Sunday, January 18, 2015

An Industry Emerges


An Industry Emerges


“We’re here to put a dent in the universe, otherwise why else even be here?” – Steve Jobs

     ITER is expensive.  Nobody knows how much.  It could be 16, 21 or 50 billion dollars [9-12].  It is not going to be commercial at that price.  Moreover, ITER will never make energy.  That was fine, when it was the only path to fusion power.  But that is not true anymore.

    NIF has failed.  It cannot get ignition [17].  Even if it could, would it be commercial?  The machine is complex.  It is expensive and inefficient.  Heaps of taxpayer dollars were spent on this.  The public should be furious.   Someone needs to be held accountable. 


    These efforts have stalled.  Their future looks dim.  But, we cannot wait fifty years for fusion power.  Climate change will not allow us. Young fusioneers realize this.  They are not joining ITER or NIF.  They are joining a new breed of companies.  Together, they are building an entirely new fusion industry.  Their collective hope, is to put a dent in the universe. 


Old ideas are ending:

        Traditionally, fusion has focused on any idea in the laser or tokomak family.  Laser fusion means inertial confinement fusion.  This includes: direct drive or indirect drive, fast ignition or magneto-inertial fusion [54].  Basically, any time you are squashing stuff with a laser.  This set of ideas has received over 12 billion in US funding in its’ fifty year lifespan [36].  Currently, it has a poor outlook.  The flagship machine, NIF, was costly and complex.  It was also a colossal failure [55].  The other family of ideas revolves around the tokamak.  The tokamak family covers: spheromaks, the levitating dipole and all the stellerator designs [56, 57].  Basically anytime plasma is raced around in a loop.  Over 177 tokamaks have been built, designed or operated.  The newest version, ITER is very expensive, complex and behind schedule [64].  Things are not going well.  


      Even attempts to commercialize the tokamak are not succeeding.   Tokamak Solutions is a British startup doing just that.  It was founded in 2009 [98].  But, after spending 10 million, the company is little more than a diversion for retired scientists.   The staffs’ average age is over 60 [58 - 63].  They speculate about using the Tokamak as a neutron source.  If this is their business model - they are going to get killed.  Phoenix Nuclear Labs has already commercialized a smaller, cheaper and better neutron source.  Their technology is based on fusors a much simpler path to fusion plasmas [35].  Bottom line: tokamaks and lasers are on their way out.

    This is a historic.  For decades, our focus has been on just “getting there”.  Merely getting fusion.  This meant holding a hotter plasma with a higher density for longer.  This is known in the field, as the triple product (density, temperature and confinement time).  People ran roughshod over price, scalability, efficiency or size.  No one cared: they built massive, expensive and complex machines.  But today; we have arrived.  We can do fusion - continuously - for thousands of hours, and for thousands of dollars [35, 22].  We are done with “getting there”.  The next step is commercialization.
 

An alternative fusion industry:

    Since 2000, a dozen fusion companies have been founded [73-105].  Together, they represent a fledgling new industry.  The alternative fusion industry.  What does this industry look like?  I estimate that as of December 2014, it has roughly 450 million in total investment [73-105].  It also engages roughly 330 people [73-105].  These people are spread across a dozen organizations.  A summary of some of the relevant groups is given below [73-105].


These firms are expanding several root technologies simultaneously.  These are: polywells, fusors, dense plasma focus, beam fusion, field reversed configurations and cusp confinement.  There is plenty of overlap.  For example: general fusion has a hybrid between a field reversed configuration and a laser fusion style implosion [33].  Because it is so new - the industry suffers the classic “first-mover” disadvantages.  They have to find a way to get funding, train talent and solve incredible technical problems.  The groups have plenty in common: determined founders, failures and funding issues.  The collective goal is fusion energy - but there are differing views on how get there.

Paths to fusion power:
 

         All these concepts work with plasma.  This is a soup of electrons and ions.  The goal for every ides is to make the ions collide and fuse.  This makes neutrons.  The more neutrons, the more fusion.  Amateurs can make a million a second [22, 23].  Phoenix Nuclear Labs can do 100 billion while JET can do at least 16 quadrillion (the world record) [24, 65].  Next, you must sustain fusion.  This “shot time” is driven by containment.  Focus fusion argues that all they need is a nanosecond for net power, while General Fusion is aiming for hundreds of microseconds and Tri Alpha Energy says it can do 5 milliseconds [30, 31, 66, 67].  But who knows?  Mr. Griengers’ homemade fusor can fuse for hours at room temperature [22, 23].  Could the polywell give the same behavior?  Dr. Park has suggested it; especially if the plasma can be heated steadily [1]. 

          Once you contain the hot plasma, you must extract energy.  Not every team has planned this far.  General Fusion wants to absorb everything in a liquid blanket, heat it and make steam [29].  Focus fusion has suggested a traveling wave tube [30].  Polywellers have pushed for a form of direct conversion.  These last two ideas are shown below.

Here is how these ideas work: exhaust from fusion is a mixture of neutrals, ions, electrons and gas.  It is a mess.  It comes off in all directions.  It comes off at many speeds.  First, we must beat this stuff into submission.  Ideally, we only want a beam with one kind of charge.  The traveling wave tube uses a positive beam.  Ions fly down the center.  They pull electrons from the surrounding wire.  This makes a flowing current.  Direct conversion puts metal in the way of the beam [127 - 129].  Ions are absorbed – holding one side of a circuit, steadily positive.  You can draw a current from this.  Several teams have discussed integrating these extraction methods directly into their design [20, 122].  But, though we can do relatively cheap fusion, for hours [22, 23, 35] no commercial team can steadily draw a current from fusion.  Not yet.

The Energy Balance:


           What comes after energy collection?  Optimization.  That will revolve around the energy balance.  Any hot plasma concept must grapple with this equation.



John Lawson gave us this equation in 1957 [108].  It is the energy balance for a machine fusing with a hot plasma.  We have always merely tried to boost the first term: the fusion rate.  But we may finally be changing focus.  The next term is conduction.  This is the loss of mass.  Anytime a plasma touches a surface, it is lost.  The newest designs (polywells, Lockheeds’ machine, the dynomak, Phoenix Nuclear Labs’ device) all appreciate this.  They all have smooth surfaces - and some cases, no surfaces at all.  Both PNL and the polywell have vast spaces in the center [1, 24].  Space without a solid wall limits conduction loss.  After this comes the radiation term.  If a particle ever changes speed, it loses some energy as light [109].  This happens everywhere inside the cloud, and for many reasons.  Radiation is a function of cloud composition, temperature, density, size and structure.  Fusioneers are just starting to tune their plasmas to beat this problem.  For example: the polywell works best with tons of cold electrons, and a few hot ions [25].

Can this distribution be done?  We do not know – mixing and instabilities will fight against it [130].  But, it is possible to make plasmas which do not have the common bell curve [25, 110].  Tuning plasma clouds to beat radiation loss is going to be important.  Finally, there is machine efficiency.  Most fusion machines are very inefficient.  NIF is one example.  It takes 200 units of electrical energy to make one unit of laser energy [72].  New methods for energy capture will go a long way to improve overall efficiency.  Realize: if the energy balance was correct; the fusor could make net power. 


New Design Principals:


            Wither they know it or not, these groups are embracing a new set of design principals.  I call these the new principals of fusion energy.  They that have emerged in the past 10 years - outside tokamaks and laser fusion worlds. 

1.  The Blob is Death.  In 1994, Todd Rider assessed the polywell theoretically and came to conclusion it would fail [5, 106].  This post can walk you through his work [107].  Rider did something even more profound, that few appreciate.  He told us what not to do.  He showed that if you merely have a hot plasma blob, you cannot expect net power.  A “blob” is a hot, thermalized, uniform, unstructured cloud of ions.  The blob is death.  Anything you can do to get away from the blob, helps.  This includes squeezing the plasma (ICF, General Fusion, Sandias’ Z-machine) spinning the plasma (Tri Alpha Energy, ITER, JET, Helion), flattening the plasma (focus fusion, theta pinch) or structuring the plasma (polywell, Lockheed).  The further from the blob, the better. 

2.  Electric heating. You can accelerate ions down a negative voltage, heating them to fusion temperatures [131].  Today, this is the cheapest and simplest method for heating to fusion.  This is arguably far better than options like radiofrequency heating, neutral beam injection or magnetic oscillation.  Radiofrequency heating works in the same way that a microwave heats food [21, 27, 28].  Beam injection starts by heating the gas; by temporary charging it and racing it down a voltage [132].  The beam is then neutralized and shot into the reactor.  Magnetic oscillation (as I understand it) varies the field around a plasma.  Lockheed is notably following this last path [21, 27, 28].


3.  Cusp confinement. You can hold a plasma with a sharply bent magnetic field [1, 133-135].  This has been long predicted – but never seen until Parks’ work [1].  There are many unknowns, but if it is successful - it may lead to the worlds’ best plasma trap.  In these systems, the plasma “pushes back” the containing field.  This makes to a magnetic free region with an electric current flowing on its’ skin [133-135].  Theoretically, this structure is stable; but who knows?    There are a myriad of instabilities which could destroy it [130].  We may know much more when Lockheed publishes what it has learned on their system [21, 27, 28]. 


4.  Direct conversion.  Direct conversion has been discussed for decades.  The trend of incorporating it directly into designs is what is exciting. This was tested on the TMX fusion device and it achieved a 48% efficiency [128]. 


Summary:

      
Certainly, fusion is changing.  We need to stop seeing it as a hodge-podge of technological novelties and start seeing it as a fledgling industry.  An industry where innovation is happening much faster than in “big science”.  An industry which must work around price.  Where will all this take us?  No one knows.  My hope is to a cheap, scalable, clean, carbon-free energy source for all mankind.  My hope is we can summon effort needed to build this tool and the wisdom to use it wisely.  


Summary of Funding By Concepts [73-105]

 
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Lockheed Blew It

Lockheed Blew It

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool." - Richard Feynman 

Introduction:

     There have been several fusion announcements this year.  General fusion published work.  Dr. Park showed evidence of cusp confinement.  The University of Washington covered a new spheromak device.  Parks' paper has arguably the most data - and the least speculation.  If cusp confinement is verified, Park could win the Nobel Prize.  

     Then there is Lockheed.  They announced that they have a design for a fusion reactor.  They gave us no verifiable data.  They made a dreamy YouTube movie covering the idea.  Ideas are worthless against real observations. They did an interview and put out three patent applications.  But without numbers, how can we trust them?

     Dr. Steven Cowley said it best: “If it was not Lockheed Martin, you’d say it was probably a bunch of crazies.”  The Lockheed management blew it.  They will be laughed at by the science community.  They need to tell us: what they did, what they saw and why.  That would give us something to verify.   


We Should Be Furious:

       Going to press with no publications is dangerous.  Not just for them - but for this whole community.  We know that from history.  Once upon a time, two guys claimed they could fuse atoms in a jar.  It amounted to nothing.  But it did so much lasting damage to the fusion community:

1. Distortion.  Claims are wildly misinterpreted.  Lockheeds' machine is already being distorted by the media and public.  They should have fixed the details, upfront. 

2. Killing Funding.  Claims leave us only guesses as to the mechanism.  It sets us all up to fail.  Failures in cold fusion killed funding streams for many, many years.  This could do the same thing.

3. Wastes Time.  Claims give us nothing to go on.  It easily leads people down fruitless research paths.  This waste time and resources.

4. Damages Perception.  Claims in cold fusion ruined the public’s image of our community.  This announcement could do the same.   

     Cold fusion set us back a whole generation - 25 years.  Lockheed is running the risk of repeating history.  Making the case for a new technology is hard.  It cannot be rushed.  The polywell community has been meticulously building the case for years.  We are not sure if this will ultimately work; and we are no where near finished.  Jumping ahead could destroy what we worked so hard to build.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fusion In Upheaval

Fusion In Upheaval

          On May first, congress released another climate change report.  841 pages of bad news [31].  Climate change is already happening.  It will get worse.  An ice sheet, the size of New Mexico and Arizona is sliding into the ocean [32].  Mankind can hear the slow ticking, of an environmental time bomb.

          Climate change is manmade.  It is caused by the burning of carbon fuels.  We cannot seem to stop.  To stop, we need a zero-emission energy alternative.  One so cheap that pulls in the entire world.  Energy that is so plentiful, it replaces all existing sources.  Fusion could be that solution.   
      
          We need a determined effort to make it real.  We are running out of time.  We need to push every option.  This is including (and especially) new options.  Traditionally, funding has failed here.  But that may finally be changing. 

Fusion is in upheaval.  The ignition effort has failed.  Billionaires and crowds are funding ideas.  Teenagers are becoming fusioneers.  New paths are rising from obscurity.  Few have noticed it yet - but a revolution is on its way. 


  
Part 1: A Polywell Publication

Introduction:

          In June, Energy Matter Conversion Company opened up a submitted paper to the public.  If this data is true, the navy may have found the worlds’ best plasma trap.  Check it out yourself.  The response has been electric.  The link ricocheted around twitter, Linkedin and Google+.  Several blogs are covering this, as did NBC News [56].  Long dormant users, have suddenly rejoined Talk-Polywell.  There is plenty to celebrate.  This paper is spectacular.  It will turn heads; and here is why:

1.  Firm Theory: James Tuck and Harold Grad predicted this data.  Dr. Tuck was a forefather of fusion research and a key part of the Manhattan project.  Grad was a famous NYU professor.  Grad’s body of work gives the Navy a rock solid theoretical basis [51]. 

2.  Great Team: A very large, credible, team contributed: nine authors and thirteen helpers [50].  Several groups are represented: two companies, a European university, Los Alamos and the US Navy.

3.  Fine Equipment: The machine was finely made; and very powerful.  Eight tools measured the plasma [50].  This gave totally new data.  Data that has long been sought – but that was always too expensive to get.  View a model of their machine here.

4.  Supporting Cast:  Amateur fusion is spreading.  As people see live demonstrations of fusion the public opinion will shift.  This research will get noticed.
      
    5.  Strong Messenger: Dr. Park has a doctorate in plasma physics from Princeton and worked at Los Alamos for 12 years.  His creditability can sell this [54].  He has started with a physic seminar at UC Irvine and a talk at Wisconsin-Madison [52, 53]. 


There will be scientific criticism.  This is healthy.  It will come from many quarters.  If the data holds – it will put the polywell on a firm footing.  Something that other ideas never had.  That does not mean the polywell is: “the greatest idea ever” or “totally bogus.”  What it means is: we need to fully fund research; now.  Right now.  Currently, this work is looking for a new home.  Will it be a company, or a university, or a national lab?  Only time will tell.




Cusp Confinement:

          What makes this, the worlds’ best plasma trap?  It uses cusp confinement.  This was always an idea on paper, but was never a working system.  Cusps are sharply curved fields.  They bend into one another.  This trapping method dates back to the early days of fusion research.  A family of designs tried to realize it.  Some examples are shown below [55].  




In the 1950’s, mathematicians predicted that these designs could be very stable [55, 58].  They started from first principles.  Using the equations that give equilibrium in a conducting fluid - in the presence of a magnetic field – people like Harold Grad analyzed various configurations.  The high pressure, cusped system came out as stable. These equations are shown below [59].




The reason for the stability was: that the magnetic field was balanced by a surface current [59].  A thin current ran down the edges of the plasma.  The high pressure meant that ions and electrons push into the edge.  This was called the “free-boundary” [55].  I am still trying to understand Grads’ work, as well as this system.  If the field does not penetrate the cloud, then there are many implications. 


“Free-boundary” Plasmas:


          It must be stressed that this design is very new.  More work is needed.  First to verify it, then to understand it and finally to use it.  If true, it provides a sharp contrast with typical systems.  This is best explained with illustration.




These are very different pictures.  The first is a magnetized plasma.  Normally, the field enters the plasma.  The particles follow the field; corkscrewing around.  As they move, they radiate energy [63, 64].  This path may take them out of the trap.  If the fields curved, it can also fling particles outward [62].  The second is the “free-boundary” concept.  It has a higher density.  Ideally, sharply curved fields and high pressure plasmas would be required.  Critically - this system may be magnetohydrodynamically stable [55, 58].  In fifties, few people grasped the consequences of this.  In the 50+ years since we have learned just how unstable plasma is.  There are tons of instabilities.  Avoiding even a handful would be great.  This is characterized by the field not entering the cloud.  Because of this, the particles corkscrewed less.  This leads to a drop in synchrotron radiation losses [51].  This is a big help for any power plant scheme.  

A New, Old Path:

          Work has been done on cusped system.  Efforts were made to model [58, 59] explain [57] and even build [60, 61] these machines.  But, making a high pressure plasma is hard to do - and the low pressure systems leaked [50].  They leaked a lot.  Many people tried to plug leaks.  Sharp fields were even used in the mirror program.  This also failed.  People moved on.  The fields were looped; making tokamaks.  The “free boundary” became more of an idea.  Taught in lecture – or used in astrophysics.  Not something we could do; and certainly not involved in manmade fusion.  The navy work could change all that.


Part 2: Livermore Ends LIFE


Livermore: what are you doing?

          NIF has put on a dazzling show lately.  In February they heralded a gain in energy: more energy out, than in [15].  The press proclaimed this as a ‘breakthrough’.  It was all over the news [16 - 23].  Head researcher Omar Hurricane was hailed.  CBS compared it to the Wright Brothers’ first flights [24].  Things were looking up. 

         Then Livermore did something even more profound: it ended laser fusion energy [25].  In April, the lab quietly shelved the LIFE program.  This was a path to fusion energy using lasers.  The media failed to notice this change.  It is a quiet admission, of a colossal misstep.  A decade’s long, multi-billion dollar mistake: the National Ignition Facility has failed to get Ignition.  Worst still - a paper from LANL has suggested it’s farther off than predicted [29].  How was 13 billion spent [28] and ignition never achieved?  Why is no one furious?



ICF: Moving Goal Posts

      Laser fusion went public in 1972, with John Nuckolls famous paper [48].  This document was not much.  Four short pages.  It predicted that lasers - at one thousand joules - could lead to fusion energy.  This was ignition, a fusion chain reaction.  One thousand joules was a threshold (the first of many). When that failed, the labs predicted ignition at 5 kJ, then 10kJ, then 100kJ, then 200kJ, and finally 1.8 megajoules [33]. That too, has now failed [49].

      Why was this allowed? The reasons are not wholly scientific. Since commercial fusion does not exist, there is a natural tug-of-war over what a plant would look like. Politicians fund one idea and kill others. Sadly, fusion gets political. Cold-war politics drove early fusion research. The US had to get it before the USSR. Later, the reasoning got more muddled. Was it good money following bad? Fighting between the national labs? A lack of public inquiry? Chris Paine, of the Resource Defense Council, has even suggested the process was underhanded. His article, When Peer Review Fails: The Roots of the NIF Debacle called the NIF approval process: “secretive and biased."

      Historians can debate the reasons for decades to come – but climate change is here, now. It is not waiting on any of this. All efforts must be refocus on clean fusion power. Failed ideas, persisting for bad reasons, must die. New paths must be explored. We cannot waste any time.
         
Part 3: Northwest Nuclear Consortium

Introduction:

          Carl Greninger is one very passionate guy.  His first passion is education; and he is not happy with the trends.  He points to a high school dropout rate - in his state - of 24% [7].  Deeper still: Carl is upset that schools are not getting kids excited about science. The kids “…were not impressed, I suddenly saw that while we may be teaching the curriculum - if we’re not inspiring, if we’re not creating passion, then it is a waste of time…” [8].  Fed-up with this, Carl decided to act.  He started the northwest nuclear consortiumin 2010 [9].  This group is: “the only nuclear engineering curriculum for public high school students in the U.S. with a working fusion reactor” [10].  Each week, a group of students and instructors meet to do nuclear fusion at Mr. Greningers’ home [12]. 




Standoffish parents - have rapidly become noisy supporters of NWNC.  Their kids have collectively won $410,000 in college scholarships [9].  Wow.  They also are crushing in science fairs.  They won 2nd place in physics, at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair beating out millions of other entries [11].  They have also won state and local competitions [12, 43].  There are currently four projects/teams listed [13]:

1.  Safety Team.  Neighbors fearful of safety flaws called the Office of Radiation Protection [14].  They sent Mike Brennan, a Washington state radiation health physicist.  Mike declared: “I think that it is not only safe, but he is teaching safety [creating] a culture of safety…”  A team monitors doses, metals, shielding and personal protection.

2.  Ion accelerator Team.  A team is making a tool that speeds ions down a negative 240K volt drop.  The potential is made using an AC to DC voltage multiplier.  The resulting ion beam will add to the groups’ capabilities.

3.  CR-39 Team.  With fusion, come neutrons.  Their release in fusors is not well understood.  A team covered a wall with detectors, charting out the neutrons [43].  Results showed most fusion occurring when ions hit the cage, not one another. 

4.   GEEKS.  A team is developing software to control the reactor remotely, using Microsoft Server 2012.

This group has started to turn heads.  On May Sixth, representatives from Microsoft, Areva, Boeing and the American Nuclear Society attended an NWNC open house.  They are waking up to what these 8th graders already know: there is something very exciting going on here.



Part 4: General Fusion

Introduction:

         On March seventeenth, General Fusion spoke at TED largest conference [46].  You can watch the talk here.  Its founder, Michel Laberge has been in fusion for twelve years.  He has earned this recognition.  The company started as his kooky idea.  He has some cash, a PhD and a mid-life crisis.  Over time, it has moved down a typical startup path (by contrast, EMC2 and LPP have not).  Board seats were first given to investors; and then later, to energy industry veterans [35].  This was needed to secure 55 million funding, get mainstream press and to hire the sixty employees [1].  But, the cash comes with strings.  If successful - the VC firms will reap the winnings.  The company has also been publishing: four papers last year [3-6]. Blogger Henning Dekant recently got a look at their labs [2]. He described it as: “…an engineering approach to fusion and [we] are in a hurry…” Good. We need to hurry.


Overview:

       Michels’ first paper explains the idea simply [34].  It uses a lead-lithium liquid wall.  This moves around a spherical chamber.  Pumps spin the metal along the equator and draw it off at the poles.  This forms a cavity in the center.  Deuterium and tritium is shot into this cavity [36].  This is done with a toroid.  It is then compressed by a pressure wave.  The cavity reaches fusion condition.  If fusion happens, the liquid metal absorbs any products.  That liquid then exchanges heat with fluid stream.  This turns turbines, making electrical power. 


On paper, I like this idea.  Riders’ thesis tells us that hot, uniform plasma with a bell curve of energy – is a bad direction to go in.  This design goes in the opposing direction.  It heats the plasma.  It spins the plasma.  It squeezes the plasma.  It combines several old fusion ideas: a liquid wall, a closed magnetic field and compression [40].  Ken Fowler, fusion great, loved this idea [36].  On paper, it looks fine.

Modeling:

          A model of their prototype was made.  This is a machine being used now [46, 45].  The model is rough.  Ballpark values were used.  Since this is in the design phase, that is fine.  Numbers will continue to vary – between tests, targets and what is affordable.   The core is a one meter sphere.  Fourteen pistons surround this chamber.  They are steam driven.  They hit steel anvils outside; not the lead itself.  This is illustrated below.  The chamber (a sixteen sided polyhedron) was estimated from pictures.



The chamber is filled with a mixture of lead, with a 7/10th percentage of lithium.  This is at ~400 Celsius and at a density of ~10,000 kilogram per cubic meter [38, 39, 6].  It is spun at a few meters per second [47], around a forty centimeter cavity [37].  The cavity may be evacuated, filled with air or argon [4].  Control over spinning really gives them an edge over ICF.  It controls their target, simplifying it.  This may help with the Rayleigh–Taylor instability.

The Wave:

          The compression can be modeled in three parts.  First, we examine the pressure made by a single piston.  The piston is fired.  It speeds up towards a steel anvil.  It hits.  The wave is made.  The anvil wiggles – moving the wave directly into the liquid lead [40].  An illustration of this impact is shown below [37, 40, 6].



Next, the wave jumps from anvil to the lead.  In the process, it loses nine percent of its energy [40].  What happens next, is not fully understood.  In the lead, waves move inward.  The liquids’ spinning motion may effect this.  Waves diffract with other waves - like ripples on water.  Mach waves can also form [37].  The lead is already pressurized, but the wave increases pressure as it moves inward [6].  They focus into the center, and crush the cavity.  Before the crush, spinning plasma is injected.  The cavity squeezes down to one tenth its size [40].  Ideally, this initiates fusion.  

Compression Analysis:

       The compression is both complex and critical to the scheme working.  General Fusion first used a masters’ student to model it [37].  Later, a physicist was hired to do the same job [4, 5, 6].  To simplify the “anvil-wall-lead” system, a cheap finite element software was used [44].  This simplified to the wave shown below.  This the model for one piston. 


This was the boundary condition for a second code.  The team modeled liquid in the spherical chamber.  An open-source CFD code was used [42].  First, they modelled the two dimensional case.  A disc represented the liquid lead.  A pressure wave enters the disc from the edge.  The wave is the boundary condition shown above.  It converges towards the center.  As it converges – it rises and sharpens.  The wave compresses the vortex in the center.  These results were used in a three dimensional model.  The results are shown below [6]. 


The pressure wave increased as it converged.  This is “geometric focusing”, the energy occupying less space as it travels inward.   Code predicts that in half a millisecond, the wave doubles in strength.  Ideally, this compresses the center, making a high pressure plasma, leading to fusion.

In Summary:

           Fusion is in upheaval.  New paths have emerged that could take us to net power.  This is occurring while the need for green energy is growing and amateur fusion is going public.  Ideas once limited to ivory towers are going mainstream.  Many factors are coming together - fusion is going in new directions.  What is missing is our leadership.  Where are they?  Why is fusion today, a grassroots effort?  Why did Eric Lerner need to appeal to the public for funding?  Why isn’t the government increasing funding for new ideas?  Are we willing to bet everything that ITER will be commercial?  We cannot afford to take that risk.  We cannot wait any longer.  We must move forward.

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