing is zipping down a tube, it you decide the heat and/or neutron flux to the wall is too large at your design point, you can simply make your tube a bit longer and send the plasma down it a bit faster. Can I proselytize anyone to convert from polywell to FRC?

kurt9
Posts: 527
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:14 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Re: Helion Energy? Did they beat Tri Alpha? Scam?

Postby kurt9 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:14 pm

Art Carlson wrote:It looks like they are using some of the same graphics, and the Seattle area code of the CEO matches the UW, so there is probably more than a coincidental relationship here. That's good. John Slough is an old buddy of mine. He was running the experiment I did my Ph.D. work on. Definitely serious. Keep your eye on this one (but watch your pocketbook).

There are a lot of interesting things to say about this concept. For example, direct conversion: You can magnetically compress the configuration till it starts burning, then let it expand against the field. If you are lucky, you get more electrical energy out than you put in to begin with. This is the most attractive direct conversion scheme I know of. Another thing, wall loading: Since this thing is zipping down a tube, it you decide the heat and/or neutron flux to the wall is too large at your design point, you can simply make your tube a bit longer and send the plasma down it a bit faster. Can I proselytize anyone to convert from polywell to FRC?


Interesting. I was the one who commented about them being shady in the "NextBigFuture". I was noting the lack of technical detail in their website and presentation. I was not aware that UofW was a hotbed of FRC research.

Sure, you can try to "convert" us from polywell to FRC. I'll be happy if any of these fusion concepts lead to commercial power generation. I don't care which one it is.

I believe Norman Rostoker's idea (Tri-Alpha) is also an FRC or some variant of it. I notice that Norman is also in his 80's. Hopefully, his partner, Hendrick Monkhorst, is as much the driver behind this as Norman Rostoker.

Art Carlson
Posts: 794
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:56 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Postby Art Carlson » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:16 pm

Art Carlson wrote:The idea itself is old, so the question is how they deal with the known difficulties. One of these is that FRCs, when scaled to reactor sizes, are supposed to be unstable. (Actually they are supposed to be unstable at laboratory size, which they are not, but it will probably get worse when scaling up.)


But, from http://www.physicsessays.com/doc/s2005/ ... -Final.pdf:
Most importantly, the FRC remains in a stable regime with regard to MHD modes such as the tilt from formation through burn.

and
Finally, in the reactor scenario outlined for PHD, the FRC at no time exceeds the empirical regime where stability and good confinement has been observed throughout the entire formation process through burn.


Other tit/tid/teat bits from http://hifweb.lbl.gov/ICC2000/Magnetize ... 1_Oral.pdf:
Given the observed scaling with size and density, the required radius at a density of 1024 m-3 for a DT fusion burn with a gain > 1 is found to be ~ 1 cm.

and
The PHD fusion envisioned also provides for a simple direct conversion of the plasma into directed thrust. Of all fusion reactor embodiments, only the magnetically confined plasma in the Field Reversed Configuration (FRC) has the linear geometry, low confining field, and high plasma pressure required for the direct conversion of fusion energy into high specific impulse and thrust, and would thus have direct applicability to deep space flight.

D Tibbets
Posts: 2714
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:52 am

Postby D Tibbets » Thu Apr 30, 2009 4:12 pm

Skipjack wrote:
Did you see Homer Simpson standing near the plant in the PDF? I wonder if he has been trained in plant operation?


Yeah, I saw that. ;)
This is not the first time I have seen Homer used to show the size of a machine of sorts. Still kinda odd choice. Maybe they wanted to emphasize that the machine is easy enough to operate, that you can even let a "genius" like Homer near it.



Homer Simpson may be a simpleton, but remember that he prevented what would have been the greatest nuclear accident in Springfield's history! :wink:


Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

Art Carlson
Posts: 794
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 7:56 am
Location: Munich, Germany

Postby Art Carlson » Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:43 pm

I asked a plasma physicist friend of mine in Seattle. He never heard of the company or the guy, but he did remark
There is another company under Simon Woodruff and he is also set to seek startup capitol for a fusion venture along the lines of Helion Energy.

PolyGirl
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 7:16 pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Tidbit

Postby PolyGirl » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:14 pm

People, please!

The proper saying is "tidbit".

:lol:

Regards
Polygirl
The more I know, the less I know.

Torulf2
Posts: 285
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:50 pm
Location: Swedem

Postby Torulf2 » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:40 pm

I post an ilustration of it in an old tread.
I have to remake it I think.

http://www.talk-polywell.org/bb/viewtop ... c&start=15


Return to “News”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], happyjack27, JoeP and 3 guests