For example, they reference an experiment so bad that I as a layperson could find a dozen glaring flaws in the associated published paper.
The referenced "result" was about changes in a Johnson-Matthey purifier when deuterium and/or hydrogen was cycled through it: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S03603...
This experiment is destructive, so the team compared two different palladium-silver hydrogen gas purification tubes with months worth of gas cycled applied to them. They then assumed that the tubes started out "the same", and hence they wrote up any differences as changes that occurred because of the gases they used. This blithely ignores the differences in the tubes due to manufacturing variations!
That's shockingly bad science, and I very much doubt that sincerity and honesty of anyone who chooses that specific "result" as something worthy of referencing in a journal article.
It's cold fusion. Lattice-confinement fusion was an attempted re-branding of the cold fusion field.
- "There are also upcoming conferences: the American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space conference in Cleveland in May and the International Conference on Cold Fusion 24, focused on solid-state energy, in Mountain View, Calif., in July."
Whether there's a chance of getting net power that way, I have no idea, but at least it's not depending on previously unknown nuclear reactions.
I agree with the grandparent commenter: zero credibility here, this group is doing nothing but trolling people.
Overall dirty bombs are really not a problem bigger than any other kind of bomb.
I’ve always found it interesting that they are allowed to pitch VCs claiming that they are doing the same thing the sun does, when the sun in fact does proton/proton, proton/deuterium, and helium 3/helium 3 fusion at a relatively slow rate under extremely high pressure.
And as for breeding tritium - I think you're skipping a few steps. D-T fusion gives you 1 neutron, which is enough to make 1 tritium isotope from Li6 (7.5% of global Lithium supply). Sure you can use neutron multipliers like Be (otherwise, anything less that 100% neutron capture depletes the supply), but how much energy are you losing then (since keep in mind, 80% of the D-T energy is that neutron to begin with)?
And beyond all of that, it's a problem unless you can show me your breeding blanket design and the system you plan to use to capture the radioactive gaseous tritium in a way that doesn't poison any water supplies (keep in mind, as one of the smallest and most buoyant gases, it's really hard to contain hydrogen without noticeable leakage).
Anyway, once those issues are ironed out, sure it's not a problem, but it's a huge problem today.
Breeding tritium doesn't make the neutron's kinetic energy disappear, or convert into matter. Neither does multiplying neutrons; you just get two neutrons whose combined kinetic energy sums up to that of the original neutron. In the end, as usual, the energy mostly ends up as heat.
I'll grant you tritium capture. Several of the private companies use a molten breeding blanket (CFS, Zap Energy, and General Fusion, possibly others), so at least the tritium won't be trapped in the blanket.
As for your very salient point on where the energy goes, what are you heating? Your new Tritium. So now you not only have to capture the tritium but you have to extract its heat to generate electricity? Or are you just capturing heat from the helium and whatever is absorbed by the rest of the blanket?
No startups use a breeding blanket in 2023. They just talk about them. All the designs are still very much in prototype phase and nobody has blanket IP because they barely have reactor IP (though lots of cool magnet patents!)
In fact if they did have breeding blankets, they could actually make some money selling their tritium!
For breeding tritium, everybody's focused on just getting net power right now but several companies are planning liquid breeding blankets. For CFS it's a molten FLiBe salt, a couple others are using molten lead-lithium. Either way, you run coolant pipes through it, and the new tritium will bubble out the top. Honestly it doesn't sound all that hard.
I know what a triple product is (even a Lawson criterion), but what you're saying is like saying curing cancer is just "figuring out how to turn off uncontrolled cell division." There's a lot of practical engineering that is behind that sneakily simple phrase. If D-D fusion is so easy, why don't the other start-ups pursue that since D is abundant and T is one of the rarest materials ever? In fact, since D-D makes T 50% of the time anyway, why don't they do both?
As for the blankets, as I've said, plenty of people talk about them, but have never even come close to building one.
>Honestly it doesn't sound all that hard.
Yeah, I agree it doesn't sound very hard. By chance do you work at a VC firm?
But D-D takes a lower triple product than D-He3, so if you can get net power from D-He3, then D-D is a fine way to produce the He3.
Helion is the only company that thinks they can get net power from D-He3 so they're also the only company pursuing D-D for breeding.
Yes, because again, all the ways we know how to make Tritium are implausible from either an energy balance standpoint or a "where do we get all these energized neutrons" standpoint. That's always been my argument.
>You don't need to breed He3 unless you can get net power from D-He3. If you can do that, then you can probably also get net power from D-D
Going back to this, you're aware D-D results in 50% T and 50% He3, right? Helion relies on D-T fusion working so they can sell their "waste" Tritium (lol).
None of these things you are claiming to be easy factually pencil out and that is why we are so far from commercial fusion.
Helion: to use their tritium they just have to wait. Tritium decays to He3 with a 12-year half-life. (Of course if they didn't want to use the tritium at all, it would just mean building twice as many D-D reactors and it'd still work. That'd be silly though.)
We actually don't know how the Sun does fusion. If we did, we'd have created it here on Earth already.
We know we can't do what the sun does here on Earth, and we also know that we don't want to what the sun does.
We can't, because the cube-square law means the sun stays hot enough for long enough for this to happen even though a reactor on the ground would cool down almost immediately.
We don't want to, because the reaction happens over the course of billions of years giving the sun a specific power output similar to rotting cabbages.
We can’t reproduce exactly what the sun is doing, because we don’t want the whole planet to run fusion. One of the large problems to solve, as I understand it, is containment. No need for containment on the sun.
Containment, in the context of fusion, doesn't refer to preventing the reaction from running rampant. It refers to keeping the reactants in a small confined space so the reaction can continue at all.
The sun achieves this containment through the least efficient means: it's gigantic mass means that the reactants are forced together by the force of gravity. Plus, the shear quantity of superhot plasma helps ensure that energetic particles have an excellent chance to hit another core, keeping the reaction going. Note that the solar core, where the vast majority of solar fusion happens, is ~0.25 of the sun's radius, so ~25 Earth radii. Quite hard to get the amount of plasma on Earth.
The entirety of the Earth doesn't have even a fraction of the Sun's mass, so that is impossible to reproduce. So we need to rely on much more violent forces to achieve a similar level of containment as the Sun.
Throwing lumps of cash at fusion power venture capital feels almost like a money-laundering fraud.
Yes. Here are the currently known alternatives off the top of my head:
* Fusion bomb
* Inertial electrostatic confinement (14 year olds have done this for highschool science fair projects)
* Virtual cathodes (Polywell, technically also an IEC variant)
* Magnetic confinement (Tokamaks: the big expensive doughnuts)
* Field-reversed configuration (technically also magnetic, but these are magnetic "smoke rings", Helion Energy does this)
* Z-pinch (again magnetic, but different)
* Laser confinement (NIF)
* Muon-catalyzed fusion (no chance of this becoming mainstream unless we can convince muons to stop decaying)
IIRC all of these have demonstrated that it's physically possible; some even show promise.
(I've been wanting to write a plasma physics simulation to see if I can improve on the Fusor design since I was at university; now chatGPT writes acceptable code, I keep asking myself why I've not yet made this happen…)