Sandia magnetized fusion technique produces significant results

September 22, 2014
At the heart of Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine, Matt Gomez, left, presents an idea to Steve Slutz, right, while Adam Sefkow looks on. Credit: Randy Montoya

(Phys.org) —Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories' Z machine have produced a significant output of fusion neutrons, using a method fully functioning for only little more than a year.

The experimental work is described in a paper to be published in the Sept. 24 Physical Review Letters online. A theoretical PRL paper to be published on the same date helps explain why the experimental method worked. The combined work demonstrates the viability of the novel approach.

"We are committed to shaking this [fusion] tree until either we get some good apples or a branch falls down and hits us on the head," said Sandia senior manager Dan Sinars. He expects the project, dubbed MagLIF for magnetized liner inertial fusion, will be "a key piece of Sandia's submission for a July 2015 National Nuclear Security Administration review of the national Inertial Confinement Fusion Program."

Inertial confinement fusion creates nanosecond bursts of neutrons, ideal for creating data to plug into supercomputer codes that test the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. The method could be useful as an energy source down the road if the individual fusion pulses can be sequenced like an automobile's cylinders firing.

MagLIF uses a laser to preheat hydrogen fuel, a large to squeeze the fuel and a separate magnetic field to keep charged atomic particles from leaving the scene.

It only took the two magnetic fields and the laser, focused on a small amount of fusible material called deuterium (hydrogen with a neutron added to its nucleus), to produce a trillion fusion neutrons (neutrons created by the fusing of atomic nuclei). Had tritium (which carries two neutrons) been included in the fuel, scientific rule-of-thumb says that 100 times more fusion neutrons would have been released. (That is, the actual release of 10 to the 12th neutrons would be upgraded, by the more reactive nature of the fuel, to 10 to the 14th neutrons.)

Still, even with this larger output, to achieve break-even fusion—as much power out of the fuel as placed into it—100 times more neutrons (10 to the 16th) would have to be produced.

The gap is sizable, but the technique is a toddler, with researchers still figuring out the simplest measures: how thick or thin key structural elements of the design should be and the relation between the three key aspects of the approach—the two magnetic fields and the laser.

The first paper, "Experimental Demonstration of Fusion-Relevant Conditions in Magnetized Liner inertial fusion," (MagLIF) by Sandia lead authors Matt Gomez, Steve Slutz and Adam Sefkow, describes a fusion experiment remarkably simple to visualize. The deuterium target atoms are placed within a long thin tube called a liner. A magnetic field from two pancake-shaped (Helmholtz) coils above and below the liner creates an electromagnetic curtain that prevents charged particles, both electrons and ions, from escaping. The extraordinarily powerful magnetic field of Sandia's Z machine then crushes the liner like an athlete crushing a soda can, forcefully shoving atoms in the container into more direct contact. As the crushing begins, a laser beam preheats the deuterium atoms, infusing them with energy to increase their chances of fusing at the end of the implosion. (A nuclear reaction occurs when an atom's core is combined with that of another atom, releasing large amounts of energy from a small amount of source material. That outcome is important in stockpile stewardship and, eventually, in civilian energy production.) Trapped energized particles including fusion-produced alpha particles (two neutrons, two protons) also help maintain the high temperature of the reaction.

"On a future facility, trapped alpha particles would further self-heat the plasma and increase the fusion rate, a process required for break-even fusion or better," said Sefkow.

The actual MagLIF procedure follows this order: The Helmholtz coils are turned on for a few thousandths of a second. Within that relatively large amount of time, a 19-megaAmpere electrical pulse from Z, with its attendant huge magnetic field, fires for about 100 nanoseconds or less than a millionth of a second with a power curve that rises to a peak and then falls in intensity. Just after the 50-nanosecond mark, near the current pulse's peak intensity, the laser, called Z-Beamlet, fires for several nanoseconds, warming the fuel.

According to the paper's authors, the unusual arrangement of using magnetic forces both to collapse the tube and simultaneously insulate the fuel, keeping it hot, means researchers could slow down the process of creating fusion neutrons. What had been a precipitous process using X-rays or lasers to collapse a small unmagnetized sphere at enormous velocities of 300 kilometers per second, can happen at about one-quarter speed at a much more "modest" 70 km/sec. ("Modest" only comparatively; the speed is about six times greater than that needed to put a satellite in orbit.)

The slower pace allows more time for fusible reactions to take place. The more benign implosion also means fewer unwanted materials from the collapsing liner mix into the fusion fuel, which would cool it and prevent fusion from occurring. By analogy, a child walking slowly in the ocean's shallows stirs less mud than a vigorously running child.

Sandia senior scientist Mike Campbell said, "This experiment showed that fusion will still occur if a plasma is heated by slow, rather than rapid, compression. With rapid compression, if you mix materials emitted from the tube's restraining walls into the fuel, the fusion process won't work; also, increased acceleration increases the growth of instabilities. A thicker can [tube] is less likely to be destroyed when contracted, which would dump unwanted material into the deuterium mix, and you also reduce instabilities, so you win twice."

Besides the primary deuterium fusion neutron yields, the team's measurements also found a smaller secondary deuterium-tritium neutron signal, about a hundredfold larger than what would have been expected without magnetization, providing a smoking gun for the existence of extreme magnetic fields.

The question remained whether it was indeed the secondary magnetic field that caused the 100-fold increase in this additional neutron pulse, or some other, still unknown cause. Fortunately, the pulse has a distinct nuclear signature arising from the interaction of tritium nuclei as they slow down and react with the primary deuterium fuel, and that interaction was detected by Sandia sensors.

The secondary magnetic field is the subject of the second, theoretical paper, "Understanding fuel magnetization and mix using secondary nuclear reactions in magneto-inertial fusion." Using simulations, Sandia researchers Paul Schmit, Patrick Knapp, et al confirmed the existence and effect of extreme magnetic fields. Their calculations showed that the tritium nuclei would be encouraged by these magnetic fields to move along tight helical paths. This confinement increased the probability of subsequently fusing with the main deuterium fuel.

"This dramatically increases the probability of fusion," Schmit said. "That it happened validates a critical component of the MagLIF concept as a viable pathway forward for fusion. Our work has helped show that MagLIF experiments are already beginning to explore conditions that will be essential to achieving high yield and/or ignition in the future."

The foundation of Sandia's MagLIF work is based on work led by Slutz. In a 2010 Physics of Plasmas article, Slutz showed that a tube enclosing preheated deuterium and tritium, crushed by the large magnetic fields of the 27-million-ampere Z machine and a secondary magnetic field, would yield slightly more energy than is inserted into it.

A later simulation, published January 2012 in Physical Review Letters by Slutz and Sandia researcher Roger Vesey, showed that a more powerful accelerator generating 60 million amperes or more could reach "high-gain" fusion conditions, where the energy released exceeds by more than 1,000 times the energy supplied to the fuel.

A paper led by Sefkow et al, published July 24, in Physics of Plasmas, further explicated and designed the experiments based on predictions made in Slutz's earlier paper.

But, said Campbell, "there is still a long way to go."

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62 comments

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Shitead
3.5 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2014
Counting neutrons is a poor way to measure fusion events. It is far more likely that the neutrons come from deuterium fission events (which absorb energy rather than produce energy). The only way to measure fusion events is to count helium nuclei produced in the reaction.
no fate
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 22, 2014
Definitely lots of good stuff on the horizon from this field of applied sciences. Ahhh the happy realm of functional physics...a nice breath of fresh air.
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (9) Sep 22, 2014
Yeah, and what's really weird is that without the Z-machine or Helmholtz coils there is no primary or secondary magnetic fields to accomplish these phenomena. Where are the pre-existing magnetic fields to enable this stuff no fate?
Job001
1 / 5 (1) Sep 22, 2014
She is always a bride's maid, never a bride.
Do tritium 1% yield not 0.01% BS(Boring Speculation).
gkam
1.2 / 5 (27) Sep 22, 2014
We do not need centralized, heavily-fortified power stations, we want simple alternative energy systems we understand and can afford. We are making more progress in that effort than all the billions and billions wasted in these efforts.
no fate
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 22, 2014
Yeah, and what's really weird is that without the Z-machine or Helmholtz coils there is no primary or secondary magnetic fields to accomplish these phenomena. Where are the pre-existing magnetic fields to enable this stuff no fate?


Maybe the spinning electricity that electrons must be composed of for your theory of physics to function on a fundamental level made them.....

Perhaps you should call these researchers and ask them why they needed magnetic fields at all...then after they answer with their applied sciences gobbledygook you can tell them how much more successful your ways are, could be just the break you've been waiting for.
WillieWard
3 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2014
Perhaps steady-state instead of pulsed-mode technology can produce much more significant results to achieve fusion ignition with net gain. http://www.youtub...7j5k-_G8
antialias_physorg
4.9 / 5 (10) Sep 22, 2014
We do not need centralized, heavily-fortified power stations, we want simple alternative energy systems we understand and can afford.

Why not both? There are many regions where the energy density needed is higher than can be provided with local sources (Countries with little area but large populations, large research institutions). If we have to have some sort of big powerplants then fusion power is probably the most benign.

And we'll need some massive power source to get us off planet if we ever want to go to outer space. Solar isn't enough to provide large spacecraft with a substantial crew (unless we go for truly huge solar collectors...and those become less effective the further we go outwards).

That said the above research institute is charged with weapons testing - not power generation. The power generation blurb in the article is just that: PR.
gkam
1.6 / 5 (23) Sep 22, 2014
Both, indeed. Yes, there will be both, due to the way the grid grew, and the concentration of energy-sinks. But household energy use has been dropping, not increasing, even with the increased electrification of everything we do. At the same time, we have proven many technologies on smaller levels, as well as large, which can now be employed.

I expect to see increased diversity of sources and more distributed sources, with the grid able to be isolated into regions and microgrids for stability.
Eikka
5 / 5 (22) Sep 22, 2014
But household energy use has been dropping, not increasing, even with the increased electrification of everything we do.


That's a bit of a myopic view of the whole picture.

Electricity use is nowhere near the main energy sink in a household. A typical UK household for example uses five times more energy for heating and cooking than it uses in electricity - in the form of gas and heating oil.

It's about 16.000 kWh a year as compared to about 3.300 kWh for electricity. It's down somewhat from 20.000 kWh a year a decade ago, but it's still massively more and it's all coming from fossil fuel sources so it has to go - it has to be replaced by something.

While total energy use is dropping, household electricity use will see a massive increase. Plus, an electric car would consume about 2.000 kWh a year on top of that, so you're looking at least 3-6 times the electricity demand in the future if that happens.

And households are but 20% of the total demand.
Eikka
5 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
with the grid able to be isolated into regions and microgrids for stability.


That doesn't work well with the issue of large scale correlations in renewable energy production, such as weather fronts the size of countries and having just one sun that necessarily means all the solar panels within a thousand miles are producing more or less simultaneously.

The problem is rather, how to get the power from one end of a continent to the other without losing half of it on the way or paying infeasible sums of money and resources to pull it off.
gkam
2 / 5 (25) Sep 22, 2014
No, Eikka, it is not. The scales are much smaller than you think. And all of you seem to think the only source will be the one under debate. We will use them all, from geothermal (in addition to consumer ground-coupled systems), wind, anaerobic digestion, solar, of all kinds.

We integrated these and others in the early 1980's in California, and you can do it, too.

BTW, check this out: Rockefellers to switch investments to 'clean energy'
Eikka
5 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
The abovementioned is also one of the reasons why I get so annoyed when renewable energy articles talk about powering so and so many thousand homes as if it was a meaningful metric of energy production.

They're really talking about one fifth of one fifth of total energy demand (~4%) so it is rather easy to make the numbers sound big. It's rather like celebrating the fact that you can power your car's headlights with a solar panel on its roof - at least during the day.

We integrated these and others in the early 1980's in California, and you can do it, too.


Yes, and I'm sure they will work just as well in New York, or Ontario. (not)
Eikka
5 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
We will use them all


Not all of the energy sources are widely available or nearly as abundant as necessary. Especially with things like biogas, you quickly run out of stuff to gasify unless you start chucking trees and agricultural produce into the digesters. Geothermal energy too may be available in California - because it's sitting on a major faultline - but not everywhere.

Wind and solar are the only ones that are widely available, and that is their major issue as well - they have to be collected over vast areas or else the variability is just too much to handle.
gkam
1.5 / 5 (22) Sep 22, 2014
Geothermal energy has nothing to do with a fault line. It has to do with volcanism and heat from the mantle. And it is more available than you happen to know.

Look up the number one form of energy development in GW, last year and get back to us. You are simply unaware of the potential sources.
Eikka
5 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
We integrated these and others in the early 1980's in California, and you can do it, too.


Btw. California, according to the EIA, is using 31% less energy per household than the US average - thanks to the nice climate. 14% of households are not heated at all, and the average household uses only a third of its energy for heating and cooling.

So again I say, location, location, location.

Although still, 60% of the heating in CA is natural gas, 20% electricity, and of the electricity production, only 13.5% comes from alternative renewable sources discounting hydro power.

Eikka
5 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
Geothermal energy has nothing to do with a fault line. It has to do with volcanism and heat from the mantle. And it is more available than you happen to know.


It is, because the cost depends on the thickness of the earth's crust. Of course it is widely available if you want to pay through the nose for it. Drilling is expensive.

Here for example is the heat map at 10 km depth for the mainland US: http://www.geo.co...0km.jpeg

Notice how California is hot, and the east coast is cold? That's because the earth's crust is thinner at the west coast, because of the continental plate edges.

http://www.cas.um...hick.gif
gkam
1.1 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
Eikka, did you not look at your own map? California is relatively poor in geothermal, but has benefited from what we have. Notice the huge amounts East of us? I found large tracts of hot water available in Eastern Idaho myself, doing a thesis in 1980.
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
Eikka, it gets all extremes of temperature here. We are below freezing in the Winter some of the time, and get well over 110 degrees in the Summer often. I have no A/C. I do it with control of my environment, using diurnal differences to control the environment of the house. I have an efficient condensing heater and instantaneous water heater, with no standby losses. I will soon produce more power than I use.

Where do you live?
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Sep 22, 2014
I do not mean to be offensive, and apologize for my eager excess. It is almost impossible for all of us to keep up with everything, and the changes in the very structure of our supporting systems is a tough one to accept.

But it is true - nuclear powerplants are closing due to cheap gas and wind. Both are cheaper than nuclear powerplants, even those already paid off. PV has almost eliminated the market for Peaking powerplants in the West.

Change is here, and just beginning to start.
Eikka
5 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
California is relatively poor in geothermal


No. It's extremely well off in terms of geothermal energy. There are several hotspots where the mantle heat comes up close enough to the surface that it becomes commercially viable to boil water and make electricity with it - even though the efficiency of doing so is low at around 10-15% so the total attainable power is rather feeble.

In comparison to the east coast, it's like Iceland.

Where do you live?


It's irrelevant where I live. 2/3 of the US population lives on the east side where there is little or no geothermal power available. Point being that just because you have it somewhere doesn't mean you have it everywhere, and especially where it matters.

Population density map:
http://www.mapofu...-map.gif

Compare and contrast to the heat map.
Eikka
4.7 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
Change is here, and just beginning to start.


But what about the rest of the world? You're looking at it from the California perspective where the demand is lower and many of the required resources are there, while the rest of the world has to think about harebrained scenarios like Europe importing solar power from the Middle East just to make it steady enough to use.

Talk about a geopolitical minefield.
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Sep 22, 2014
Oh, come on, do I have to do it for you? Look up the availability of all kinds of ways to use the environment for your benefit. Got a pool? Heat it with your air conditioning, then use that heat in the Winter to heat your house...I can go on all day, because I was in that business as Senior Engineer for Pacific Gas & Electric in the 1980's.

Look into ground-coupled heat pumps. Integrate PV and wind into the grid, . no fuel costs, no pollutants, no radionuclides from coal.

I am talking about no central fields or plants, but an integration of all of us, with our rooftops, availability of our own resources, all integrated into buy/sell grid supported not from the outside in huge chunks, but from within, by all of us. It is already happening.
Eikka
5 / 5 (20) Sep 22, 2014
Got a pool? Heat it with your air conditioning


Would you have a pool in London? Or a ground heat pump when you're renting a flat on the 8th floor of an apartment building?

Again, California perspective.

You live in houses like this: http://foustonlin...ough.jpg

Other people live in houses like this: http://lacochonet...6254.jpg
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
Yes, Eikka, California has all those climates and housing types. We still have very low energy use.

Eikka, the most capacity installed worldwide last year was wind. Do you think they all did it because they wanted to lose money? Do you think there are no accountants in power companies?
Eikka
5 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
We still have very low energy use.


Because you live in a generally milder climate.

Do you think they all did it because they wanted to lose money?


They can't lose money, because governments are making people pay for it whether it made any sense or not. It's called feed-in tariffs, which also enable wind power to undercut their competition in price because it no longer matters if their actual prices are below sustainable.

In Europe, especially in the nordic grid, wind power regularily causes the prices to fall into negative because they have nowhere to put the wind power, yet the wind producers are making it at full tilt because they can and because they're being paid for it by the governments, or like in the UK, they're sometimes paid for not producing when the grid is about to fall over.

gkam
1 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
Eikka, I looked into technologies while in Technical Services for PG&E, and encouraged alternative energy. I also evaluated inventors and their inventions. We really can do it. I do not understand your opposition.

But I am sure you know much more about it than I do.
Eikka
5 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
Eikka, I looked into technologies while in Technical Services for PG&E, and encouraged alternative energy. I also evaluated inventors and their inventions. We really can do it. I do not understand your opposition.

But I am sure you know much more about it than I do.


Well, your information seems to be from the 1980's which was 30 years ago, when there wasn't enough renewable energy production to speak of so it didn't cause any of the issues we're having right now.

Now we're at the limits of integration where trying to fit more renewables into the grid is causing instabilities and system price hikes because the renewables are displacing cheaper energy sources by political choice instead of market feasibility. This may not be the case yet in California, but it sure is in Denmark, Germany, UK, etc.
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
Are you having those issues? They are solved before any power is sited here.

No, my information is from today, and I suggest you read the professional technical news, not that from political sources. And again, you are fixated on large-scale generation, not understanding the real issues of distributed systems. There are technical problems to work through before we can have a truly free system which allows us all to buy and sell at will, and shop for price. But we are doing it. The coops in the Midwest actually lead the way, after California started it.
Eikka
5 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
No, my information is from today, and I suggest you read the professional technical news, not that from political sources.


I read papers from the actual energy producers, like E.On Netz that show exactly how badly their wind power output is fluctuating over time, I watch the actual prices where they report them such as Nordpool, and I've done statistical simulations on the subject in my spare time, and have a good grasp of the magnitude issue of energy storage and transmission.

You think I just read The Guardian to come to my conclusions?

I'm "fixated" on the large scale, because the energy demand issue is much larger than just powering some households, and the renewables themselves work on the large scale. If you can power your home on solar panels, good for you, but that is almost literally like putting your finger in a leak in the Hoover Dam.

gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Sep 22, 2014
Let me tell you how it is done: In the late 1970's we had a need for power but had strict air quality laws and an Oil Embargo. The problem was air conditioning loads in the Summer afternoons. Instead of brute-forcing the issue and putting some powerplant to pollute somewhere else, we had the wind turbines installed at Altamont. They turn exactly when we need them, run by the same conditions. No fuel. No transmission losses. No pollution. No sweat.

The 7,000-head dairy now stinking up my home town could turn that waste into all the power and hot water it needs, plus continuous power for a thousand households. We need education, not opponents. Rooftops have taken an entire category of power production almost off the table: Peak Power.

It is here.
Eikka
4.8 / 5 (21) Sep 22, 2014
It is here.


Yes. It's -there- but the point I'm trying to drive home is that it's not elsewhere.

And even in California, your windmills at Altamont don't really do jack shit for the whole situation. What I'm saying is, to really make a difference you need a hell of a lot more of them, and then you have to deal with regular surges of gigawatts of excess power and nowhere to put it.

Your in-state electricity production is still just 14% renewables. Call me back when it's 25% and your electricity prices have tripled, just like in Germany.
Goika
Sep 22, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
kochevnik
4.8 / 5 (6) Sep 22, 2014
Excellent point lost on dinoheads and nuclear propeller heads. Peak air conditioner demand correlates with peak solar efficiency. And electricity is generally not the ideal solution for winter heating while simple measures like insulation and south exposure are very effective
Eikka
5 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
Excellent point lost on dinoheads and nuclear propeller heads. Peak air conditioner demand correlates with peak solar efficiency. And electricity is generally not the ideal solution for winter heating while simple measures like insulation and south exposure are very effective


Electricity is the only solution when you no longer have gas or oil to heat your shower and boil your tea. But don't forget the electric arc ovens to melt your steel instead of using coal packed furnaces.

And I suppose you'll be the one paying the cost of tearing down all our cities and turning every building to face south in a manner that they're not shadowing and stealing each others' sunshine?
gkam
1.2 / 5 (20) Sep 22, 2014
Eikka, go here: http://www.pge.CO...dex.page

It is 30% already.
Eikka
5 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
Eikka, go here:


That's just one electricity company.
It says 19% instead of 30%.

Actual state statistics:

http://energyalma...ces.html

In-state production, renewables: 14.6%

Of the total amount of electricity, only 71% is actually made in-state, so the actual amount of renewables produced by California in the total mix is really just 10.3%
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
No, Eikka it is over 30% counting high-head hydro at 11%. It is 22% in the kind of renewables you do not like.
Eikka
4.8 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
No, Eikka it is over 30% counting high-head hydro at 11%. It is 22% in the kind of renewables you do not like.


Here's more in-depth information about that:

In 2013, California served about 22 percent of retail electricity sales from renewable energy generated from sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and small hydroelectric.2 Wholesale renewables physically located in California generated about 40,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity, from about 16,400 megawatts (MW)3 of wholesale renewable capacity. California utilities purchased about 16,000 GWh from renewable facilities located out-of-state


So the total amount of in-state renewable energy production - which still includes hydroelectric power - was 15.7% in 2013

The out-of-state facilities are generally hydroelectric.
Eikka
5 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
the kind of renewables you do not like.


Btw. I don't dislike anything but wind and solar power. The others - geothermal, waste processing gas, low-head hydroelectric, etc. are fine because they're dispatchable and generally stable. Their only issue is that there's not a whole lot to be had. Using 7000 cows to power a thousand homes is missing the big picture, because the thousand homes are a teeny weeny part of the overall energy demand - even in that town, because there's probably a whole lot more than a thousand homes.

And really, with 7 cows per household needed, you get obvious scalability issues.
gkam
1.1 / 5 (20) Sep 22, 2014
You do not consider high-head hydro to be "renewable" but you do low-head hydro, small-scale stuff? Perhaps you are confused, but California was developed with high-head power from the Sierras. , . . using the world's first high-voltage (4kV), transmission line to Sacramento. It gets renewed every year, in varying amounts.

Sorry for your dislike of solar, because you had better get used to it. Making electricity on my roof is much cheaper than fueling a powerplant and funding the entire operation. And no waste.
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
BTW, the wind blows here at night. How about where you live?
Eikka
5 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
You do not consider high-head hydro to be "renewable" but you do low-head hydro, small-scale stuff? Perhaps you are confused


I don't count hydroelectric power in general with "renewables" because it's not a new thing. Hydroelectric power is debatably non-polluting and carbon-neutral if you ignore the methane emissions from the artifical lakes, but it's really not in the scope of the debate that revolves around the intermittency problem of renewables.

Perhaps a better word would be "alternative" power.

Making electricity on my roof is much cheaper than fueling a powerplant and funding the entire operation. And no waste.


Is it now? Do you have your own batteries, or do you outsource the difference between your actual use and your actual production to the grid?

Because that kind of "virtual battery" still costs money - it's simply diluted among all the electricity users. What happens when everyone starts doing what you do is, the cost and prices start to go up.
Eikka
5 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
BTW, the wind blows here at night. How about where you live?


Didn't you just claim it blows in the afternoon with the peak A/C demand?
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
Yes, it does. And at night, we get the breezes through the straits. And it blows in the Winter, too. And we use it for power at PG&E, essentially free, since the turbines are paid for now.

Sorry you do not count that hydro as renewable, just because we already had it. It is renewable, . . . no fudging.

Why are you so fixated with hate for solar and wind power?
gkam
1 / 5 (19) Sep 22, 2014
More explanation: In the hot afternoons, we get the ventilation of the San Joaquin Valley, as it heats up and draws air in through Altamont Pass. Later in the day, just before sunset we get the wind through the Carquinez Straits which brought the fog to San Francisco, and which cools my house. Good insulation keeps the house cool until then.
Eikka
5 / 5 (20) Sep 22, 2014
Sorry you do not count that hydro as renewable, just because we already had it. It is renewable, . . . no fudging.


The real issue with hydroelectrics is, that hydroelectric power is largely all built 50 or more years ago. You aren't really getting any more because of environmental concerns, and again, low-head hydroelectric power is such a small scale thing that it will never contribute a significant portion to the total. It's basically just meaningless fiddling.

So when people lump hydroelectric power with their other renewable power and go "look at us, we're doing so much!", they're basically lying and trying to hide their lack of actual results.


Why are you so fixated with hate for solar and wind power?


There's nothing wrong with the technology per se, but in the way they are implemented. Politicians and starry-eyed hippies are trying to run before they can walk (or store/transmit energy), and the industry and business is just scooping up the free money.
gkam
1.1 / 5 (20) Sep 22, 2014
Go look into the wind resources at http://www.boem.G...rgy.aspx add it to the geothermal resources, then add the PV resources, and you will get a good idea how we will get most of our power.

I promise it will not be coal. Or nukes.
Eikka
4.9 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
Go look into the wind resources at http://www.boem.G...rgy.aspx add it to the geothermal resources, then add the PV resources, and you will get a good idea how we will get most of our power.

I promise it will not be coal. Or nukes.


That addresses none of the points I've been trying to raise. It just perpetuates the same sort of number fudging and smoke & mirror games as any other wind industry advertizement. Like:

Wind resource potential is typically given in gigawatts (GW), and1 GW of wind power will supply between 225,000 to 300,000 average U.S. homes with power annually.


What it should say is, "Wind power is measured in gigawatts, what that means is, you sometimes get a full gigawatt, and most of the time you get about a fifth of it. It won't really power your home because most of the time most of the power is coming from somewhere else".
gkam
1 / 5 (20) Sep 22, 2014
Good-bye, Eikka,.
Eikka
5 / 5 (18) Sep 22, 2014
Good-bye, Eikka,.


I may appear unreasonable, but think about yourself.

You're talking about local micro-generation and "distributed power", and then pull out a wind industry advertizement that trumpets off-shore wind power which by its nature is far away from the actual point of consumption and requires transmission grids that simply don't exist yet - and costs a hell of a lot of money.

And you simply don't seem to get that you can't add more and more intermittent resources to the grid and expect it to work. Solar and wind both have high peak-to-average power ratios, and the peaks can't go over the demand at any moment, which means the sum average of both at any given time can't be a very large fraction of the total even if you could theoretically have much more than you need.

You simply can't integrate it into the grid without massive energy storage capacity - which doesn't exist.
Digital_Gods
not rated yet Sep 22, 2014
1.5 Billion Chinese. 1 billion Indian 300 million Americans. If everyone hopped on a generator bicycle 3 hours a day, they would lose weight and supplement the energy needs. Good news for the Americans, bad news for the Chinese and Indians.
rufusgwarren
1 / 5 (2) Sep 22, 2014
I'm confused.
1.0 What's the purpose of high energy?
2.0 Why start with products that will release neutrons?
3.0 Has it been proven impossible to trap a gas of pure deuterium, remove the electrons, and compress this gas and define the results of what happens when deuterium reacts with deuterium, atomically?
4.0 Is it possible to yield He?

The point I'm trying to make is:

Fusion would be caused by proximity not force. Any added energies would be a detractor, i.e. the proximity and particle velocity would impede fusion, it may occur but not be a stable atom. Contrary to the SM, the nucleus is held together by the neutron. The only logic that will allow this is a neutron is a proton electron combination and requires a different energy to separate. You may compute the stable states for such simple molecules and the proximity and energies that allow fusion.
rufusgwarren
1 / 5 (3) Sep 22, 2014
Seems there might be a large amount of energy release and current if we learned instead: how to separate the neutron into a proton and electron. If these particles were added into a current loop, what would be the node for the proton and the electron would loop back to form a stable atom?
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (9) Sep 22, 2014
when deuterium reacts with deuterium, atomically?

What does that even mean?

What's the purpose of high energy?

Hydrogen isotopes contain a proton. Protons have a positive charge. Such charges really don't want to be next to each other unless they are forced in such close proximity that non-electrostatic forces take over. So you gotta force them a bit (with temperature/pressure)

Why start with products that will release neutrons?

Without that there's no chance that pure protons will stick together. No fusion - no energy release. (Fused helium-4 nuclei are in a lower energy state than the sum of the original hydrogen isotope atoms. This excess energy - released as photons - is what makes fusion attractive)
big_hairy_jimbo
not rated yet Sep 22, 2014
@rufusgwarren I think it would take substantial energy INPUT to break a Neutron apart. Just consider that Neutron stars are a collapsed state of normal matter stars, and therefore a lower energy state or more stable than an atom star. Unless someone discovers some kind of voodoo physics I can't see how energy can be obtained by splitting a Neutron into a proton and electron.
rufusgwarren
1 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2014
A free neutron falls apart by itself in about three days, why? Secondly, the neutron within the nucleus, when there are two and one protons you will correctly see a net +1. However, within close proximity, calculate the angle using current radii, i.e. 3p+2e & no e shell for opposition, then when another proton is near, you will get something like 3 to 8 newtons of attraction. That is a new atom. The volume for this to take place is very small. the static model is very simple. We may not have it right, but we do know that the proton and the electron occupy volume. My question was, how can we expect to get there with the present methods? Think about it. Looks like a basketball shot!
rufusgwarren
1 / 5 (4) Sep 22, 2014
The second was: does there exist an electromagnetic soup that will separate neutrons and create current?
The first shot over fusion creates the question, how may we drop an atom into this very tight location, once there it will be held by the net. The other protons are like a backboard. Using a cannon to play basketball is just wrong!
cantdrive85
1 / 5 (6) Sep 23, 2014
Yeah, and what's really weird is that without the Z-machine or Helmholtz coils there is no primary or secondary magnetic fields to accomplish these phenomena. Where are the pre-existing magnetic fields to enable this stuff fate?


Maybe the spinning electricity that electrons must be composed of for your theory of physics to function on a fundamental level made them. Perhaps you should call these researchers and ask them why they needed magnetic fields at all. then after they answer with their applied sciences gobbledygook you can tell them how much more successful your ways are, could be just the break you've been waiting for.

Oh, you mean the electric current created magnetic fields? Nobody has claimed magnetic fields weren't part and parcel to the phenomena.
As far as the spinning electrons/electricity gobbledygook, that's your thing. The amperian currents created by the harmonic spin of electrons does create a circuit, without which there would be no magnetic field.
no fate
4 / 5 (4) Sep 23, 2014
"Oh, you mean the electric current created magnetic fields? Nobody has claimed magnetic fields weren't part and parcel to the phenomena.
As far as the spinning electrons/electricity gobbledygook, that's your thing. The amperian currents created by the harmonic spin of electrons does create a circuit, without which there would be no magnetic field."

No, I mean quite specifically electron spin differential. In our discussion regarding thermal magnetism who's functional mechanism for generating a magnetic field is the differential spin of electrons (due to thermal variation) bound in an insulating lattice (no amperian current). You also claimed this field is due to electricity, so you are saying electrons are composed of electricity since we have a magnetic field without electrical current. And the flow of electricity inside the electrons is responsible for this field.

Unless you have discovered a new kind of electricity....or you now think spin=current. Either way...good luck.
rufusgwarren
1 / 5 (2) Sep 23, 2014
OK, but I'm just looking at the particle's existence.
howhot2
5 / 5 (2) Sep 28, 2014
Back to the article; I love how the experimentalists took the idea of inertial confinement fusion and turned it into this awesome E/M cage. The Z machine is totally awesome.

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