Speaking of wasting money …

Beyond the boundaries of established science an avalanche of exotic ideas compete for our attention. Experts tell us that these ideas should not be permitted to take up the time of working scientists, and for the most part they are surely correct. But what about the gems in the rubble pile? By what ground-rules might we bring extraordinary new possibilities to light? If you have a personal favorite theory, that is in someway related to the Electric Universe, this is where it can be posted.
BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Mon Dec 12, 2022 6:02 am

A lot of hopium hype going out this evening in the mainstream media …

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business ... akthrough/
U.S. to announce fusion energy ‘breakthrough’

Scientists hit a key milestone in the quest to create abundant zero-carbon power through nuclear fusion. But they still have a long way to go.

The Department of Energy plans to announce Tuesday that scientists have been able for the first time to produce a fusion reaction that creates a net energy gain — a major milestone in the decades-long, multibillion dollar quest to develop a technology that provides unlimited, cheap, clean power.
Well, that piqued my interest. So I went looking for more details …

https://www.cnet.com/science/climate/a- ... cientists/
The National Ignition Facility operates an "inertial confinement fusion" experiment which sees almost 200 lasers fired directly at a tiny capsule of hydrogen. … snip ... If the FT report and chatter on social media is correct, scientists at LLNL could have achieved "fusion energy gain" which is denoted by the letter Q. … snip …. But, as with all science, it's good to be cautious and not overhype results yet to be fully analyzed. We have been here before, after all. In 2013, reports swirled the NIF had achieved this exact feat. It wasn't the case.  … snip …. A spokesperson for LLNL told CNET "our analysis is still ongoing, so we're unable to provide details or confirmation at this time" and provided a link to the media advisory -- which, in all caps, suggests a "MAJOR SCIENTIFIC BREAKTHROUGH."
https://www.foxbusiness.com/energy/us-s ... rgy-report
US scientists make major breakthrough in ‘limitless, zero-carbon’ fusion energy: report

U.S. government scientists at a California laboratory have reportedly made a monumental breakthrough in harnessing the power of fusion energy. ... snip ... Though developing fusion power stations at scale is still decades away, the breakthrough has significant implications as the world seeks to ween itself off of fossil fuels. "If this is confirmed, we are witnessing a moment of history," said Dr Arthur Turrell, a plasma physicist, told the paper. "Scientists have struggled to show that fusion can release more energy than is put in since the 1950s, and the researchers at Lawrence Livermore seem to have finally and absolutely smashed this decades-old goal."
https://swarajyamag.com/science/major-b ... n-reaction
The fusion reaction produced about 2.5 megajoules of energy, around 120 per cent of the amount of energy used in the lasers. ... snip ... "If this fusion energy breakthrough is true, it could be a game changer for the world," tweeted Ted Lieu, a member of Congress from California.
Game changer indeed. (Sarcasm)

Sorry, here's the real story, folks. I'll bet that they didn’t include the energy loses at both ends of the process of using laser beams to produce fusion in their Q > 1 calculation. Not the loses in turning electricity into a laser beam (there are losses, for instance, in storing electricity in capacitors) and not the loses in turning the heat produced back into electricity so the next cycle of producing laser beams can occur.

Also, as noted in a previous post four months ago, in the experiment where they achieved what they claimed was a Q of 0.7, they admitted that they couldn't reproduce it. It happened in a single shot and successive experiments produced at most 50% as much energy. This was single shot as well. So can it be replicated consistently or do we have to wait 4 to 6 months between successful shots?

And let's not be deceived into thinking LLNL is doing these experiments with fusion power plants in mind. LLNL charter is weapons development. And this is just hype to keep the funding coming. VERY expensive funding, piggy backed on the Climate Change lie as well. And they're so desperate for funding that they hype the program (schedule a big announcement in Washington) even before, they admit, they confirmed the result. That's not the way science should be done.

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Tue Dec 13, 2022 2:53 am

There was more hype today as all the fusion sycophants try to scoop the upcoming LLNL announcement ...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ss-energy
Breakthrough in nuclear fusion could mean ‘near-limitless energy’
Blah blah blah. It's nothing we haven't heard a THOUSAND times before, folks.

As pointed out in the article, all they produced was a single 0.4MJ shot and 0.4MJ is 0.1kWh (which is a tiny amount of energy … enough to “boil a kettle”) ... and that’s BEFORE the losses to covert the heat to electricity and transmit it to that kettle.

Prof Jeremy Chittenden, professor of plasma physics at Imperial College London, is quoted saying “To turn fusion into a power source we’ll need to boost the energy gain still further. We’ll also need to find a way to reproduce the same effect much more frequently and much more cheaply before we can realistically turn this into a power plant.” Sounds like we're right around the corner … (MORE SARCASM). They haven’t even reproduced the shot once and last time they tried to reproduce an experiment it was another 4 plus months before they even came close.

Next, Prof Justin Wark, professor of physics at the University of Oxford, is claimed to have said "the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory could produce such a result about once a day, a fusion power plant would need to do it 10 times a second.” NO! A fusion power plant would have to do it FAR MORE than 10 times a second if all they produced per shot was enough energy to boil a kettle full of water. A fusion power plant must power a city.

And of course, following the article, The Guardian repeats the climate change LIE that is used to sell all these fusion efforts. They announce (while begging for money for themselves ... “There can be no more hiding, and no more denying. Global heating is supercharging extreme weather at an astonishing speed. Guardian analysis recently revealed how human-caused climate breakdown is accelerating the toll of extreme weather across the planet. People across the world are losing their lives and livelihoods due to more deadly and more frequent heatwaves, floods, wildfires and droughts triggered by the climate crisis” … and that an ABSOLUTE LIE. Looks like Guardian is not to trusted as a source. Just saying ...

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Wed Dec 14, 2022 2:13 am

HYPE is a four letter word in more ways than one. And the HYPE that the mainstream is applying to the latest experiment by the Lawrence Livermore National Lab should make everyone suspicious. Here’s one of today’s pre-announcement offerings …

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... s-sun.html
Is this the dawn of UNLIMITED clean energy? California scientists make fusion power breakthrough after using world's biggest laser to replicate reaction that powers the sun - which could spell the end of fossil fuels

California scientists may have discovered a source of unlimited clean energy by recreating the process of nuclear fusion which powers the sun.  
Let’s be clear from the start. Causing fusion with lasers is NOT what the sun does.
Researchers at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in Livermore were able to spark a fusion reaction that briefly sustained itself ... snip ... The experiment was performed in August, but reported for the first time earlier this month. Similar tests have been performed before, but this was the first one that generated more energy than was used to create the experiment - meaning scientists could now harness nuclear fusion as an energy source. 
That right there is another LIE. This test did not produce more energy than was used to create the experiment. There were all sorts of energy loses in creating the laser beams and none of those loses were accounted for in their hype. This fact was pointed out in the article I posted yesterday.

Now, concerning the energy that actually was produced, the article correctly states that the average home (in the US) consumes about 108 megajoules per day of electricity.  Ignoring all energy loses, that would be enough to power a one or two bedroom apartment, so to keep that ONE apartment supplied with electricity over a day … ignoring all energy losses in system and assuming the preliminary estimate of 0.4 megajoule excess energy, they would need about 270 such laser shots a day to power one small apartment, again assuming no energy losses in the production and distribution of that energy. And in the last article I quoted one expert saying LLNL MIGHT be able to get off ONE shot a day … from a $3.5 billion dollar facility.

And they’re claiming this “couldn’t be more profound for fusion power”? LOL! What a JOKE! A very expensive one ... at YOUR expensive. But that money sure is buying a nice lifestyle for all the *researchers* involved. And continuing that is the real goal of these people.

Now here’s the official announcement from LLNL later in the day (https://www.llnl.gov/news/national-igni ... n-ignition).

They said that this *breakthrough* “will pave the way for advancements in national defense and the future of clean power.” They said the experiment achieved “scientific energy breakeven, meaning it produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it.” Then they boasted that this “feat will provide unprecedented capability to support NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program and will provide invaluable insights into the prospects of clean fusion energy, which would be a game-changer for efforts to achieve President Biden’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy.”

What a collection of hyperboles, lies, half truths and outright nonsense. This feat isn’t going to make one bit of difference in achieving commercial electrical production through fusion because this is not the way it will actually be done, if it’s done anytime soon at all. And that means it won’t make one bit of difference to the net-zero carbon economy goal either, which is itself unwise nonsense.

The truth is that LLNL is desperate to find some excuse to keep funding LLNL now that the Biden (Obama) administration is slowly doing away with nuclear weapons entirely. The truth is that the Biden Administration is desperate to find any *good news* it can hype to distract people from the true state of the country and their intentions for us all.

The only difference from all the pre-announcement announcements is that they say the shot produced an excess of 1.1 mega joules … almost enough to boil 3 kettles of water. And it took them 60 years (that’s right, 60 YEARS) and uncounted billions to do it. And a facility “the size of a sport stadium”! And as always, the goal of this hype is to beg for more money … because they have mortgages to pay and mouths to feed. They say “we must double down and accelerate the research to explore new pathways for the clean, limitless energy that fusion promises.” GARBAGE. Save your money folks. Tell them no. Here’s a far more realistic article from today, post announcement …

https://nypost.com/2022/12/13/scientist ... ried-away/
Scientists have made a breakthrough in fusion — but don’t get carried away

I’m going to go out on a limb with a year-end prediction. The old joke in the physics community is still true: Fusion is always 50 years away.

… snip …

Some news outlets saw this as “a massive step in a decades-long quest to unleash an infinite source of clean energy that could help end dependence on fossil fuels.” Not so fast.

While the “net energy” achievement is big for scientists, it’s not a “massive step” for power engineers. Why? We need to account for the grid energy required for powering those lasers. Doing so more than wipes out the net gain of 20%. Each unit of laser energy put into the fuel pellet gobbled 200 units of grid energy. A lot of work needs to be done.

Not least, materials scientists and manufacturing engineers will have to come up with breakthroughs for fabricating the fusion fuel pellets, millions of which will be needed per year per reactor. Right now, each single jewel-like fuel pellet is hand-crafted and costs about $1 million. Odds are we solve that challenge, eventually. And far better lasers are already feasible and will be built, eventually.
I say don't count on that either because they aren't going to do the first unless they plan to build laser powered fusion power plants, and I haven't heard them say that. In fact, note that even LLNL in their announcement was careful to only say that this current experiment will "provide invaluable insights into the prospects of clean fusion energy." Even they know that laser powered commercial fusion is a fantasy.

The author correctly sums up the problems with this sort of hype from researchers and decision makers ...
The hype about energy revolutions is all characterized by three fallacies that distort thinking about energy:

First is the magic wand fallacy wherein policymakers and pundits believe the invention of a new energy machine will change everything and do so practically overnight.In the real world, it takes a lot of engineering and time to convert new physics into useful machines at society scales. From the first steam engine to useful trains took 50 years, and from the first internal combustion engine to useful cars, 50 years. From the first photovoltaic cell, it took 40 years to useful ones, and from the first nuclear fission to useful commercial nuclear power plants, also about 40 years.[/b}

Second is the helicopter fallacy, wherein we find there’s never one technology that solves all problems in any given domain, whether flying, farming or producing power. The invention of the helicopter inspired claims it would revolutionize car and air travel. One would no more use a helicopter to cross the Atlantic than use a nuclear reactor to run a train, or photovoltaic systems to run a country.

Finally, there’s the moonshot fallacy, a trope used for every aspirational goal. But the global energy challenge is not the same as putting a dozen humans on the moon, it’s the equivalent of putting all of humanity on the moon. In no small irony, humanity today still gets roughly 300% more energy from burning wood than from either solar and wind combined, or from nuclear fission. The world gets over 80% of its energy from burning hydrocarbons. Odds are that’s where we’ll see more useful revolutions in energy tech in the foreseeable future.


Just saying ...

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Thu Dec 15, 2022 5:40 am

Here’s a smart guy …

https://hotair.com/david-strom/2022/12/ ... ud-n517800
My take: fusion "breakthrough" a total dud

… snip …


So why was the breakthrough far less impressive than advertised? Let me count the ways.

First, the net energy gain is a myth. It is true that the scientists ignited the fuel and the energy release was more than the energy put into the fuel pellet. But that is not what you should be interested in. The energy used to put that energy into the pellet was vastly more than what was released.

In simple terms the lasers delivered X amount of energy to ignite the fusion process, and the fusion process delivered about 1.5X coming out. But in order to deliver that X amount of energy (about 2 million joules) they needed 150X to generate it.

In other words, the net energy “breakthrough” was actually a huge energy drain. It took 300 joules of energy to get just over 3 joules out.

… snip …

That is not an achievement. It is a disappointment. They made a somewhat interesting experiment that shows achieving fusion is possible but they are about as close to nuclear fusion power on the grid as they were 40 years ago. Uncounted billions of dollars later.

… snip …

Then there is the laser problem. Each laser is vastly expensive, inefficient (see above), and incapable of firing often. In order to generate electricity they will have to fire 10s of times a second, and right now they can use the lasers about 10 times a week. They have no idea how to get from here to there.

Next there is the energy recovery problem. Fission energy is easy to recover as the heat generated by fission is easily captured using plain old water flowing through pipes. Water turns to steam, turbines spin, and viola! Electricity.

Theoretically that is possible, but practically speaking it will be very difficult to use this technique. Fusion ignition takes place at millions of degrees, not thousands, and has to be contained magnetically in order to keep it from destroying the machinery. How to capture that energy and turn it into electricity is a non-trivial problem. Especially capturing it without wasting almost all of it. Getting net energy out of a fusion reaction is one thing, turning it into useful energy is yet another. It is possible, but far more difficult than with other forms of energy generation.

… snip …

There are private companies taking entirely different paths toward achieving the goal of providing useful electrical energy from fusion, and their ideas are very interesting. They are spending vastly less money, claim they are making real progress, and have actual plans that make sense to harvest usable power. They may be going down dead end roads as well, but their approaches are promising in a ways that the government-led approaches appear not to be.

In theory I like the idea behind Helion’s technology, although a theory and a practical device are two different things. What strikes me about their approach is that they have integrated an efficient way to convert the fusion energy into usable energy. It may or may not work, but it is intuitively simpler than using difficult to recover heat into electricity.

… snip video …

Will it work as advertised? I don’t know. But it sure looks more promising than what the government is working on. And, as you can see, the government is all hype and no product.
Like I said.

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Fri Dec 16, 2022 1:15 am

https://www.llnl.gov/news/shot-ages-fus ... feats-21st
“Last week, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, scientists at the National Ignition Facility achieved fusion ignition — creating more energy from fusion reactions than the energy used to start the process,” said DOE Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. “It's the first time it has ever been done in a laboratory anywhere in the world — simply put, this is one of the most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century.”
Most impressive scientific feats of the 21st century? LOL! Talk about HYPERBOLE AND HYPE.

<MODERATOR EDIT- political comment removed>

Here’s the Wall Street Journal …

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hold-the-n ... 1670961420
Hold the Nuclear Fusion Hype

The breakthrough is exciting but its practical use as an energy source may be decades away.

… snip …

The lasers are less than 1% efficient and used about 300 megajoules. As Lawrence Livermore director Kim Budil put it: “300 megajoules at the wall [socket], two megajoules at the laser.” Generating electricity from fusion would require such reactions to be performed every second of the day, a vast increase in laser efficiency and reduction in their size.

There’s good reason to be excited about the breakthrough, but the Biden Administration is overselling its immediate impact.
Why are they doing that? Well, for one … there is bad news coming out of the ITER project. It’s behind schedule. They're no longer saying anything about the much touted milestone of first plasma in 2025. They’re bandying about dates like 2035 as when deuterium-tritium experiments will begin. But the news is even worse than that. Here’s NPR …

https://www.npr.org/2022/12/13/11422080 ... ate-change
Unless there's an even larger breakthrough, fusion is unlikely to play a major role in power production before the 2060s or 2070s, says Tony Roulstone, a nuclear engineer at Cambridge University in the U.K., who's done an economic analysis of fusion power.
Meaning that commercial fusion may not be 30 years away any more but 50 years away!
Last edited by ForumModerator on Fri Dec 16, 2022 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: this forum is not going to become a venue for political debate

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Sat Dec 17, 2022 3:25 am

https://phys.org/news/2022-12-nuclear-f ... rough.html
Fusion power has, for decades, seemed to be a prize that remains forever just out of reach. Though significant challenges remain, as researchers are now actively working on improving laser technology and reactor design, breakthroughs will inevitably lead to further progress towards nuclear fusion based power plants. Some researchers working on fusion are now sensing that they might see fusion providing energy to the grid within their own lifetimes.
Some researchers are in their 20s with a life expectancy of 50 to 60 years. So, like I noted in the last post, we’ve gone from them predicting commercial fusion in 30 years to predicting it in 50 or 60 years. Yikes!

Cargo
Posts: 664
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:02 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by Cargo » Sat Dec 17, 2022 5:29 am

interstellar filaments conducted electricity having currents as high as 10 thousand billion amperes
"You know not what. .. Perhaps you no longer trust your feelings,." Michael Clarage
"Charge separation prevents the collapse of stars." Wal Thornhill

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Sat Dec 17, 2022 7:01 pm

Cargo wrote:
Sat Dec 17, 2022 5:29 am
This is just hilarious...
Yes. It's all showmanship to see continued funding. Now I read that the little BB sized ball of fuel that was ignited cost $1 million to manufacture. And it produced enough heat to boil 3 kettles of water. If he'd worded it that way, maybe the audience might not have been so impressed.

Cargo
Posts: 664
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:02 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by Cargo » Sun Dec 18, 2022 12:32 am

I know right, he could barely stop himself from laughing it seemed. I was waiting for him to start cackling like the Joker.
interstellar filaments conducted electricity having currents as high as 10 thousand billion amperes
"You know not what. .. Perhaps you no longer trust your feelings,." Michael Clarage
"Charge separation prevents the collapse of stars." Wal Thornhill

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Wed Dec 21, 2022 3:27 am

More propaganda to keep the money flowing …

https://techcentral.co.za/harnessing-nu ... if/218786/
Harnessing nuclear fusion is now a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’

… snip …

First it’s important to recognise that the latest result is indeed a real milestone.
Really? Consider what the article says later …
around 10 000 times more energy had to be put into the laser than it produced in light energy. It can only be run once a day. And every target is so exquisitely designed that each one costs thousands of dollars.
It’s news to me that the targets only cost some “thousands” of dollars. Previously I read the cost was a million dollars each. But maybe the numbers they’ve had to make have brought the unit cost down. In any case, to produce enough energy (ignoring the 10000 time more that they had to put into the lasers to fuse the target) to boil 3 kettles of water, it took THIS contraption:

https://scx2.b-cdn.net/gfx/news/hires/2 ... ed45b8.jpg

The article continues …
To produce a reactor for a working power station, you would need a laser that produced light energy at much greater efficiency (a few tens of percent) and shot targets successfully at 10 times per second, with each target costing a few cents. In addition, each laser shot would need to produce many times – perhaps 100 times – more energy out than was put in.
Obviously, we’re a long way from being able to do that. And consider this ...if each shot did produce 100 times the energy that was put in and this hypothetical power plant could conduct shots 10 times a second how much energy would it produce. Let’s see. About 1 MJ is what they got out this shot. So 100 MJ x 10 = 1000 MJ per second. In an hour that would be 3600 x 1000 = 3.6 million MJ. Now 1 MJ is .278 kilowatt-hours. So, that would total 1 million kWh per hour. Over a year, that would be about 8.75 billion kWh. Now the US in 2021, used about 3.98 trillion kWh, meaning we’ll have to build over 450 of these power plants for a net zero electrical grid … which is Biden's goal. Anyone want to guess what 450 of these power plants will cost given that the cost of the NIF facility was well over $3.5 billion dollars in mid-90s dollars? Just saying …

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Thu Dec 22, 2022 6:27 pm

https://www.politico.eu/article/the-one ... raine-war/
Nuclear fusion: The one relationship Russia and the West just can’t break
I disagree. If the Ukraine is really as important as the EU and Biden administration have been telling us (they’re willing to risk nuclear war, over it, folks!), then it seems to me that working with the *evil* Russians on fusion should be stopped … even if it delays the already much delayed completion of the useless ITER project.

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Fri Dec 23, 2022 7:59 pm

Well … I’ve now certainly been chastised. ;)

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/artic ... 48644.html
The Naysayers are Wrong: Fusion Will Change the World.

By Mona Charen

A government laboratory, after decades of tireless effort and many a disappointment, announces that it has achieved the holy grail of green energy -- nuclear fusion ignition! And the response has been ... a damp squib.

…. snip … So why not cheer? Apparently because failures and hoaxers have claimed breakthroughs in the past that didn't pan out.

But dry holes and failures are the story of innovation. If previous flops discredit an avenue of research, we'd have to dismiss any scientific advance because whatever it is, someone has failed to achieve it in the past or has lied about it. The spinning jenny? The electric light bulb? Antibiotics? Check. Check. Check. That's the process. You keep testing hypotheses and building upon the knowledge your failures provide until the day when -- eureka! -- something works.
Except, Mona, the inventors of all those things didn’t spend SCORES of billions of taxpayer dollars. They were all privately funded and cost a pittance in comparison. And unlike the laser fusion nonsense, their inventions weren’t based on lies (like the bogus climate change hoax, claiming that a facility built to perfect nuclear weapons is useful for commercial fusion research, or a desire by the elite to control the world).
That's what happened in Livermore, California, on Dec. 5. An advance in energy production scientists have been chasing for decades (a reaction that produces more energy than it consumed) was achieved. Yes, briefly, and at extremely high cost, but it happened. Proof of concept.
Garbage. It wasn’t proof of concept. They have no real concept of how to turn that into a commercial power plant. It was a STUNT to justify keeping the LLNL funded after the left gets rid of all nuclear weapons (their stated goal).
Sen. Chuck Schumer was on the money: "This astonishing scientific advance puts us on the precipice of a future no longer reliant on fossil fuels but instead powered by new clean fusion energy."
Chuck Schumer is nothing more than a political animal. Much like you, Mona. And the underlying theme of your whole article is proof of that. Now if you want to deal in reality, Mona, then I suggest you read this: https://www.counterpunch.org/2022/12/23 ... lly-means/ . As it points out …
Three challenges for nuclear fusion

The recent “breakthrough” that NIF announced pertains to what I would term “physics challenges”. One can identify three stages of physics challenges.

The first challenge is to have enough fusion reactions in the pellet that is blasted by lasers to produce more energy than is put into the target. That was what seems to have been seen at NIF: the reports say that the lasers pumped in 2.05 megajoules of energy and about 3.15 megajoules came out. All of this over a time period of a few nanoseconds (a nanosecond is one billionth of a second). The figure of 3.15 megajoules might seem like a lot but it is only 0.875 kilowatt-hours, that too of heat, which would produce perhaps 0.3 kilowatt-hours of electricity if it was used to boil water and drive a turbine. (For comparison, a rooftop solar panel that costs under Rs 30,000 in Delhi could generate around 5,000 times more electrical energy in a year.)

The second physics challenge is to produce more energy than is used by the facility as a whole. NIF is far from meeting this challenge. It admitted that just the 192 lasers consumed around 400 megajoules in the process of blasting the pellet. To this, we have to add all the energy that goes into running the other equipment and the facility as a whole.

The final physics challenge is to produce more energy than what is required to construct the facility and all the equipment. In the case of the ITER experiment, for example, it has been estimated that “the tokamak itself will weigh as much as three Eiffel towers [and the] total weight of the central ITER facility is around 400,000 tons”. As Daniel Jassby, a retired physicist from the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, put it, all this “must appear on the negative side of the energy accounting ledger”.

If these physics challenges are not met, of course, then one has a permanent loss-making facility in energy terms. NIF is far from meeting the latter challenges.

The next stage can be called an “engineering challenge” and that revolves around the question: how do you convert this experimental set up that produces energy for a microscopic fraction of a second into a continuous source of electricity that operates 24 hours a day and 365 days per year? To do that, these fusion reactions should occur several times each second, each second of the day, each day of the year. As of now, the lasers can fire only once a day, at a single target. To move from that state to what is required will need an improvement by a factor of over 500,000 (assuming around six shots per second).

But it is not just firing the laser. Each of these explosions produces a large amount of debris, which would have to be cleared. And then a new pellet has to be placed with utmost precision at the very spot where the lasers can focus their beams.

If all of this is not trouble enough, there is fuel procurement. NIF uses a “gold cylinder with a frozen pellet of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium”. Deuterium and tritium are isotopes of hydrogen. Deuterium is quite common but tritium is very scarce, because it decays radioactively with a half-life of only around 12 years. Fusion proponents often talk about generating tritium in situ, but this is an exceedingly difficult task, as Jasby has explained.

Even if one were to adopt the approach of watching superhero movies and willingly suspend disbelief to assume that all these engineering challenges are solved, then there is an even more difficult challenge: to make this incredibly complicated process into an economically competitive way of generating electricity. If one goes by history, the last could be a killer as has been the case with nuclear fission power, which is a far easier process in comparison to fusion.

Thus, these advances can better be described as “micron-stones”, to coin a term, rather than milestones, and that too on a path that might never lead to economical electricity generation. In the meanwhile, this recent experiment is far more likely to be useful to nuclear weapons designers.
And that’s from someone on your side of the political aisle, Mona. Just saying …

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Sat Jan 14, 2023 8:30 pm

Well, the British are all in.

On January 11th, the South Oxfordshire District Council gave approval for the building of a prototype fusion power plant.

https://www.powermag.com/officials-give ... r-project/
The UK plant will feature General Fusion’s magnetized target fusion, or MTF, technology, in advance of work on future commercial energy-producing facilities. The 10,500 m^^2 demonstration project will be built to a 70% scale of a commercial power plant, the company said, creating fusion conditions “in a power plant-relevant environment” in a process calling for temperatures of more than 100 million degrees Celsius. … snip … The building will include a 38-meter-high cylindrical, concrete fusion hall that will house General Fusion’s MTF machine. The machine will be wrapped with a “delicate, translucent fabric” that is designed to “soften the building’s appearance, and optimize natural ventilation.”
Oh geesh! That's important? When they don’t even know if it will work?

Look at how they describe it …
The design projects a confident message to the public about the extraordinary potential of this technology. It represents a clear shift in the relationship between environment and industry, moving from one of opposition to one of symbiosis.”
LOL! What a bunch of gobbledegook.

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Wed Feb 01, 2023 7:08 pm

Here's another article put out to sell the idea of commercial fusion to the gullible public ...

https://www.powermag.com/what-will-a-fu ... look-like/

The article starts off by once again telling about the NIF’s laser fusion success. Like we need to hear the same thing again and again and again. Then it asks what a fusion power plant might look like. Hmmmm. Yeah, that might be an interesting thing to know.

Wayne Solomon, vice president for Magnetic Fusion Energy with GA’s Energy Group, and Brian Grierson, GA’s Fusion Pilot Plant hub director were interviewed by the author. Grierson says they plan to use magnetic confinement and their plant will look very similar to today’s thermal units that use heat to produce electricity. Need I point out that the envisioned power plant's approach to fusion has nothing at all to do with the NIF experiment. So why start of the article by mentioning it? Well, never mind. Grierson says that will let them “reuse a lot of the infrastructure that already exists.” “In fact, much of the equipment at decommissioned power plants could be repurposed,” the article says. Really? Call me skeptical. When have these folks ever reused something? And so far we haven’t learned a thing about what a fusion power plant would really look like, have we?

Grierson goes on to say that they will use a “blanket” to breed fusion fuel. But that's nothing we don't already know. Then he says the power plant is going to require a cryogenic system to keep the superconducting magnets VERY cold. No idea what that looks like. And it will need a vacuum and exhaust processing system to recover the helium and unburned fuel. Again, I can't yet picture it ... but it sounds pretty complicated.

Then the article says that tritium, which the plant will need, is “relatively” scare. The "relative" qualifier lacks a bit of honesty because tritium is VERY scarce. The truth is there’s not enough on earth right now to run even a single power plant for a year. Not enough to run the demo power plants being envisioned for a year. Hence the need for this “blanket”. And how far along are they on that? Well, “GA recently published a paper on a new breeding blanket concept that Grierson believes has potential.” Has POTENTIAL. How many times have we heard that before? Hmmmm?

Then the article mentions the “challenge” of “dealing with the intense heat and particle flow in the fusion process” and from the sounds of it, that's not really worked out yet either. Then it admits there are “a whole range of other ‘relatively minor’ challenges” which could mean “we don’t see an actual plant in operation before the 2030s. The 2030s? Seriously, are they kidding, especially given how they already used the term "relatively".

Finally the article moves to it's conclusion by saying “both men are eagerly anticipating achieving net energy gain from magnetic confinement. They look forward to completion of the ITER project in France (which, as I’ve noted on this thread, has been delayed at least several years due to construction problems). Grierson says completion of it is “going to be a major celebration” … “a crowning achievement” for the fusion community. “I think it’s clear from our side that we believe fusion to generate electricity is going to transform the world with abundant clean energy,” concludes Solomon.

Well, it certainly is clear that they believe that ... but do we now have a clearer idea what a fusion power plant will look like?

No? Just saying ...

BeAChooser
Posts: 948
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:24 am

Re: Speaking of wasting money …

Unread post by BeAChooser » Sun Feb 05, 2023 9:08 pm

It’s odd, folks. You would think that when the world has already spent tens of billions of dollars building a machine that is still under contruction, and planning to spend perhaps tens of billions more completing and operating it over the next 2 to 3 decades, there would be a new article on the web about it every single day. Yet, when it comes to ITER there is not. Hmmmmmm…

Post Reply