Author Topic: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition  (Read 7374 times)

rcjordan

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At the Brink of Fusion Ignition
« on: November 21, 2021, 07:27:24 PM »
TLDR; This experiment produced fusion yield of roughly two-thirds of the laser energy used

https://scitechdaily.com/fusion-breakthrough-at-the-brink-of-fusion-ignition-at-national-ignition-facility/
« Last Edit: February 09, 2022, 10:03:02 PM by rcjordan »

ergophobe

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition at National Ignition Facility
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2021, 09:19:18 PM »
Is this a thing where at 10% over breakeven you suddenly unlock a huge amount of energy because you cycle 101% back into the process and the 9% is a lot, or is this still very far away?

I long ago decided I would not see a functioning fusion power plant selling retail power in my lifetime. I'd say I'm slightly less sure, but still not convinced this is on the horizon.

rcjordan

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition at National Ignition Facility
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2021, 07:22:31 PM »
<update>

Early reports referred to this breakthrough as the “brink of ignition,” because it yielded less than the 1.9 MJ supplied by the facility’s 192 laser beams. But many fusion scientists think such a perspective is too conservative. “As far as most people working in the field are concerned, the scientific demonstration of the ignition process has indeed been achieved,”


Physics - Ignition First in a Fusion Reaction
https://physics.aps.org/articles/v14/168

ergophobe

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition at National Ignition Facility
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2021, 03:47:21 AM »
Finally, a Fusion Reaction Has Generated More Energy Than Absorbed by The Fuel
https://www.sciencealert.com/for-the-first-time-a-fusion-reaction-has-generated-more-energy-than-absorbed-by-the-fuel

Update: Actually, I think that's a new article on the old news - it's about the experiment from August with 1.3 megajoules of output for 1.9 megajoules of input. So it's still way short of breakeven, it's just looking at the energy differently. Energy absorbed by the fuel is less than the energy produced by the reaction, but energy produced/used by the lasers was still 50% higher than the energy produced by the fuel, which is still way less than the energy inputs into the lasers.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2021, 03:56:06 AM by ergophobe »

rcjordan

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition at National Ignition Facility
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2022, 01:50:59 PM »
U.S. Project Reaches Major Milestone toward Practical Fusion Power - Scientific American
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-project-reaches-major-milestone-toward-practical-fusion-power/

ergophobe

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition at National Ignition Facility
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2022, 07:04:09 PM »
Very interesting article. For one, the actual ignition occurred a year ago. The event is that they finally published the paper.

Very encouraging, but there is this little tidbit about how this would become a commercial reactor.

Quote
That creates a very brief outburst of energy—a tiny thermonuclear explosion—before the burning fuel expands and dissipates its heat. “Fusion energy schemes based on inertial confinement involve repeating the pulsed process over and over again, much like the pistons in an internal combustion engine, firing several times per second to give nearly continuous power,” says Omar Hurricane of LLNL, chief scientist for the NIF’s Inertial Confinement Fusion program

That answered a question I've long had about the hoped for output from any one reaction and how quickly a commercial plant would need to reload the lasers and repeat this. They managed four ignitions that were at or close to this level over the course of 2020 and 2021. So it strikes me that I will still likely be dead before I get a Mr Fusion in my Delorean and will probably be dead before an electron of fusion energy comes down my power line. But it does encourage me that by the end of the century, this could be commercial.

When I was a kid, I did a report on tokamak-style reactors. It looks like they are still 15 years behind the lasers in terms of creating a sustained fusion event, but I wonder if the subsequent path to commercialisation will be easier. Anyway, this was interesting news for me:
Quote
One approach is to confine it with magnetic fields into a doughnut shape inside a chamber called a tokamak. This is the method of choice for many fusion projects, including the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). for which a global collaboration is building a massive experimental reactor in France that is slated to achieve sustained fusion no earlier than 2035.

And finally, just one of those facts that I see myself throwing out at a future cocktail party (okay, I don't actually see myself at a cocktail party in my future, covid or no, but still... this is a mind boggler):

Quote
Fission’s advantage is that it typically occurs in reactors at temperatures of a little more than 1,000 kelvins, whereas deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion starts at temperatures of around 100 million kelvins—hotter than the heart of the sun.

I had no clue the difference was five orders of magnitude. That really put the engineering challenge in perspective for me.

Great article. Thanks.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2022, 07:06:08 PM by ergophobe »

rcjordan

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2022, 10:02:38 PM »
UK-based JET laboratory: Major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy - BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-60312633

rcjordan

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2022, 10:27:16 PM »
Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough Confirmed: California Team Achieved Ignition
https://www.newsweek.com/nuclear-fusion-energy-milestone-ignition-confirmed-california-1733238

ergophobe

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2022, 09:54:32 PM »
Very encouraging. Thanks for posting. I know that lab to real world and real world to major scale will take a long time, but it is starting to feel like a solvable problem.

rcjordan

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2022, 08:37:20 PM »
"While the duration and temperature alone aren’t records, the simultaneous achievement of heat and stability brings us a step closer"

Korean nuclear fusion reactor achieves 100 million°C for 30 seconds
https://www.shiningscience.com/2022/09/korean-nuclear-fusion-reactor-achieves.html

rcjordan

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Re: At the Brink of Fusion Ignition
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2022, 05:49:54 PM »
Fusion power is 'approaching' reality thanks to a magnetic field breakthrough | Engadget

https://www.engadget.com/fusion-power-magnetic-field-ignition-study-195200137.html

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