Breakthrough: One step closer to nuclear fusion power station

Dec 19, 2013

The superconductivity research group of the University of Twente (UT) has made a technological breakthrough crucial to the success of nuclear fusion reactors, allowing for clean, inexhaustible energy generation based on the workings of the stars in our galaxy.

The crux of the new development is a highly ingenious and robust superconducting cable system. This makes for a remarkably strong that controls the very hot, energy-generating plasma in the reactor core, laying the foundation for nuclear fusion. The new are far less susceptible to heating due to a clever way of interweaving, which allows for a significant increase in the possibilities to control the plasma. Moreover, in combination with an earlier UT invention, the cables are able to withstand the immense forces inside the reactor for a very long time. The increased working life of the superconductors and the improved control of the plasma will soon make more reliable: the magnet coils take up one third of the costs of a nuclear fusion power station. The longer their working life, the cheaper the energy will be. The research is a project within the context of the Green Energy Initiative of the University of Twente.

Cost-effective clean energy Project leader Arend Nijhuis: 'The worldwide development of is picking up steam, and this breakthrough leads to a new impulse. Our new cables have already been extensively tested in two institutes.' Mr Nijhuis has been invited for a new collaboration with China and expects that the UT system will become a global standard. The world's largest nuclear fusion reactor, ITER, is under construction in Cadarache in France, and is expected to start operation by 2020, as a joint project of the US, EU, Russia, India, Japan, South Korea and China. However, China and South Korea have also initiated their own national large-scale nuclear fusion projects, in which the UT technology can be incorporated.

How does it work?

Nuclear fusion takes place in the heart of the reactor, in plasma with a temperature of 150 million degrees Celsius. An enormously strong magnetic field (of 13 teslas) is required in order to control this incredibly hot plasma. This magnetic field can only be generated efficiently through superconductivity. That is why liquid helium flows through the hollow cables of the coils. This reduces the temperature to approximately 4.5 K (-269 °C), which allows for zero resistance inside the cables and the amperage to increase up to 45,000 amperes, the generated magnetic field controlling the plasma. This immense amperage will, however, also put so much pressure on the wires that it is necessary to prevent a quick wear of these wires. Moreover, rapid changes of magnetic field can create excessive temperatures inside the cables, causing the superconductivity to break down and the fusion process to extinguish. It is exactly this problem which has now been solved by interweaving the superconducting wires of the coil in a special way.

Clever way of weaving

The wrist-thick cables around (six) coils with a total height of 13 metres inside the consist of interwoven wires with a thickness of 0.8 mm. The first step is to bundle three of these thin wires: two wires made of superconducting niobium-tin and one wire made of copper. This copper makes the whole resistant to heating during any undesired sudden end of the superconducting state. Three of those first-level wires are twisted around each other. After that, the weaving process continues until the desired thickness has been reached. The length across which the wire spirals once - the pitch - and the mutual proportions between the successive weave levels appear to be crucial. An increased pitch of the first weave levels ensures that the cables resist the immense mechanical forces better and prevents any strong distortions. However, the breakthrough which gathered most international surprise, even though already predicted at the UT, is that the new 'pitch proportions' result in such a strong reduction in the currents between the wires that there is much less heating of the cables and the cables therefore continue to be superconducting. So the new cables have considerably increased the chance that energy stations will soon generate power in a reliable way.

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katesisco
2.2 / 5 (5) Dec 19, 2013
The uncontrolled spirals previously created instability and prevented the implosion. Will this cure the problem?
DeliriousNeuron
1.4 / 5 (21) Dec 19, 2013
I find it amazing we are creating a controlled star that generates electricity, but astrophysicists still ignore the Electric Universe theory.
Amazing!
Maggnus
5 / 5 (16) Dec 19, 2013
They don't just ignore EU theory, they also realize that not only is it wrong and based almost entirely on one man's psychotic imaginings of cave paintings, it is also demonstratively incapable of explaining phenomena that happens in the Real world.

You can go back to studying the pretty cave paintings now Delirium.
PsycheOne
1 / 5 (13) Dec 19, 2013
Thank you, Delirious, for that hint about the Electric Universe. I ordered a couple of books. Sounds fascinating. The big bang has never made sense to me. Nor has dark matter/energy. I'm anxious to look at alternative explanations.
cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (14) Dec 19, 2013
They don't just ignore EU theory, they also realize that not only is it wrong and based almost entirely on one man's psychotic imaginings of cave paintings, it is also demonstratively incapable of explaining phenomena that happens in the Real world.

You can go back to studying the pretty cave paintings now Delirium.

You've put forth your own psychotic imaginings of your POV of the EUT, remarkably ignorant as well. Come back when you have a clue!
Maggnus
4.7 / 5 (12) Dec 19, 2013
AH should have guessed that would bring ol cantthink out of the woodwork lol! PsycheOne, before you give money to that group of snakeoil salesmen, spend a little time looking at what is available on the subject for free.

A few tasters: http://neutrinodr...ked.html

http://physics.st...universe

http://rationalwi...Universe

http://www.badast...ind.html

http://www.tim-th...eas.html

You should really take the time to read Thompson's critique especially. Enjoy your book, but remember that having an open mind does not mean dumping your brains out through the opening.

That this theory still has a following after it's well documented series of epic failures to explain, well anything, boggles the mind.
cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (12) Dec 19, 2013
Neutrino Dreaming?

Bzzzt, wrong again. Misrepresentations, misconceptions, and faith is this guys POV.

Q: How to debunk? A:From my cursory overview of the stuff

A cursory overview is all they are capable of until they understand the plasma. Nobel Laureate Alfven dedicated a lifetime to the study yet some believe it can be cast aside with a cursory glance. Typical of the faithful believers.

Rational?

Hardly!
From site;
A common motif is the insistence that all science should be done in a laboratory — an attempt to throw away gravity from the very beginning

Experimentation, what a novel thought. There is no attempt to "throw away" gravity, just to explain the mechanism and put it in it's proper context. Typical of arguments against though, no basis.

Bad Astronomy?

Nothing but!
From link on page;
This happens by "field line preservation," a property derived from the equations of an ideal plasma.

Talk about pseudo-science! Ideal nonsense!
cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (12) Dec 19, 2013
Timmy! Timmy! Timmy? Reminds me of a South Park character. All of his weak arguments are based completely on stupidity, not ignorance but stupidity! All of his claims have been thoroughly debunked by responses by EU proponents. But what difference do facts make when arguing against the EUT?
Maggnus
4.7 / 5 (13) Dec 19, 2013
Typical. Not "read this and make up your own mind" its "I say its this way and if you don't believe me there is something wrong with you". Good ole predictable can'tthink!

cantdrive85
1.3 / 5 (12) Dec 19, 2013
It's not wise to make up your mind based on complete nonsense, obviously it hasn't stopped you though.
shavera
5 / 5 (12) Dec 19, 2013
Lol. Came in expecting Circlejerk over Rossi E-Cat. Left reading Electric Universe circlejerk. Phys.Org never ceases to amaze me with the bs comment section.
davidivad
2.9 / 5 (7) Dec 19, 2013
it seems to me that people have been twisting cable for efficiency and other reasons for years. i suppose it has its own new twist to twisting though. what a twist.
Pete_Remixed
5 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2013
I am an EE but for some reason it was hard to read all the technical jargon in the article. Appears to be incredibly specific. Sounds like a great breakthrough though!
DeliriousNeuron
1.4 / 5 (11) Dec 19, 2013
And you bashers are the same ones STILL basing your science off old outdated theories. You still can't explain anything. The more we photograph of nebula, supernova and just about anything in the universe, more questions are raised. So you create things like "dark" matter and "dark" energy driving the forces that be. Come on!!!
Gravity has its place, but so does electricity and plasma.
Don't be afraid to look elsewhere for your answers. Ridicule from your piers in the science community has you afraid.
Zephir_fan
Dec 19, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
DeliriousNeuron
1 / 5 (8) Dec 19, 2013
Take the time to read and understand the article. Fusion reactor creating energy....
Hmm....
Also, I love the bashing on cave paintings. If the sun created a supermassive CME that was directed at the earth, what do you think the civilizations of the world thousands of years ago, would think as they looked up in the sky? Paint what they saw in a cave?? It would have blown their freakin minds! Especially in the lower latitudes where they never see auroras.
I'm not saying EU is here to replace theories, but it has its place.
Zephir_fan
Dec 19, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
DeliriousNeuron
2 / 5 (4) Dec 19, 2013
Zephir
Sigh....you cant see an aurora in the sky during the day.

Zephir_fan
Dec 19, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (8) Dec 19, 2013
The EU's POV is given the proper current density the aurora could be seen during the day. This is the assessment put forth by Peratt and confirmed possible by analysis by supercomputers at Los Alamos. Some, like Dinggus, prefer to ignore real science in favor of their pseudo garbage of magnetic reconnection and frozen fields in "ideal" plasma.

The effects of the CME could be seen without the need to see the actual CME. Only a couple of people actually saw the Carrington event through telescopes, the effects were definitely observed though.
Zephir_fan
Dec 19, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
sennekuyl
3 / 5 (2) Dec 19, 2013
While I think EU is crackpot, Zephir_fan, DeliriousNeuron didn't suggest that cavemen or even civilisations would be seeing the CME but asked what effects the caveman would see. Seeing as they weren't unknown to aurora your checkmate argument doesn't quite make the impact you are declaring.

That said, DN's allusion to caveman painting of CMEs does nothing to show EUT relevance to modern science.
Maggnus
5 / 5 (6) Dec 19, 2013
If the sun created a supermassive CME that was directed at the earth, what do you think the civilizations of the world thousands of years ago, would think as they looked up in the sky? Paint what they saw in a cave??
Or think of what they might see of they accidentally (or not so accidentally) ingested peyote and then sat in a sweat lodge? Or what of they saw the explosion of a bolide the size of the recent one in Russia? Or what of they saw a comet? Or a volcano? Or ball lightning? Or were just bored and doodling? Or a hundred other things?

Or what if you use science? Or better yet, what if you actually learn about solar physics and try to answer the real questions that lay in wait for the gifted to decipher?
alfie_null
4.5 / 5 (2) Dec 20, 2013
Thank you, Delirious, for that hint about the Electric Universe. I ordered a couple of books. Sounds fascinating. The big bang has never made sense to me. Nor has dark matter/energy. I'm anxious to look at alternative explanations.

I've got to wonder: with no hands, how do you turn the pages in your books? You see, I've got this image of Kukla, Fran and Ollie lodged in my mind . . .
Bob_Wallace
2.5 / 5 (4) Dec 20, 2013
I understand the advantages of fusion (I think). Safety is the big one.

Fuel savings is another, but not large. Fuel cost for uranium reactors is only $0.0075/kWh and we could probably get that lower with thorium.

My question, would there be a savings in plant cost? All the thermal plant stuff, steam turbines/etc. would still be needed. Wouldn't that give fusion plants the same sort of 'overnight costs' that uranium and coal plants require? And since thermal plants take a long time to build wouldn't fusion plants also pile up a lot of accrued interest as well?
PhotonX
5 / 5 (5) Dec 20, 2013
I find it amazing we are creating a controlled star that generates electricity, but astrophysicists still ignore the Electric Universe theory.
Which is related to the article about nuclear fusion power plants in what way, exactly? Thanks for again hijacking yet another thread to turn it into yet another useless flame war that has utterly nothing to do with the topic at hand. I honestly don't care if you're right or wrong--could you at least cease pounding your goddamned EUT drum except in articles about cosmology?
holoman
3.3 / 5 (3) Dec 21, 2013
So what does that mean ?

Fusion Energy in 200 years ?
100 years ?
50 years ?

Graphs and pretty pictures don't make energy.

Sorry to be so blunt, but these folks have been promising for 40 years.
DeliriousNeuron
2 / 5 (3) Dec 21, 2013
I didn't hijack anything. A fusion reactor is basically a controlled star. We are trying to harness the output of this lab created star. It hasn't been successful, so lets look at the problem from a different angle. Thats all I'm saying here.
Based off current theories, shouldn't we need to create artificial gravity to sustain this fusion process? We know that is currently impossible.
EU is not crazy. It has its place. Its obvious if you truly understand the missing pieces of astrophysics.
Zephir_fan
Dec 21, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
eric_in_chicago
4 / 5 (4) Dec 21, 2013
Why can't science discussion forums be based on just science? I do despise the goo-goo ga-ga babble from the psuedo-leftist nitwits, on and on about e-cat and so much other crap that has never been built to work. (If the govt of dude's (whoever dude is) country is conspiring against him in conclusion with Big Energy, then why not just move to another country? India perhaps? They have moneyy and more people than whose needs they can address... how can you say India would not want your free energy?)

Or, on the other hand, (this is a political site?!?) the right-wingnuts who continually foist their greasy assertions that dumping quintillions of metric tons of petro smog into the atmosphere can NEVER, EVER have any negative effect on the environment! "Anyone who 'believes' in global-warming is a Gore-Whore!" No, sir, that is PROJECTING ala Limbaugh and Rove...It is YOU who are the skanky little oil-loving sluts for the MAN!

go away, all of you! please...
Zephir_fan
Dec 21, 2013
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
digbygary
3.3 / 5 (4) Dec 21, 2013
Why can't science discussion forums be based on just science?


because they do not know how far behind they are, intellectually.
how much smarter was Einstein than me? I don´t know, but lots.
I know how much smarter I am than those behind me tho, because I have been where they are.
but.. then you go on to claim you have the answers to climate change in your pocket.
you do not. the proper answer is... we do not know, yet!
all you have done is decide whom you choose to believe.
this sites existence is based on hits. more rantings, more hits.
there a very few here that have any expertise, just plenty of uninformed opinions.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (4) Dec 22, 2013
Breakthrough: One step closer to nuclear fusion power station
Fusion Confusion
by Ubavontuba:

Fusion confusion, infusion and more
Funding required, greenbacks for sure
Hydrogen heated with lasers that cook
Energy forever, if they get it to work

Polywell, Pinch, Tokamak and more
Fusion alternatives they wish to explore
Billions of dollars spent on a whim
"Hurry!" I say, "...my bulbs grow dim!"

Consumption presumption, gumption and more
Heat from a source, like from a star's core
"It's coming soon." they assert once again
Here I'm wondering, will I be here then?

Conflagration fiction, confliction and more
It passes from fact to myth then to lore
"Unlimited energy." I hear them yet say
Just burn the money ...it's cheaper that way

eric_in_chicago
3 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2013
bravo, uba!

TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 22, 2013
Hey scooby

"Fusion Confusion
by Eric James:" -2006

-You are a plagiarist. I found this posted in the 'Insipid Poetry by Religionist Numbnuts" forum.
ubavontuba
1 / 5 (1) Dec 22, 2013
Hey scooby

"Fusion Confusion
by Eric James:" -2006

-You are a plagiarist.
Different pseudonym, same author.

CrossEyedJack
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 22, 2013
I hope I live to see the day the first Reactor comes online. This technology will lead us into a whole new age and will solve a lot of the world's problems.

As for the other comments about EU, It only take one observation or piece evidence to disprove or radically change even the strongest theories. EU has mountain of straight forward observation that show Gravity and not Plasma dominates the Universe at large scales, even a JR High Science Fair experiment could debunk it.

As for the Big Bang and Dark Matter, neither are difficult to understand if the person take a little bit of time. Dark Matter actually make sense, its just the vacuum energy of space. Personally I think there will always some energy in space, hence you can never reach absolute zero. Since the Universe is almost entirely space, it would make sense that it all adds up and acts as a repulsive force to gravity. Since it doesn't interact with the Electromagnetic force it may be impossible to detect directly
goracle
5 / 5 (2) Dec 22, 2013
Ridicule from your piers in the science community has you afraid.


Skippy the Ira is not afraid of anything. They mistake me for being an actual scientist when in fact I am not. So what if the real scientists ridicule me? I don't even live in that community so what do I care? You seem to be bothered by the smart peoples ridiculing stupid peoples. So why don't you SIT DOWN and SHUT UP, otherwise you might just find yourself being ridiculed. Bad karma points for you!

Not only that, but it's peers, not piers.
krundoloss
4.3 / 5 (3) Dec 23, 2013
I like what the core of this article is about: stable superconducting wires with liquid helium, woven with copper wires in a specific way to resist overheating the cables, and increasing their useful life.

Those of you who complain about how long fusion has taken to develop need to realize how much work goes into creating this new technology. They are trying to contain multi-million degree temperatures, force atoms to fuse and collect energy from it. Its not that easy, simply be because of all the inventions they have to come up with just to make it possible, then to make it economically viable. The break-neck pace of technological advances in the 20th century have left many with overly high expectations on the rate of future advancements. We have built so much, but most of the "low hanging fruit" has been picked. Currently, advancing technology often requires increasing complexity, ex. multicore CPUs. Fusion is going to take time, but once we get it right, it will be worth it.
EnricM
not rated yet Dec 23, 2013
Timmy! Timmy! Timmy? Reminds me of a South Park character. All of his weak arguments are based completely on stupidity, not ignorance but stupidity! All of his claims have been thoroughly debunked by responses by EU proponents. But what difference do facts make when arguing against the EUT?


What do you have against EU? yes, we exist, OK, our Euro is a bit crappy lately but we are coming out of the crisis. Not taht you USians fear any better.
the1andonlypieper
not rated yet Jan 03, 2014
Dark Matter actually make sense, its just the vacuum energy of space.

isn´t that dark energy.. dark matter is matter with other properties than normal matter. or am I confused (again..?)
Osiris1
not rated yet Jan 03, 2014
I like technology, practical technology, like this. Put a bit more together and we WILL have a working power station. Breakeven will be sudden and nearly explosive if enough matter fuses at once. The biggest problem will be to measure small enuf amounts of the fuel so as not to blow the power plants apart. We have already seen even the small steps show sudden improvements of output up to 6 orders of magnitude above previous attempts.. As we get really closer, we will need caution too.

And we do not need to boil water either, if the folks from Focus Fusion make their machine work as its computer modeling suggests. Other groups working with 'pinches' are showing similar efficiency gains as well.

Not to be outdone, the folks at Livermore with the big laser are showing better than breakeven in small amounts. What they need to create is not neutrons, but positrons or protons or charged ions from which energy can be extracted by electromagnetodynamics....datsa good rocket, toooo!
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
I find it amazing we are creating a controlled star that generates electricity, but astrophysicists still ignore the Electric Universe theory.


DeliriousNeuron
What is even MORE amazing is that modern nuclear physicists (who also collaborate with cosmologists at times) are ALSO not even considering the EUT garbage! Wow huh? Maybe because it is GARBAGE?
Just because there are a few accurate physical laws, does not mean that the entire theory is accurate. Describing the pole pattern of Saturn is a great example. EUT gets stupid and elaborate, and CANNOT accurately replicate the pattern (it is close, but no cigar) and yet simple hydrodynamics completely and accurately replicates it...
see http://phys.org/n...day.html

EUT/PUT will continually reference pseudo-science sites, or themselves. if ya cant replicate it, or prove it, it is not SCIENTIFIC.

PERIOD
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
Thank you, Delirious, for that hint about the Electric Universe. I ordered a couple of books. Sounds fascinating. The big bang has never made sense to me. Nor has dark matter/energy. I'm anxious to look at alternative explanations.


@PsycheOne

you would be MUCH better off starting somewhere like here:
http://www.prepos...om/blog/
and maybe following some of HIS links and learning about reality, instead of investing so much time in a broken theory that is only advocated by pseudo-science sites and fanatical believers that can not adjust to the reality of physics when presented with proven facts.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2014
CantDrive says
All of his weak arguments are based completely on stupidity, not ignorance but stupidity


funny, but that is EXACTLY how most scientists are describing EUT/PUT.

thoroughly debunked by responses by EU proponents

and the christians say the same thing about science... that their belief thoroughly debunks it.

It's not wise to make up your mind based on complete nonsense

then why do you still believe in EUT/PUT?

DeliriousNeuron says
you bashers are the same ones STILL basing your science off old outdated theories

@Delerious
nope.
the EUT/PUT uses just a couple REAL physical laws, but then extrapolates data that cannot be PROVEN. It really is that simple. A simple demonstration is this article:
http://phys.org/n...day.html

and READ the COMMENTS. EUT/PUT proponents push fallacy while not accepting PROVEN science- see their take on simple erosion! something SCIENCE has proven for years
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (2) Jan 03, 2014
Delerious says
So you create things like "dark" matter

Dark matter was not "created". Dark matter is observed effects BUT we cannot identify it.
It is a name place holder, and just happens to be shorter than saying "that stuff that we can't see but we measure the effects of"
its kinds like using X in algebra... eventually we will find X

Gravity has its place, but so does electricity and plasma.

no one is disputing this.
What they are disputing is the EU/PU Hypothesis which are inaccurate and cannot be proven.
(A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on knowledge that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation.)
we really should NOT be calling EU/PU a "theory" as it is NOT.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (1) Jan 03, 2014
EnricM says
What do you have against EU? yes, we exist, OK, our Euro is a bit crappy lately but we are coming out of the crisis. Not taht you USians fear any better.


EU as in Electric Universe (and PU as in Plasma Universe)
or were you just kidding?

Dark Matter actually make sense, its just the vacuum energy of space.

isn´t that dark energy.. dark matter is matter with other properties than normal matter. or am I confused (again..?)


@the1andonlypieper
dark matter: https://en.wikipe...k_matter
Dark matter is a name place holder for observed phenomenon. (see other posts above)
I left you a couple of links. I hope it helps.