Understand the focus fusion energy flowFebruary 1, 2012
Acceptance of latest results to Physics of Plasmas confirms tiny energy start-up is hot!
One point eight billion degrees. Yes, that’s billion with a “b,” LPP’s team received word February 27th that a paper describing our achievement of fusion reactions from ions confined at energies equivalent to over 1.8 billion degrees C was accepted by Physics of Plasmas, “the most highly cited journal devoted fully to plasma physics.”
The paper, titled “Fusion reactions from >150 keV ions in a dense plasma focus [DPF] plasmoid,” also lays to rest a long-standing scientific controversy with major implications for whether the DPF is a viable source of useful fusion energy. If fusion reactions in a DPF come primarily from an unconfined beam, then the fusion yields are unlikely to scale to useful quantities of energy. On the other hand, if the fusion reactions take place primarily between ions confined within a concentrated ball of plasma (a “plasmoid”), the DPF (and LPP’s technology suite) are much more promising as a clean energy source.
The results detailed in the paper show conclusively that the majority of fusion reactions in a DPF using LPP’s patented design come from the plasmoid, not a beam. Furthermore, the high temperatures achieved are hot enough to ignite the ultimate clean fusion fuel, a mixture of the common elements hydrogen and boron that produces only a tiny quantity of harmless helium as waste.
Led by lead scientist Eric Lerner with co-authors S. Krupakar Murali, Derek Shannon, Aaron Blake, and Fred van Roessel, the team measured the flux and energies of neutrons produced by deuterium fusion reactions within the Focus Fusion-1 dense plasma focus. These measurements showed neutrons coming out of the machine evenly enough that a concentrated plasmoid source had to be responsible, since a beam would create many more neutrons along its direction of travel.
The promise of LPP’s technology therefore shines brighter than ever, with commercial generators possible in just a few years in the event of continued technical success. While many technical hurdles for “Focus Fusion” remain, the LPP team is on track to prove that their approach is feasible in the next year. .
Published by the American Institute of Physics, Physics of Plasmas is expected to release LPP’s paper in the coming weeks – Please contact us to request a pre-print, and in the meantime: Stay tuned!