> "The timeline question is a tricky one," he says. "I don't want to be a laughing stock by promising we can deliver something in 10 years, and then not getting there. First step is setting up camp as a company and getting started. First milestone is demonstrating the reactions, which should be easy. Second milestone is getting enough reactions to demonstrate an energy gain by counting the amount of helium that comes out of a fuel pellet when we have those two lasers working together. That'll give us all the science we need to engineer a reactor. So the third milestone is bringing that all together and demonstrating a reactor concept that works."
The fourth step is to deliver the reactor concept as promising machine. The fifth step is to attach it to power generating equipment and demonstrate the power plant. The sixth step is to scale up a supply chain capable of delivering multiple units that compete with other sources of commodity electricity (or other energy products). The seventh step is to scale to large scale without being unduly burdened by either supply chain (raw material, skilled labor) or regulatory impact/public concern that inevitably scales with any large fleet of any new tech.
Fission made it to step 7 and then faltered and is now teetering depending on where you look. It never scaled past 5% of total world primary energy.
The promise of fusion is to deliver nuclear energy with less public concern than fission because it makes less radiologically hazardous material. The challenge is to go through the physical, engineering, and commercial viability phases as a power plant.
Small plants require less capital. They're easier to manufacture. They can iterate faster. They have less environmental impact, and therefore fewer regulatory hurdles. They require less labor to build and a smaller supply chain.
I expect that the engineering is harder, because scale can bring efficiencies. But still, I think the winner is going to be a small device, not a behemoth, if only because a small device can come online years earlier.
Drop a chunk of U238 in/near the fusion reactor somewhere, let it absorb stray neutrons, and you'll soon have some plutonium. That's bad for control of nuclear weapons proliferation, which relies on high-energy neutron sources like breeder reactors being difficult to build and expensive.
Not sure about the radiation profile from this system though.
The energy output of HB11 consists of fast-moving alpha particles, which is good because that's the energy you capture, along with x-rays. None of this would activate reactor components. The waste product is non-radioactive helium.
Neutron energy would be a bit under 3 MeV, comparable to fast fission neutrons but in much lower quantity for the power output.
Interestingly, that page says the thermal neutrons in a conventional nuclear reactor are better at activating materials than fast neutrons.
According to a presentation I saw by the leader of MIT's fusion program, the inner wall of a D-T tokamak would be activated by the neutrons, but would only need to be stored for a few decades. D-T releases 80% of its energy as 14 MeV neutrons.
According to LPP, which is working on a different boron fusion design, a 20MW reactor would activate the walls with short-lived radiation, but it could be safely opened for maintenance after about twelve hours (iirc).
This is something different. With every laser shot there will be a burst of alpha particles. Then they'll slow down and just be plain old helium. If the direct energy conversion works, they'll get slowed down very quickly.
Only if you eat or inhale them. A sheet of paper will stop alpha particles.
It might also be worth pointing out that "It must be safe! They even put it on wristwatch dials!" is not, historically, a sound argument.
This depends on the threat model to some degree, but there's security in knowing that it's vastly harder for a threat to affect multiple targets at once, no matter the threat.
That might be different for this fusion device, but for outdated looking fission reactors it’s artificial dilution for NPT purposes and by no way a technological limitation.
I imagine most software is tied to the specific devices they run on, but perhaps there's coupling or analytical software that could be better geared towards the problem domain. Is there any fundamental issue that is waiting for a good software solution?
Some more open source things in the domain can be found here: https://github.com/paulromano/awesome-nuclear/blob/master/RE...
I think if you have a software background and want to contribute, you should consider applying for a job with one of the projects themselves. General Atomics lists 135 software jobs (https://www.ga-careers.com/search-jobs/software/499/1) for instance.
Your parent merely notified us that more than one type of product is in development at that company and one that is not fusion is specifically designed to kill people.
I've dreamed about getting into fusion research myself, and concluded the best pivot would be to help with the plasma simulations at a university while obtaining a PhD.
In my device, sometimes, some ions will be traveling in a vacuum with a high mean free path, and at other times, the plasma will be as dense as lead. It's VERY difficult to simulate, to the point that it's almost better to just estimate and start building to see if I can start to get close to a solution through careful experimentation.
The part that jumped out at me as strange is that they claim their process generates electricity "directly" without having to drive a turbine. Supposedly they produce helium cations, and that can drive a circuit.
Can anybody comment on whether that makes sense?
Conventionally, neutrons are used to generate heat which is then used to drive steam turbines.
Thus you would capture the energy with a "reverse coilgun", "regeneratively braking" the particles down to a non-relativistic speed, rather than just using them to charge a capacitor plate.
Most fission plants throw away about two-thirds of their energy output as waste heat (according to: https://www.answers.com/Q/How_much_of_the_heat_generated_in_...), and their cooling towers are so much bigger than the reactor itself that they've become a symbol of the plants as a whole.
The cooling towers? The photographs in the news commonly show huge clouds of water vapor escaping from the tops of the towers with a picture caption about "nuclear" power or some such.
So, the suggestion is that nuke plants generate huge clouds of dangerous radioactive byproducts.
Such news content is easy: (1) Suggest that the cooling towers are the nuclear reactors and (2) don't mention that what is coming out is just water vapor, from water recently in some river or lake. Now the news people have their audience by their eyeballs for ad revenue and/or politics as in
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety)
by an endless series of hobgoblins,
most of them imaginary.”
~ H.L. Mencken
The same imagery shows up on the covers of nuclear textbooks:
If anything, laypeople think that radiation is scary because it's invisible, tasteless, and odorless.
In principle this could be more efficient than a heat engine, although the Wikipedia page seems to say that an "economically feasible" version would have around 60% efficiency, which is the same as a combined-cycle power plant.
What is your opinion on SPARC and tokamak energy?
p-boron fusion is interesting as a possibly practical energy source. The hurdles are a matter of engineering and finance, not fundamental design flaws. But it's useless as a jobs program for weapon experts, so must rely on commercial investment.
Lawrence Livermore -- a nuclear weapons lab -- has studied inertial confinement fusion for decades. They don't have a tokamak.
It's seems bizarre to ignore the impact HTS tape would have on the plausible operation of MCF.
> The alpha particles generated by the reaction would create an electrical flow that can be channeled almost directly into an existing power grid with no need for a heat exchanger or steam turbine generator."
If you energy production solution can achieve a lower TCO in an existing market segment, steps six and seven (production and supply chain) take care of themselves. The poster child for this was 'on premise PV generation.'
Once a nuclear technology demonstrates a lower TCO for baseline power generation, its game on.
The main benefit of nuclear is its relatively low carbon footprint and in theory less risk of spiking fuel costs because we run out of raw materials. That's the dream of fusion anyway.
Nuclear power infra is not cheap and even fusion will have security and decommissioning costs.
Forget cost as the main factor, grid power will never be free. That's a fantasy - even publicly owned utilities will/are funded by taxation. You're paying for price and power stability. Domestic fusion means you don't need to rely on foreign resources (eg Russia cutting off the gas).
Putting renewable generators in your home has a high capital cost, but people forget that you're also cushioning yourself against grid outages. It's insurance more than anything else.
A fusion reactor the size of a shipping container? Plop one down between my neighbor's house and my house. Right where our backup generators now sit. It's about the same footprint.
No more distribution costs. Well, except for Amazon's fees to drop off the uranium now and then. :)
Why is there any radioactive material produced by a fusion reactor ?
Neutrons produced in this reaction, being chargeless, cannot be contained within the electromagnetic field, thus leaving plasma and reacting with the surrounding material (e.g. tokamak chamber walls) and producing radioactive elements. This leads to activation and radioactive degradation of the reactor itself.
For ICF, a long-pulse laser is used like a hammer to heat and compress the material to fusion conditions.
This scheme, as far as I can tell, uses the large EM fields of a short-pulse laser to accelerate a ‘beam’ of ions into cold material to induce fusion.
Q0: Without bias from my opinion, how fringe or potentially legitimate does IEC seem?
Q1: Props to the article's team that they invented some awesome lasers. Is there enough experimental data yet on their novel approach to backup their claims to justify funding a prototype? Would such a team be able to test this on a shoestring budget without spending millions?
"Millions" is pretty much a shoestring budget for fusion projects. There is some experimental data, but without actual fusion since the lasers weren't powerful enough yet.
This team didn't invent the lasers. They've been waiting for the lasers to get sufficiently powerful to attempt fusion with them. Those lasers are finally becoming available for researchers to use, so it should be quite inexpensive to test this idea. Worst case, they have to build one for tens of millions, which is comparable to other private fusion projects, but hopefully they can run the experiment on other people's lasers.
The fusion triple product is the go to figure of merit for napkin calculations, it's temperature X confinement time X ion density
MCF strategies go in on maximizing confinement time, while ICF jack up temperature and ion density. This particular ICF approach, (if I'm understanding their paper correctly) is going so high on both that they're leaving the thermal regime behind and doing an honest to glob nuclear chain reaction with having the alpha products prompt other boron nuclei to accelerate up to fusion speed causing more reactions, which is pretty exciting.
I don't have the Physics chops to untangle the likelihood of this tech and the credibility of the process and its authors, so I'm hoping the HN crowd will be able to pad out the story behind this.
Certainly, from my layperson's perspective, their website isn't exactly encouraging... https://www.hb11.energy/
- ed re: last line - "books and covers, and all that"
Exponential progress does sometimes have results that seem too good to be true. In this case the progress has been in picosecond lasers, which for a while have been getting ten times more powerful every three years or so.
What's great about this is it should be pretty cheap to test. The petawatt lasers only cost tens of millions in the first place, and China is finishing up a 30PW laser which they plan to let other researchers use. If Hora is right then that should be powerful enough. Even more powerful lasers are being planned elsewhere.
HB11 isn't the only company working on aneutronic fusion. The largest is TAE (formerly Tri Alpha), with about $700 million invested. There's also Helion and LPP.
I checked the publications page and so far I'm not seeing any real theory here. That doesn't mean it's wrong, but it certainly feels weird. The most in-depth equation I saw in any of their linked papers is the definition of the electromagnetic field tensor.
I'm not saying you couldn't develop a fusion reactor by doing purely experimental work with bleeding-edge laser technology. But I'd feel a lot more confident if they were to produce, for example, some kind of prediction of their net power, or a relation between e.g. laser power and fusion yield, or some other quantitative prediction about something.
For example, I'm not sure what prediction they exceeded by a factor of a billion in TFA. Shouldn't you mention that somewhere?
Another poster mention's Todd Rider's thesis, a famous barrier to creative fusion. In this particular case I think the way they evade Rider is by using higher laser powers and shorter reaction times than Rider considered to be possible. One of the important exceptions Rider acknowledges (and that I remember) is ultradense fusion; ultrafast fusion seems to be at least similar in principle.
They do seem to be making quantitative predictions based on simulations. I don't think I've seen them boil it down to a simple scaling law though.
In any event, ultimately practical proven results will always trump whatever the current theory may suggest.
1 proton + (5 protons, 6 neutrons) -> 3 * (2 protons, 2 neutrons)
Yeah, in theory it might be possible to capture the brehmsstrahlung and pump it back into the reactor with sufficiently high efficiency, but we're pretty far away from that.
That being said, all these fancy fusion reactor schemes are interesting. Just make them work on boring old D-T fuel first, then lets see if these other fuels are usable, no?
-Conversion efficiency of laser energy into ion (proton) kinetic energy
-TNSA accelerates mainly the contaminated layer on the back of targets, which may not be a big deal if you are interested in accelerating protons
-TNSA protons are not beam like. They do not have a uniform kinetic energy, and they have a wide angular divergence.
-Various laser related issues (prepulse, focal spot size/shape).
I also anticipate that it will have the same engineering problem as ICF/NIF, in that it will need to continuously replenish targets.
I have no idea what "contrast ratio" means, it isn't defined, and isn't in the references. Does anyone know what "contrast ratio" means in terms of high power pulsed lasers?
edit: To answer my own question, ref: https://cdn.intechweb.org/pdfs/24813.pdf
> the laser pulse contrast ratio (LPCR) is a crucial parameter to take into consideration. Considering the laser pulse intensity temporal profile, the LPCR is the ratio between its maximum (peak intensity) and any fixed delay before it. A low contrast ratio can greatly modify the dynamics of energy coupling between the laser pulse and the initial target by producing a pre-plasma that can change the interaction mechanism.
It seems to be how fast the laser turns on, the rate of change of intensity.
These plasmas can be the source for all kinds of particles and energy in particular forms, so they may have lots and lots of uses.
One person in particular is proposing to use a CPA laser to accelerate nuclear decay, to allow radioactive waste to decay faster and become less toxic more quickly.
Of course, my own concern would be that being able to induce fission with a table top laser means that the tech may eventually exist to create a fission or fusion bomb without a nuclear trigger....
But ITER uses huge tower cranes and trucks in the thousands of tons of material required to sustain a temperature hotter than the surface of Sol because of their fuel selection.
It seems the small player with a new approach that perhaps demands less complexity in their scaled up commercial reactor could win a commissioning contract with a lower bid during late 2020s early 2030s international bidding.
"First milestone is demonstrating the reactions, which should be easy."
And "chirped pulse laser amplification" is the recent discovery Hora says will make it possible.
Breakthroughs happen everyday but the road to real impact is longer and more failure prone after you make the breakthrough than before it.
- with some exceptions
On ignoring the H B-11 reaction with high intensity lasers: https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms3506
On the reaction avalanche: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/laser-and-particle-b...
On the conversion of alpha particles to electricity: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/laser-and-particle-b...
Pellets could turn out to be the size of a grain of sand.
Here, what is interesting is if one fusion reaction does happen, then the alpha (helium) particles leave at 2.9 MeV. After two collisions with protons, if the second proton they have hit hits in turn a boron nucleus, then it will have exactly the right energy (612 keV) to have maximum chances at initiating a second fusion reaction.
612 keV is like almost 7 billion degrees °C if considered as thermal energy, and no experiment anywhere will get that hot for long. But compared to the energy of the exiting helium nuclei, it's still much lower (0.612 MeV vs 2.9 MeV).
In other words, instead of cascading all the energy down and hoping the sea of particles rises to a few billion degrees so enough particles do fusion to keep the sea of other particles hot, here, the energy is preempted by proton atoms after just 2 collisions and used immediately to start a second reaction, which yields more helium nuclei at 2.9 MeV, essentially producing an "avalanche" effect.
Finally, yes, they seem to have devised a way to obtain at least a small part of the energy electrically, without relying on thermal energy, via direct electric field deceleration of very fast charged particles.
This is like "the ultra rich (very fast particles) manage to create value among themselves without having to cascade their wealth down to the crowd (cold particles), and then upload that value to hyperspace (the electric field from the electrodes), without ever interacting with the mass of the crowd (the mass of the target), until a sufficient amount of fusion reactions have been realized"
The avalanche process is explained in Hora's 2016 publication, with a schematic page 9: https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1016/j.mre.2017.05.001
And yes, a petawatt (the energy of present day ultra-fast lasers) is a lot of power. It was just chance that there was very little practical use to this kind of power - until now.
That being said, I am not a true expert myself of this topic, so the true barriers laying in front of this concept might be better explained by the other comments here.
This was actually a helpful analogy for me. I'll have to take your word on the accuracy of it, though.
https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/c... I found this overview a bit confusing and sort of low quality, but at least it references a lot of papers. (But haven't started hunting down any of them.)
Are you saying this kind of fusion is anti social justice? We should ban this immediately!
I love the work, I love that they have exploited the fact that we can build things (lasers) now that we could not economically build before. But the fact is that so many many things die on the aforementioned step from the article.
That is the step wherein the science doesn't give you a way to engineer a reactor, instead it illuminates something you didn't know before and so that you now realize you can't ever build a reactor that way.
So when I read these papers and the science isn't all figured out, I temper my enthusiasm. High hopes, low expectations, that's a good motto here. Unlike the stellerator where all the science is "known" and they are engineering an implementation step by step by step.
I've added it to my fusion project collection under "interesting long shots", check back in 5 years to see what the science taught them.
They haven’t even demonstrated the reaction? What’s all the talk about results being “billions” of times better than expected?
(The very-crude video technique was fascinating to this non-artistic person: Create PowerPoint slides, add subtitles for "narration" that float in and out, and finally add stock music for background. That might be useful for flipped-classroom courses.)
Don't know — I'm not knowledgeable enough in this area to do more than take WAGs about it. The sequence might be different: For example, the 1H proton might not ever fuse with the 5B11 to form 6C12; instead, the fusion reaction might be that the 5B11 fissions into two 2He4 and one tritium 1H3, after which the 1H proton fuses to the tritium to form the third 2He4.
> And wouldn't this technically be fission energy then?
See the explanation in this thread at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22383199 — it makes as much sense as anything.
Surface of the Sun - 6000 C
Center of the Sun - 15000000 C
> The temperature in the corona is more than a million degrees, surprisingly much hotter than the temperature at the Sun's surface which is around 5,500° C
With sufficiently efficient fuel, the fastest path from A to B is by constantly accelerating (more or less) towards it until you reach halfway, then flipping and constantly decelerating until you arrive.
Under this kind of trajectory, you're under constant acceleration of, say, 1g the whole time. This means you effectively have gravity for the entire trip, as long as you've designed your ship such that the floor is in the same direction as you apply thrust - think less traditional ship decks and more like a skyscraper.
Another realistic option, of course, is a rotating section. But this generally requires massive, "ugly" ships to work so it's pretty rare in fiction.
Barring other species as intelligent as ours elsewhere (which is of course possible, but unknown), the very hottest thing in the entire unimaginably-large universe full of exotic stars and black holes and supernovae, was created by a tiny group of apes on a minuscule planet orbiting a smallish, boring star on the unfashionable side of a galaxy.
> The energy of this particle is some 40 million times that of the highest energy protons that have been produced in any terrestrial particle accelerator.
Presumably wherever these extreme energy protons are coming from is rather warm.
Is there some reason to think the LHC has higher temperature?
Not a physicist; could be something like LHC having larger bunch sizes... but since we don’t know what causes these particles, it seems like we don’t really know the source temperature.
"The hydrogen/boron fusion creates a couple of helium atoms," he continues. "They're naked heliums, they don't have electrons, so they have a positive charge. We just have to collect that charge. Essentially, the lack of electrons is a product of the reaction and it directly creates the current."
Apart from literally saving humanity from a climate disaster, we can still use our MRIs!
And MRIs of the future will be constructed with REBCO magnets and cooled with liquid nitrogen.
There will inevitably be a lot of heat produced that has to be cooled. Generally people plan to use the coolant as the working fluid in the power cycle.
If there's an innovation here it'd be cool if they put it way more up front.
In any case there will still be a coolant.
According to HB11's papers, each shot would have about 30 kilojoules input power via laser, consume 14 grams of fuel, and produce over a gigajoule output power, or 277 kWh.
They think within a decade the lasers will be capable of one shot per second. Right now it's more like one per minute.
Edit: actually read the paper :)
From the paper: H + 11B = 3 x 4He + 8.7 MeV
when alpha particle absorb the electron to become helium, it can carry about 50 eV energy. So vast majority of the energy generated will be kinetic energy or photon energy which translate into very hot temperature at macro level.
Steam generators might have fairly low efficiency, but if hydrogen fusion works at all it'll use so little fuel and have such a low marginal cost that we can just do more of it to make up for any efficiency losses.
The article talks about the advantage of not needing steam cooling apparatus. The stations could be located in urban areas.
These are IMO the fundamental questions.
Hydrogen + Boron -> 3×Helium + energy
The energy is mostly 2900keV kinetic energy for each Helium ion i.e. the He ions just fuck off really fast and leave the elections behind.
If a He ions hits H atoms a couple of times, the second H hit has just the right energy to then hit another Boron and create an an avalanche of reactions. https://aip.scitation.org/na101/home/literatum/publisher/aip...
Well that's frightening.
Importantly, this doesn't have to happen in the reactor vessel. The charged gas can be pumped somewhere else.
- Fire a stream of hydrogen ions with a particle accelerator at a chunk of Boron 11.
- The hydrogen and boron combine and release heat and helium.
- Use the heat from that to run a turbine and keep running your particle accelerator.
It seems like you would be ending up with lower-energy collection of atoms. Does that work but it is just not efficient enough to keep running the accelerator, or what?
This is the reason why most fusion approaches rely on thermal systems. In a thermal system, the ions have a bell-shaped distribution of energies and undergo many collisions before they leave the region in which they are confined and their energy leaves the system.
To achieve net gain, the temperature, density and energy confinement time must be above a certain threshold. If the system is non thermal, like a stream of hydrogen ions where the distribution of energies is a spike, the energy in the hydrogen ions that are deflected by glancing blows must be recaptured somehow.
This is what's wrong. The energy required to accelerate the ions is much higher than the energy which can be harvested this way.
The concept under discussion substitutes a simpler setup that accelerates particles using laser induced plasmas from a very small table top laser. The thing could "almost" be battery powered.
(TLDR version: proton-boron fusion is a less energetically efficient alternative to 3He fusion, but with the howlingly significant advantage that boron -- the fuel -- is lying around in heaps and drifts on Earth, rather than being so exotic a substance that annual global production is measured in single-digit kilograms and a significant energy economy would require mining it from the Lunar regolith. It's not as well-known as 3He fusion, though, because the space cadets don't see the point -- there are no Moon colonies required. Advantages of 3He or B + p fusion over D-T fusion: it doesn't produce a surplus of neutrons, so there's less radioactive waste created as a by-product of the process.)
After that there is radioactive decay (the splitting).
To be fission you have to actually [actively] break the atom apart, which isn't happening here.
- All work seems to be purely theoretical although the setup needed is not that hard to come by. For 1000 USD / hour you can rent a proton implanter and check the principle mechanisms of the reaction.
- Everything is published in realativly low impact journals. There are a ton of smart people in academia that love to "think outside the box" but nobody seems to think that this is promising. This basicaly seems to be a one man show of H. Hora.
- It doesn't seem to be that radically new but the first paper was published. I have not found what they have done in the meantime.
I've seen it said here on HN that the amount of helium out of a deuterium/tritium is so small it is negligible.
From article: "My question is: Would that setup produce a continuous fusion for some period with positive net energy generation?
Here is my argument why I think it would: Since Boron is solid at room temperature, it's density is high, so I think the fusion rate per nucleon would be quite high. As far as I know 100keV is the energy needed for Hydrogen-1 and Boron-11 to fuse, while the resultant three He-4 nuclei should have about 8MeV of energy. So indeed if all accelerated protons fuse then the energy produced should be quite higher than the input. The problem that immediately comes to mind is that as the container starts to rapidly heat up as a result of the reactions the Boron inside would no longer be solid and may even start to leak through the opening. But before that happens, would there be at least a brief period where an efficient fusion can be sustained?"
> HB11 says its generators would be compact, clean and safe enough to build in urban environments.
The big problem I have is the direct conversion approach being suggested. The idea, as I understand it, was that the target is placed at the center of a large sphere, and is negatively charged, so the alpha particles from fusion slow down as they go up the potential to the surrounding spherical collector.
You see the problem with this, I hope. The violent and energetic event at the target will produce gas and plasma, and lots of free electrons. What is stopping that from shorting out this megavolt vacuum capacitor?
My worry is whether the specific fusion reactor concept itself is viable.
And yes, the physics of the target is also something that needs external verification.
Fusion will deliver an incredible amount of energy, making it cheap. Everybody then turns up their energy consumption since it costs nothing. Raise heating in houses, use AC everywhere, longer showers, more transportation, etc.
All this energy eventually becomes heat. Can it get to a threshold where it can influence temperature on a global scale even if it lowers carbon emissions? What am I missing?
On the other hand, compact fusion power would make for some great rockets, so by the time it's common it would probably make sense to move most of the growth off planet.
We're simply unable to measurably increase the amount of heat on the surface of Earth directly.
Yey, can we get to this future faster?! Joking aside, all the current eco-friendly tech diminishes comfort by a loooot... we need low-energy habitats that are actually comfortable ffs.
For example, traveling around Europe, I see that the new trend in the developed/western part is to shiver you ass out during the cold months and to melt your brains out during the hot ones in almost all public spaces! Like we're back in the pre-AC era! You need to get to Eastern Europe's bigger cities to enjoy comfy heating/cooling habits like proper heating in the winter (yes, I want my >25 C in winter!) and proper cooling in the summer (<18 C please!)... It's wasteful, but very much enjoyable! Snow fighting after/before coming out/in of a 30+ C heated house is bliss :D Same a blasting through an enjoyable heatwave after jumping out of a 15 C office and then back in. Life's little pleasures.
After we invest so much of our lives in developing technology, we should at least enjoy the simple comforts and pleasures it freaking offers!
I mean - it can be enjoyable for short periods, to warm up/cool off, but why would you do that for extended periods, instead of going for a sauna or swimming? Do you wear coats inside during summer?
If you are comfortable at <18 ℃ and at >25 ℃ (humans are highly adaptable), then why go for the opposite of outside temperature? You are probably doing yourself a disservice, making the outside temperature way less tolerable (adaptation takes time), and the temperature shock can be dangerous for less resilient people.
¹ If you are in a high humidity area, the temperature is not the only factor - you need to get the humidity to acceptable levels, which is often done via AC/heating.
I’d really like to know how much each laser, pellet, metal case, etc will likely cost in this and how difficult it will be to create each one.
I would have to imagine that these lasers will be the most difficult part of all of this. It will also be good to know how long each laser lasts and how much power they require to operate effectively.
> "The hydrogen/boron fusion creates a couple of helium atoms," he continues. "They're naked heliums, they don't have electrons, so they have a positive charge. We just have to collect that charge. Essentially, the lack of electrons is a product of the reaction and it directly creates the current."
“The fusion energy gain factor, usually expressed with the symbol Q, is the ratio of fusion power produced in a nuclear fusion reactor to the power required to maintain the plasma in steady state.” 
In theory, they've got a kJ laser to generate the magnetic field, a 30kJ laser hitting the fuel, and a GJ energy output, for Q over 30,000 minus whatever losses you have in the lasers and electricity harvesting.
> A significant case of nonlinear deviation from classical linear physics was seen by the measurements, how the laser opened the door to the principle of nonlinearity and could be seen from the effect measured by Linlor  followed by others (see  p. 31) when irradiating solid targets with laser pulses of several ns duration. At less than one MW
power, the pulses heated the target surface to dozens of thousand °C and the emitted ions had energies of few eV as expected in the usual way following classically. When the power of the nanosecond laser pulses was exceeding a significant threshold of few MW, the ions – suddenly – had thousand times higher energies. These keV ions were separated with linear increase on the ion charge indicating that there was not a thermal equilibrium process involved.
Lasers adequate for fusion are just now becoming available.
The primary problem for fission is state regulation and large cost even if you didn't have to pass regulation. And most fusion concepts can't really address that much better.
Directly creating current rather then having a whole heat to electricity transformation might allow the whole thing to be much cheaper.
Is this the correct term for a group of wild patents? What do you call a group of wild patent trolls?
I'm super concerned about the military applications tho. Giving functionally endless, mostly free power to warmonger countries with the ability to field drones is something extremely concerning for me.
china, iran, the united states, etc. militaries are not hurting for energy and already make heavy use of small nuclear reactors where just hauling fuel is not an easier choice.
So that's at least 20 years away from being 20 years away from being 20 years away. And you could just make more alpha particles, anyway. It's not like the universe is short on hydrogen.
But practically, with CH4, our modern concern is not running out of it, but the associated GHG emissions of producing and burning it.
So we won't run out of He, so much as stop producing it.
If it works, is it the energy miracle humanity needs?
Same can be said for fission, but it only powers 5% of the world due to what can be called complications (even though many scientists insist that it's safe and responsible).
Fusion is expected to have fewer complications, but we won't know until we scale up a fleet of fusion power plants and understand all the nuance.
How's that for an answer?
> Same can be said for fission, but it only powers 5% of the world due to what can be called complications
But weren't these complications obvious before deciding to scale up fission power plants?
The ones I know about:
- Radioactive waste
- Risk of failure
- Unavoidable EOL
> It is not clear that the public will accept an energy source that produces this much radioactivity and that can be subject to diversion of material for bombs.
However, the nuclear fission industry has arguably shown that it can technically manage radioactive wastes without undue harm to the populace. Fission plants have killed up to 4000 people while producing 5% of the world's energy. Fossil kills 4.2M people/year at 84% total energy. The math suggests that nuclear fission has been highly successful. But the public largely still doesn't like it.
Fusion indeed has a better going-in position. Potential complications involve how hard/complex/expensive it is to realize the engineering challenges.
Aneutronic fusion plants, like fossil plants, will likely also have an EOL from a thermal creep, corrosion, cracking, etc. POV. Normal fusion plants will definitely have a EOL from neutron doses to structural materials.
If the waste was 500m below ground in a designed deep geologic repository I wouldn't feel that much safer (because I already feel totally safe from the dry casks). But it would be at least a little more out of reach for terrorists and whatnot so from that perspective, yeah I'd prefer if it was underground.
I would gladly put my house and raise my family directly on top of a deep geologic nuclear waste repository. This really isn't reckless. I have a Geiger counter. I know what levels of radiation are safe. I know the risks. It's exceedingly low. I am far more worried about hamburgers.
> Fossil kills 4.2M people/year
Where does this number come from?
That number comes from the WHO: https://www.who.int/airpollution/ambient/health-impacts/en/
That's really sad.
2. No, because we already have fission reactors. How many miracles do we need?
Right, but humanity won't scale up fission to power everything.
I have heard of efforts in India and China to develop and build out nuclear fission plants, though I do not know the scale of these plans. However, even ITER (the largest fusion project right now) has a budget of only $10-20 billion. I have high hopes for ITER, but even that has been protested by anti-nuclear organizations such as Greenpeace. I worry that fusion, despite its many advantages, may be stalled or stopped in the same way fission has been. If we cannot solve this issue with a currently-available zero-emission power source, I just cannot see how a new one based on the same principles can succeed.