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Commercial fusion plants in 10 to 12 years?


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#1 Blue

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 11:02 AM


"A laser at the national ignition facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California will soon be used to produce nuclear fusion in a process that could deliver vast amounts of clean, reliable energy in a process fuelled by nothing more than water and the hydrogen that it contains, explained Dr Edward Moses of Livermore... ...He described four technological steps required to make a laser powerful enough to produce nuclear fusion, saying that two of the four were already achieved. The third, getting a form of hydrogen called tritium into the beam, would take place this year and the fourth, actually fusing hydrogen into helium, would happen in 2011 or 2012. At this stage the system would be able to deliver 20 times more energy than the laser actually uses, what he called “scientific break-even”. He predicted the financial break-even would come in 10 to 12 years when the first laser-powered fusion electricity plant was built."
http://www.irishtime...4265037320.html

Unlike various to be unnamed financial black hole companies this looks like it could be the real thing. Something that would revolutionary change the world.
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#2 babcock

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 02:22 PM

"A laser at the national ignition facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California will soon be used to produce nuclear fusion in a process that could deliver vast amounts of clean, reliable energy in a process fuelled by nothing more than water and the hydrogen that it contains, explained Dr Edward Moses of Livermore... ...He described four technological steps required to make a laser powerful enough to produce nuclear fusion, saying that two of the four were already achieved. The third, getting a form of hydrogen called tritium into the beam, would take place this year and the fourth, actually fusing hydrogen into helium, would happen in 2011 or 2012. At this stage the system would be able to deliver 20 times more energy than the laser actually uses, what he called “scientific break-even”. He predicted the financial break-even would come in 10 to 12 years when the first laser-powered fusion electricity plant was built."
http://www.irishtime...4265037320.html

Unlike various to be unnamed financial black hole companies this looks like it could be the real thing. Something that would revolutionary change the world.


Much controversy on this subject, a lot of people think the NIF is just snake oil. Forum post about it:

http://www.imminst.o...nition facility

Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia....nition_facility
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#3 Blue

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 04:12 PM

Cost calculations and criticisms of the ITER fusion project are likely irrelevant since this is a different technology.

"A lot of people" seems to mainly mean the "Natural Resources Defense Council" which looks like an "Environmental Entrepreneurs" lobby so obviously they will dislike a competing technology.

Anyway, they stating a specific date so we will soon know more: "The third, getting a form of hydrogen called tritium into the beam, would take place this year and the fourth, actually fusing hydrogen into helium, would happen in 2011 or 2012."

They seem to have outside supporters: ""For the first time ever in the 50-year journey of laser fusion, these laser-plasma interactions have been shown to be less of a problem than predicted, not more," said Mike Dunne, director of the UK's Central Laser Facility and leader of the European laser fusion effort known as HiPER. "I can't overstate how dramatic a step that is," he told BBC News. "Many people a year ago were saying the project would be dead by now.""
http://news.bbc.co.u...ure/8485669.stm

"Research Councils UK (RCUK), which oversees the British government’s spending on science and technology, has said it believes that many of those obstacles are close to being overcome. It wants to commit Britain to a 20-year research and construction plan that would see a fusion power station in operation around 2030."
http://www.timesonli...icle7034945.ece
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#4 niner

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 08:36 PM

Much controversy on this subject, a lot of people think the NIF is just snake oil. Forum post about it:

http://www.imminst.o...nition facility

I don't want to just cut and paste from that thread, but I laid out the reasons why laser fusion isn't going to fly in the marketplace. The only way it will ever exist as a power generation method will be with massive government subsidy. That's pretty much the definition of a financial black hole.
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#5 Blue

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 09:55 PM

Much controversy on this subject, a lot of people think the NIF is just snake oil. Forum post about it:

http://www.imminst.o...nition facility

I don't want to just cut and paste from that thread, but I laid out the reasons why laser fusion isn't going to fly in the marketplace. The only way it will ever exist as a power generation method will be with massive government subsidy. That's pretty much the definition of a financial black hole.

No facts or sources except regarding ITER which is another technology.

Economic Evaluation of Electrical Power Generation Using Laser Inertial Fusion Energy (LIFE)
TM Anklam, Wayne Meier, Al Erlandson, Robin Miles, Aaron Simon
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Submitted to Fusion-Fission Hybrid Workshop
http://web.mit.edu/f...hite/Anklam.pdf

So according to their own calculation this form of fusion, or combined fusion-fission alternatives, will have about the same basic cost for base-load power (which intermittent power sources such as wind and sun cannot produce) as the traditional base-load forms (figure 1). With for the fusion form the advantage of no greenhouse gas or other air pollution emissions, no risk of a meltdown, no long-lived nuclear wastes, no dependency on foreign "resource curse" dictatorships, and enormous amounts of fuel. If coal and gas prices increase in the future the nuclear alternatives will be increasingly better.

Edited by Blue, 23 February 2010 - 09:58 PM.

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#6 niner

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Posted 23 February 2010 - 10:22 PM

Much controversy on this subject, a lot of people think the NIF is just snake oil. Forum post about it:

http://www.imminst.o...nition facility

I don't want to just cut and paste from that thread, but I laid out the reasons why laser fusion isn't going to fly in the marketplace. The only way it will ever exist as a power generation method will be with massive government subsidy. That's pretty much the definition of a financial black hole.

No facts or sources except regarding ITER which is another technology.

Economic Evaluation of Electrical Power Generation Using Laser Inertial Fusion Energy (LIFE)
TM Anklam, Wayne Meier, Al Erlandson, Robin Miles, Aaron Simon
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Submitted to Fusion-Fission Hybrid Workshop
http://web.mit.edu/f...hite/Anklam.pdf

So according to their own calculation this form of fusion, or combined fusion-fission alternatives, will have about the same basic cost for base-load power (which intermittent power sources such as wind and sun cannot produce) as the traditional base-load forms (figure 1). With for the fusion form the advantage of no greenhouse gas or other air pollution emissions, no risk of a meltdown, no long-lived nuclear wastes, no dependency on foreign "resource curse" dictatorships, and enormous amounts of fuel. If coal and gas prices increase in the future the nuclear alternatives will be increasingly better.

Yeah yeah. Anklam et al. claim that a Light Water Reactor (fission) will cost less than coal. Not coal with carbon capture and sequestration, just plain coal. Looking at the existing energy markets, I would have to say that they have some curious projections. I expect the fusion guys to be approaching the government with their hands out, just like the clean coal guys. If Anklam's predictions are correct, the market will happily fund a LIFE project. That seems unlikely, IMHO, but it will be great if it works out.
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#7 Blue

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 06:13 AM

The 46% LWR figure was not intended to show a realistic cost. The real LWR figure shows a somewhat lower cost for plain coal.

"A surprising result from this study is that the COE for the LIFE systems is only about 10%
higher than for LWR’s; surprising because the hybrid has many of the same costs as an LWR,
but also has a fusion driver. The reason for the equivalence is that the higher thermal efficiency
for LIFE, combined with somewhat lower capital costs for the LIFE target chamber and
containment building as compared to an LWR reactor vessel and internals, offsets the additional
cost of the driver and recirculating power load. To see the effect of thermal efficiency, we have
included a bar that shows the impact of artificially raising the thermal efficiency of an LWR to
46%. As expected, the LWR COE is then significantly less than that of the hybrids. "

Edited by Blue, 24 February 2010 - 06:38 AM.

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