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Fusion article. Is this for real?

 
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Ok, I have been a fusion fan-but-skeptic (I want it but I don’t know if it is feasible) for years.  I read this article HERE:

https://www.eetimes.com/helion-energy-achieves-key-fusion-milestone/

and the technology sounds very promising but I can’t tell how significant it is.  Significantly, I can’t decide if this device is generating an energy profit or not.

An interesting point is it’s energy conversion.  I have always wondered how fusion energy would be harvested.  Would it heat water to be boiled as in most every other type of power plant?  I had heard of direct electron capture (and aneutronic fusion, another important consideration to avoid radioactive byproducts), but that particular type of fusion requires boron and is particularly difficult to ignite.

This article states that the fusion is ignition free so I wonder just how energy is being derived.  Is this another case of “cold fusion?”

At any rate, I would love to hear other’s thoughts about the article.

Thanks in advance,

Eric
 
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I ran into a similar claim earlier and got nowhere.   I combed the MIT site as well as other known legit sites where one would expect to find discussion (such as cloudynights.com  ....a heavily moderated amateur astronomy site), I found nothing.
 
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Fascinating article Eric;
I don't claim to understand most of what they are talking about, but I like what I did understand.
If I was in a position of being an investor I would seriously  investigate this and consider getting involved early.
This sounds like it has real potential...  Lets hope it is followed thru and becomes a real deal!
Then I can sit back and lament how I didn't invest in it...  
 
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John,

I was kinda wondering about that.  I have recently seen a lot of buzz about Chinese fusion experiments reaching the 100 million degree mark, something repeated in this article.  I read another article about a British team that reportedly reached the same achievement.

This sounds suspiciously like repeating another’s accomplishment.  But truthfully, aside from a couple of articles originating from within China, I can’t verify the Chinese claim either.  Furthermore, I don’t know how important the 100 million degree figure is.  To me, the salient factor is making an energy profit—getting more energy out than put in—and to the best of my knowledge (please correct me if I am wrong here) the only way man-made fusion has achieved an energy profit is through thermonuclear weapons, definitely not an effective way to harvest energy and obviously non-permie.

Clearly this post reflects my inner skepticism.  I really want to be proven wrong, so if I am off, please tell me how.

Eric
 
Eric Hanson
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Thomas,

It does SOUND nice doesn’t it.  But it is noticeably thin on details and does not mention a peer reviewed journal article or similar.  This raises my suspicion.

The potential for direct capture of fusion energy is known, but I had not heard of it being practical.  Furthermore, I don’t know the point if the reaction takes more energy than it yields.

Eric
 
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There is this joke in the (nuclear) physics community: Fusion is always another 30 years away.
I don't think this has changed since.
 
Eric Hanson
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Sebastian,

Yes, I am well versed in that joke.  Great to hear someone else mentioning also.  

So this sounds more and more like Cold Fusion.  I remember getting really excited about cold fusion back in 1989 and really disappointed when it turned out to be nothing.  That experience really soured me to controllable fusion.  Since then I have learned some of the limitations that were not supposed to exist such as fusion producing some pretty whopping radiation and even leaving behind radioactive waste (it’s not huge but does exist).  I could go into details but that is probably best for a different post.

At any rate, maybe someday, but apparently fusion is not on the horizon today.  Too bad.

Eric
 
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Relative to the C/Fusion

Maybe interesting for some?

I think the original 60 minutes story aired April 2009.

 
John F Dean
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Maintaining a temp in excess of 100 million C is one of the thresholds to achieve fusion.
 
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https://aureon.ca/reactor

I've been following the SAFIRE Project for several years and I like what I'm seeing.  The big, superheated plasma fusion reactors have been making promises and spending huge gobs of money for years and have little to show for it.  SAFIRE model uses transmutation of matter in a plasma field to generate high temperatures which can be used to drive conventional steam turbines.  I think the Helion reactor would boil water too, as I do not know of any way to capture electricity directly from a fusion reaction.  Interesting that Helion says it will use Helium-3 as part of the fuel.  Helium-3 is thought to be rather plentiful on the moon, but rather scarce here on Earth.
 
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