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Fusion Power Corporation Information

  8880 Cal Center Drive, Suite 400, Sacramento, California   95826

         The Fusion Power Corporation (FPC) has been formed to design and provide consulting services to assist in the construction of a fusion power plant using the technology researched in US National Laboratories more than three decades ago.  This technology is mature but was never implemented in commercial practice.  The technology applications consist of coupling together existing commercially available ion sources, radio frequency (RF) accelerators, reaction vessel designs, and liquid metal heat exchange systems.  The physics of the fusion reaction itself is well understood and the use of an RF accelerator provides a driving system that has more than enough energy to initiate the fusion process.

         The lack of implementation of the fusion power plant concepts developed during the 1970s seems to have been for several reasons:  1) the funding for the program was removed because the prior research and development effort had been in a weapons research area of the Department of Energy and no funding was available in the civilian application program areas of the Department of Energy at that time;  2) the use of accelerator driven fusion required produced too much energy at a single facility and was not in keeping with the general utility philosophy of a multitude of small units rather than a single large unit: and, 3) the cost of an accelerator fusion driven system was considered by some to be 'too expensive'. 

         FPC has recognized that the output of a fusion system is heat – not electricity.  Yes, heat can be used to make steam and this steam can supply the energy for a conventional steam turbine power system.  But this wastes the high quality heat delivered by the fusion process.  The FPC solution is to use this high quality heat to provide the energy necessary for the disassociation of water into Hydrogen and Oxygen. The waste heat from the production of Hydrogen is used to produce steam for electricity generation. The Hydrogen is combined with CO2, extracted from the air used in cooling processes, and used in the syntheses of synthetic gasoline, diesel or jet fuel. 

Approximately half of the energy produced is thus delivered as a liquid fuel. Liquid fuels are the commodities that will be in short supply later this decade. Lower temperature waste heat can be used to produce fresh water through distillation if there is a need for water in the region.

         Success of the FPC business model depends on the design of a fusion power plant that can be constructed by a consortium of partners, oil companies, refiners, utilities, and other heat consuming industries.  FPC's primary role is to complete the design and to license this design to the implementing consortium.  FPC will also provide services to the implementing consortium and will endeavor to be a part owner in the consortium as well.




Corporate Overview

The modern world survives – and prospers – by the use of prodigious amounts of energy. Our global consumption of fossil fuel energy has increased nearly 8 fold in the last 60 years although our global population has only increased 2.5 times. Our fossil fuel resources are finite so this rate of usage has a limited life – oil is likely to peak in a few years, if it has not already peaked, and coal will follow suit in a few decades. Peaking does not mean that supply necessarily immediately declines but it does indicate that significant growth is no longer possible. Even the nemesis to many, nuclear fission energy, has its problems with safety as evidenced by recent events in Japan and waste management issues that are still unresolved after decades of effort.  New units are likely to require the use of reprocessed fuel and/or plutonium with its complex security requirements to prevent it from being used to make ‘bombs’.

The maintenance of our current level of energy consumption, let alone its growth to satisfy 
the needs of less developed economies, will require a new base load energy source. Biomass,
solar, and even wind energy are likely to grow too slowly to even meet the rapid decline of oil
resources that will begin in the next few years.  These forms of energy generation generally
have low energy return for energy invested and will not meet the future global demands for
energy. Nuclear takes years to permit, fuel availability is problematic, and severe containment,
security, safety and waste management issues abound.  Our only real hope for a large new
energy source is to rapidly bring fusion power on line.

The Fusion Power Corporation (FPC) believes that the solution to the energy problem is the rapid development of a new source of energy based on the use of the technique known as Heavy Ion Fusion (HIF).  This technique was thoroughly researched in the 1970's and has repeatedly been endorsed by the world scientific community.  The technique uses a moderate sized accelerator to provide the driver energy necessary to compress and ignite the fuel.  Model calculations show that the ratio of energy out to energy in can be as high as 500.  This means that the cost of energy produced by an HIF system should be comparable to the cost of the energy in old oil.  Moreover, a single accelerator can provide the ignition energy necessary to create from a fusion reactor complex energy equivalent of a super giant oil field (500,000 barrels of oil per day) with no carbon impact on the environment. 

Our immediate corporate goal is to design a fully operational fusion power system using a heavy ion accelerator as the driver to compress and heat the Deuterium/Tritium (DT) pellet in a reaction chamber.  Heavy ions, accelerated to about half the speed of light have sufficient energy to both compress and heat the DT fuel pellet to conditions that enable the fusion of the DT atoms to form Helium and an energetic neutron.  The resulting products have slightly less mass than the reactants and release large amounts of energy, in accordance with the equation introduced to all of us by Einstein in 1905, namely E=MC2.  The energy released is very large and results in the creation of a plasma fireball.  The temperature in this fireball is very high, more than enough to vaporize any material within a few feet of the center of the explosion.  Thus the reaction must be confined within a strong reaction chamber about 30 feet in diameter.  As the plasma cools, energy is extracted by a combination of processes and this energy is used to create useful products such as heat, hydrogen, and electricity. 

Each pulse results in the release of the energy equivalent to that released in the burning of 1.6 barrels of oil.  In a fully developed system, there is an pulse every 10th of a second, in one of the 10 reaction chambers.  This results in the production of the energy equivalent of 16 barrels of oil per second or 1.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Clearly, the production of this much energy means that the system is large and will require a substantial investment. But if the size is scaled correctly, it is very profitable and it is this profit that is the end reward for the investors in this project.

"What are these rewards? For a fully developed fusion energy complex (10 reaction chambers), the income stream is projected to be $20 billion per year if one uses the cost of the energy in coal as the basis for the pricing of the delivered energy. It is slightly greater, $25 billion, if one equates the energy produced to value of $50 per barrel oil. Direct operating and maintenance costs are likely to be in the range of $6 billion per year."

FPC plans to finance its development efforts through the issuance of stock and/or convertible notes to qualified investors.

Development of a Fusion power plant requires a complicated set of internal and external relationships.  These vary from compliance with governmental regulations that govern the production of electricity from thermonuclear power plants to the local issues of increased road traffic.  But they also include corporate relationships, such as the licensing of IP from existing IP holders, to the relationships between end users of the power.

FPC firmly believes that, by 2050, fusion will be the source of most of the world’s energy.  This is not wishful thinking, it is simply a way of stating that all other forms of energy that are based on the use of finite fossil fuel sources must decline in the next few decades.  This decline will provide a major impetus for the rapid increase in the utilization of this new form of energy.

 




World Energy Use by Fuel Type



Elements of the History


“See the thing as it is, not as you might want it to be.” 
   — David Bohm, among the earliest to envision power from fusion, in “Creativity” 


Development of nuclear science is inextricable from generating and handling energetic charged particles. The tool for the discovery of the nucleus was a beam of helium nuclei, then known as “alpha particles”, because they were the first “particle” to be given a name. Discovery of the nucleus demanded and got theoretical pictures of the atom, driving the development of quantum mechanics. The contemporaneous theory of relativity famously shook philosophical concepts, while quantum mechanics spawned technologies that did and continue to dramatically change the world.

One of the first man-made accelerators enabled observation of the fusion of the nuclei of light atoms—before the realization that fusion is the energy source of the stars, at the same time (1932) that fission of the nucleus was observed.

It may have been unavoidable that the background for the exhilaration of these momentous developments was a world in tumult. The path of nuclear science, and technologies such as RF power for communications and accelerators, led to important involvement in World War II. The world truly awoke to nuclear energy with the explosion of The Bomb. That we still permit these ultimately threatening weapons to exist underlines the urgency of taking nuclear energy to the stage where we enjoy its enormous benefits and deny its dark side. Fusion that precludes production of bomb materials is the only physical answer. A canon of FPC’s design is to prove this crucial goal is achievable.



Timeline of nuclear fusion - including HIF

Modified from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Timeline of significant events in the study and use of nuclear fusion:

  • 1952 – Ivy Mike demonstrated the energy from fusion.
  • 1952 - Cousins and Ware built a small toroidal pinch device in England, and demonstrated that instabilities in the plasma make pinch devices inherently unstable.
  • 1952, Ivy Mike shot of Operation Ivy: The first detonation of a hydrogen bomb, yield 10.4 megatons of TNT out of a fusion fuel of liquid deuterium. The "Ivy Mike" shot of 1 November 1952, was the first full test of a Teller-Ulam design "staged" hydrogen bomb, with a yield of 10 megatons. It was not a deployable weapon, however — with its full cryogenic equipment it weighed some 82 tons.
  • 1953 - pinch devices in the US and USSR attempted to take the reactions to fusion levels without worrying about stability. Both reported detections of neutrons, which were later explained as non-fusion in nature.
  • 1954 - ZETA device started operation at Harwell south of Oxford in England.
  • 1956 - Experimental research of tokamak systems started at Kurchatov Institute, Moscow by a group of Soviet scientists led by Lev Artsimovich.
  • 1958 - American, British and Soviet scientists began to share previously classified fusion research, as their countries declassified controlled fusion work as part of the Atoms for Peace conference in Geneva
  • 1958 - ZETA experiments ended. Several firings produced neutron spikes that the researchers initially attributed to fusion, but later realized were due to other effects. Last few firings showed an odd "quiet period" of long stability in a system that otherwise appeared to prove itself unstable. Research on pinch machines generally died off as ZETA appeared to be the best that could be done.
  • 1961 - The Soviet Union test the most powerful hydrogen bomb, the Tsar Bomba (50 megatons).
  • 1965 (approximate) - The 12 beam "4 pi laser" using ruby as the lasing medium is developed at LLNL includes a gas-filled target chamber of about 20 centimeters in diameter.
  • 1967 - Demonstration of Farnsworth-Hirsch Fusor appeared to generate neutrons in a nuclear reaction.
  • 1968 - Results from the T-3 Soviet magnetic confinement device, called a tokamak, which Igor Tamm and Andrei Sakharov had been working on - showed the temperatures in their machine to be over an order of magnitude higher than what was expected by the rest of the community. The Western scientists visited the experiment and verified the high temperatures and confinement, sparking a wave of optimism for the prospects of the tokamak, which is still the dominant magnetic confinement device today, as well as construction of new experiments.
  • 1970 -  Kapchinskii and Teplyakov conceive the “The ion linear accelerator with space-uniform strong focusing”. Demonstrated in 1979 at LANL, and named the radiofrequency quadrupole accelerator (RFQ). The concept increases the ion beam current that can be accelerated at low beta. This will be important for ICF drivers using high-energy heavy ions (HIF).
  • 1972 - The first neodymium-doped glass (Nd:glass) laser for ICF research, the "Long Path laser" is completed at LLNL and is capable of delivering ~50 joules to a fusion target.
  • 1974 - Taylor re-visited ZETA results of 1958 and explained that the quiet-period was in fact very interesting. This led to the development of "reversed field pinch", now generalized as "self-organizing plasmas", an ongoing line of research.
  • 1975 - Heavy ion beams using mature high-energy accelerator technology hailed as the elusive “brand-X” laser capable of driving fusion implosions for commercial power.

The Livingston Curve from Stanford SLAC Educ. Group modified to show the energy needed for fusion to occur.

 

  • 1975 - Experiments commence on the single beam LLNL Cyclops laser, testing new optical designs for future ICF lasers.
  • 1976 - Workshop, called by the US-ERDA (now DOE) at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, CA for an ad hoc two-week summer study of heavy ion fusion (HIF).  Fifty senior scientists from the major US ICF programs and accelerator laboratories participated, and program heads and a sprinkling of Nobel Prize laureates also attended. In the closing address, Dr. C. Martin Stickley, then Director of ERDA’s Office of Inertial Fusion, announced the conclusion was “no showstoppers” on the road to fusion energy using HIF.
  • 1976 - Design work on JET, the Joint European Torus, began.
    • The two beam Argus laser is completed at LLNL and experiments involving more advanced laser-target interactions are begun.
  • 1977 - The 20 beam Shiva laser at LLNL is completed and is capable of delivering 10.2 kilojoules of infrared energy on target. At a price of $25 million and a size approaching that of a football field, the Shiva laser is the first of the "megalasers" at LLNL and brings the field of ICF research fully within the realm of "big science".
  • 1978 - The JET project was given the go-ahead by then EC. The chosen site was an ex-RAF airfield south east of Oxford, UK.
  • 1979  LANL successfully demonstrates the radiofrequency quadrupole accelerator (RFQ). ANL and Hughes Research Laboratories demonstrate required ion source brightness with xenon beam at 1.5MeV.  Foster Panel reports to USDoE’s Energy Research and Advisory Board that HIF is the “conservative approach” to fusion power. Listing HIF’s advantages in his report to ERAB in 1979, John Foster remarked: “…now that is kind of exciting.” After DoE Office of Inertial Fusion completed review of programs, Director Gregory Canavan decided to accelerate the HIF effort.
  • 1982 - Tore Supra construction was started at Cadarache, France. Its superconducting magnets permitted it to generate a strong permanent toroidal magnetic field. [2]
  • 1982 - HIBALL study by German and US institutions uses the high repetition rate of the RF accelerator driver to serve four reactor chambers and first-wall protection using liquid lithium inside the chamber cavity.  Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung; Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching; Kernforschungszentrum Karlsruhe, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik, Garching.
  • 1983 - JET was completed on time and on budget. First plasmas achieved.
    • The NOVETTE laser at LLNL comes on line and is used as a test bed for the next generation of ICF lasers, specifically the NOVA laser.
  • 1984 - The huge 10 beam NOVA laser at LLNL is completed and switches on in December. NOVA would ultimately produce a maximum of 120 kilojoules of infrared laser light during a nanosecond pulse in a 1989 experiment.
  • 1985 - National Academy of Sciences reviewed military ICF programs, noting HIF’s major advantages clearly but averring that HIF was “supported primarily by other [than military] programs”. The review of ICF by the National Academy of Sciences marked the trend with the observation: “The energy crisis is dormant for the time being.” Energy is the sole purpose of heavy ion fusion.
  • 1985 - The Japanese tokamak, JT-60 was completed. First plasmas achieved.
  • 1988 - The T-15, Soviet tokamak with superconducting helium-cooled coils was completed.
  • 1988 - The Conceptual Design Activity for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), the successor to T-15, TFTR, JET and JT-60, began. Participants were EURATOM, Japan, Soviet Union and United States. It ended in 1990.
  • 1988 - The first plasma was produced in Tore Supra in April. [3]
  • 1989 - On March 23, two Utah electrochemists, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, announced that they had achieved cold fusion: fusion reactions which could occur at room temperatures. However, they made their announcements before any peer review of their work was performed, and no subsequent experiments by other researchers revealed any evidence of fusion.
  • 1990 - Decision to construct the NIF "beamlet" laser at LLNL is made.
  • 1991 - The START Tokamak fusion experiment began in Culham. The experiment would eventually achieve a record beta (plasma pressure compared to magnetic field pressure) of 40% using a neutral beam injector. It was the first design that adapted the conventional toroidal fusion experiments into a tighter spherical design.
  • 1992 - The Engineering Design Activity for the ITER began. Participants were EURATOM, Japan, Russia and United States. It ended in 2001.
  • 1992 – The last nuclear bomb testing … finishing the studying of the minimum amount of energy necessary get nuclear fusion to occur.
  • 1993 - The TFTR tokamak at Princeton (PPPL) experimented with 50% deuterium, 50% tritium, eventually producing as much as 10 megawatts of power from a controlled fusion reaction.
  • 1994 - The USA declassifies information about indirectly-driven (hohlraum) target design. Comprehensive European-based study of HIF driver begins, centered at the Gesellshaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) and involving 14 laboratories, including USA and Russia. The Heavy Ion Driven Inertial Fusion (HIDIF) study will be completed in 1997.
  • 1994 - NIF Beamlet laser is complete and begins experiments validating the expected performance of NIF.
  • 1996 - A record was reached at Tore Supra: a plasma duration of two minutes with a current of almost 1 million amperes driven non-inductively by 2.3 MW of lower hybrid frequency waves (i.e. 280 MJ of injected and extracted energy). This result was possible due to the actively cooled plasma-facing components installed in the machine. This result opened the way to the active control of steady state plasma discharges and the associated physics. [4]
  • 1997 - LLNL study compared projected costs of power from ICF and other fusion approaches to the projected future costs of existing energy sources. HIF power was estimated to cost slightly more than natural gas and slightly less than a next generation fission plant, without exploiting HIF’s ability to drive multiple fusion power chambers.
  • 1997 - The JET tokamak in the UK produced 16 MW of fusion power - the current world record for fusion power. Four megawatts of alpha particle self-heating was achieved.
    • Groundbreaking ceremony held for the National Ignition Facility (NIF).
    • Combining a field-reversed pinch with an imploding magnetic cylinder resulted in the new Magnetized Target Fusion concept in the U.S.. In this system a "normal" lower density plasma device was explosively squeezed using techniques developed for high-speed gun research.
  • 1998 - Results of European-based study of heavy ion driven fusion power system (HIDIF, GSI-98-06) incorporates telescoping beams of multiple isotopic species. This technique multiplies the 6-D phase space useable for the design of HIF drivers.
  • 1998 - HIBALL [1], and a new design was prepared incorporating advances in accelerator technology and improvements in computational techniques. Up to 14 laboratories have been associated with the study, which at the end of 1997 culminated in a complete layout described in an interim report [2].
  • 1998 - The JT-60 tokamak in Japan produced a high performance reversed shear plasma with the equivalent fusion amplification factor Qeq of 1.25 - the current world record of Q.
  • 1999 - The United States withdrew from the ITER project.
  • 2001 - Building construction for the immense 192 beam 500 terawatt NIF project is completed and construction of laser beamlines and target bay diagnostics commences. The NIF is expected to take its first full system shot in 2010.
    • Negotiations Meeting on the Joint Implementation of ITER begins. Participants were Canada, European Union, Japan and Russia.
  • 2002 - Claims and counter-claims were published regarding bubble fusion, in which a table-top apparatus was reported as producing small-scale fusion in a liquid undergoing acoustic cavitation. Like cold fusion, it was later dismissed.
  • 2003 - The United States rejoined the ITER project, and China and Republic of Korea newly joined while Canada withdrew.
  • 2003 - Cadarache in France selected as the European Candidate Site for ITER.
  • 2004 - The United States dropped its own project, the Fusion Ignition Research Experiment (FIRE), to focus resources on ITER.
  • 2005 - Following final negotiations between the EU and Japan, ITER chose Cadarache over Rokkasho for the site of the reactor. In concession, Japan was made the host site for a related materials research facility and was granted rights to fill 20% of the project's research posts while providing 10% of the funding.
    • The NIF fires its first bundle of 8 beams achieving the highest ever energy laser pulse of 152.8 kJ (infrared).
  • 2006 - China's EAST test reactor is completed, the first tokamak experiment to use superconducting magnets to generate both the toroidal and poloidal fields.
  • 2008 - Single pass HIF patent applied for by Robert Burke, USA
  • 2009 - Ricardo Betti the third Under Secretary, responsible for Nuclear Energy, testified before Congress: “IFE [ICF for energy production] has no home”.
  • 2009 - Construction of the NIF reported as complete.
  • 2010 – HIF-2010 Symposium in Darmstadt Germany. Robert J Burke presented on Single Pass HIF and Charles Helsley made a presentation on the commercialization of HIF within the decade.
  • 2010 – NAS appoints a committee to study the “Prospects for Inertial Confinement Fusion Energy Systems”
  • 2011 - May 23-26 Workshop for Accelerators for Heavy Ion Fusion at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, presentation by Robert J. Burke on "Single Pass Heavy Ion Fusion". 
  • 2012 - 19th HIF Symposium, Berkeley, CA,  R. J. Burke presented a paper on "The Single Pass RF Driver: Final beam compression"[3] and C.E. Helsley presented "Economic Viability of Large-scale Fusion Systems"[4]
  • 2013 - March - Russia awards patent No 2 477 897 to Arcada Systems (RJBurke), "Single Pass Heavy Ion Fusion"

 

Notes

  1. ^ ...the first money to be allocated [to controlled nuclear research] happened to be for Tuck, and was diverted from Project Lincoln, in the Hood Laboratory. The coincidence of names prompted the well-known cover name "Project Sherwood". James L. Tuck, "Curriculum Vita and Autobiography," Declassified document from Los Alamos National Laboratory (1974), reproduced with permission.
  2. Heavy Ion Driven Inertial Fusion (HIDIF) study
  3. R. Burke, Nuclear Instruments & Methods in Physics Research A (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j. nima.2013.05.080i
  4. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168900213007067

 

 








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Hal Helsley,
Nov 10, 2013, 11:30 PM
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Hal Helsley,
Feb 7, 2013, 8:56 PM
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Hal Helsley,
May 23, 2014, 10:31 PM
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Hal Helsley,
May 23, 2014, 10:53 PM
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Hal Helsley,
Feb 7, 2013, 8:52 PM
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Hal Helsley,
Nov 17, 2014, 10:56 AM
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Hal Helsley,
May 23, 2014, 10:53 PM
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Hal Helsley,
Nov 11, 2013, 12:51 AM
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