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    I was sent this article which is a three years old. I thought it was a good article in explaining what Focus Fusion was about, to see what they claimed and then to see where they are now. 

    The article was titled : Can crowdfunding give us safe fusion power by 2020? by  May 19th, 2014

    Link:  https://newatlas.com/nuclear-fusion-power-2020-crowdfunding/32058/

    Can crowdfunding give us safe fusion power by 2020? (Abstract)

    ITER’s tokamak, which is being built in the south of France, is requiring a collaboration of seven countries and has seen several delays, with costs now expected to exceed the €10 billion (US$13.7 billion) mark. Barring further difficulties, the ITER project is slated to begin operations in 2027 at the earliest.

    The team led by Eric Lerner is attempting to achieve nuclear fusion using an innovative, low-cost...

    According to LPP Fusion chief scientist Eric Lerner, the vast majority of the financial resources have been allocated to ITER’s approach to fusion power, while other avenues, such as the one being pursued by his team, have been largely neglected, despite being much cheaper. Using an approach he calls “focus fusion,” Lerner says his team can obtain a crucial electrode for $200,000, demonstrate net power gain with $1 million, and solve the final engineering problems, leading to a functioning fusion reactor with just $50 million in funding.

    How it works

    In a standard nuclear fusion approach, the idea is to capture the plasma and make it stable, which is technically extremely challenging (and expensive). The Focus Fusion approach is not to fight those instabilities, but to instead harness them to concentrate the plasma in a very small area.

    The plasma focus device can be quite small in size (Image: LPP Fusion)

    The plasma focus device, the heart of the fusion reactor, can be as small as just a few inches in diameter (see above). The device consists of a central hollow cylinder made out of copper, the anode, surrounded by an insulator (in white), and an outer electrode, the cathode, a circle of copper rods. The device is enclosed in a vacuum chamber filled with the fusion fuel and attached to a powerful capacitor bank.

    A strong current pulse generates plasma between the anode and the cathode of the plasma focus...
    A strong current pulse generates plasma between the anode and the cathode of the plasma focus device (Image: LPP Fusion)

    In only a microsecond, the capacitor bank pulses a current of over a million amps from the cathode to the anode. This ionizes the gas, turning it into a plasma. At this point, parallel currents run along each other inside the plasma, generating a magnetic field that forces dense plasma filaments to attract and twist around each other, concentrating the plasma over a small area.

    The magnetic fields focus the plasma filaments into a donut-shape plasmoid that is only millimeters across and quickly compressing. When the plasmoid gets dense enough, radiation from the center of the plasmoid starts to escape, and that causes a sudden fall in the magnetic field, accelerating a beam of electrons on one end and a beam of ions on the other end. As they leave, the electrons in the beam interact with the electrons in the plasmoid and heat up the area to over 1.8 billion degrees Celsius, which is enough to get fusion reactions.

    Natural instabilities briefly concentrate plasma into a donut-shaped plasmoid (Image: LPP Fusion)
    Natural instabilities briefly concentrate plasma into a donut-shaped plasmoid (Image: LPP Fusion)

    The record temperatures achieved in this way are hot enough for fusing a boron and a hydrogen atom briefly into a carbon nucleus, which immediately breaks apart into three helium atoms and a large amount of energy. Unlike the deuterium and tritium used in other approaches, this reaction is aneutronic, which means the end product is charged particles, and no dangerous radioactive waste. In fact, the end products have a half-life just over 20 minutes, meaning that radiation inside the reactor will be back to background levels after only nine hours.

    Moreover, because the end product of the reaction is moving charged particles, those can be converted into electricity directly, which is both more efficient and, according to the researchers, up to 10 times more cost-effective.

    The final reactor would harvest electricity directly, for better efficiency and vastly reduced costs (Image: LPP...
    The final reactor would harvest electricity directly, for better efficiency and vastly reduced costs (Image: LPP Fusion)

    Electricity would be generated in two ways. A good 60 percent would come from the ion beam shooting out of the plasmoid, which would be fed to a metal coil, where the rapidly changing electromagnetic fields would generate a current which is then fed into a capacitor with 80 percent efficiency.

    The remaining 40 percent of the electricity would be harvested from the x-ray pulse generated by the reaction, which would be collected by a stack of thousands of extremely thin metal foils that will capture electrons into a fine electric grid.

    The impact

    A full-sized focus fusion reactor, says Lerner, would cost $500,000, which is much cheaper than a standard nuclear reactor, and would be safe and small enough to fit in a garage or a shipping container. It would provide 5 MW of power, which is enough for about 3,500 homes, for as cheap as 0.06 cents per kWh – a twenty-fold improvement over current costs.

    With 20 percent of the world’s population having no access to electricity, this technique has the potential to offer cheap, clean and decentralized energy that could be deployed even to remote areas.

    According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, which financed part of Focus Fusion’s research, a functioning reactor could also double as a rocket engine, allowing us to reach Mars in as little as two weeks. Currently, rockets take six months for the trip in the best-case scenario.

    The next step

    Lerner and colleagues say they have already achieved two out of the three conditions they need to demonstrate a net energy gain: they have heated the plasma to 1.8 billion degrees and confined it to a tiny area for tens of nanoseconds. The third, remaining condition is to achieve a plasma density 10,000 times higher.

    The researchers say they know how to do it, and that they could achieve it by using higher-quality beryllium electrodes, employing heavier gases, and switching from deuterium-tritium to hydrogen-boron as fuel.

    If the researchers can raise $200,000 for beryllium electrodes, they say they will be able to show that a commercial fusion reactor is feasible and ready for commercial application by the year 2016. By then, it would be much easier to secure the $50 million needed to solve the remaining engineering problems and build a prototype reactor over the following three or four years.

    You can find out more on the Indiegogo campaign set up by the researchers. The video below illustrates how the reactor would be able to harness plasma instabilities to generate energy fusion energy.

    Source: Focus Fusion

    Video from 2016 

     

    Updates (Today) 

    The latest updates from their website: https://lppfusion.com/news/

    The following is one of many news articles updating where they are today

    Startup company one step closer to creating nuclear fusion

    BY KAREN GRAHAM     SEP 25, 2017 IN TECHNOLOGY

    Middlesex – The sun is the closest continuously functioning large-scale fusion reactor, prompting a number of facilities to focus on creating high-pressure and high-temperature plasmas that behave like microcosms of the sun’s core.

    One of the biggest problems in creating a nuclear fusion reactor that mimics the sun is the ability to control the plasma fuel. Since the 1940s, scientists have been looking for ways to initiate and control fusion reactions to produce useful energy.

    It has been a difficult journey because fusion reactions require temperatures of hundreds of millions of degrees, too hot to be contained by any solid chamber, making it hard to control the instability of the plasma.

    Are we really closer to harnessing the power of the sun? The sun is a natural  fusion reactor  using...

    Are we really closer to harnessing the power of the sun? The sun is a natural fusion reactor, using stellar nucleosynthesis to transform lighter elements into heavier elements plus energy.
    NASA Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres and Yohkoh Legacy data Archive

    Physicists, instead, sought to contain the hot plasma with magnetic fields, using, for example, the pinch effect where electric currents moving in the same direction attract each other through their magnetic fields. This approach is called “magnetic confinement.” Pinches occur naturally and are seen in lightning bolts, the Aurora, or solar flares.

    Embrace the instability

    However, a New Jersey fusion startup company is taking a very different tack: “Guide the plasma’s instability; don’t fight it,” says Eric Lerner, president and chief scientist at LPP Fusion, based in Middlesex, N.J.

    LPP Fusion is building a Dense Plasma Focus (DPF) device. The DPF consists of a thick, hollow central anode surrounded by a ring of cathodes that are about the size and shape of candles. Using electromagnetic acceleration and compression, the device produces a short-lived plasma that is hot and dense enough to cause nuclear fusion and the emission of X-rays and neutrons.

    The dense plasma focus device in the LPP Fusion lab in Middlesex  New Jersey.

    The dense plasma focus device in the LPP Fusion lab in Middlesex, New Jersey.
    LPP Fusion

    This is how LPP Fusion’s DPF works: The device’s two cylindrical metal electrodes are nested inside each other. The outer electrode is generally no more than 6-7 inches in diameter and a foot long. The electrodes are enclosed in a vacuum chamber with a low-pressure gas filling the space between them.

    Using a battery storage device, called a capacitor bank, a pulse of electricity is discharged across the DPF’s electrodes. Keep in mind, this happens for a few millionths of a second as the intense current flows from the outer to the inner electrode through the gas. The current starts heating the gas, creating an intense magnetic field.

    Guided by its own magnetic field  the current forms itself into a thin sheath of tiny filaments; lit...

    Guided by its own magnetic field, the current forms itself into a thin sheath of tiny filaments; little whirlwinds of hot, electrically-conducting gas called plasma. This sheath of plasma filaments is shown in this animation.
    LPP Fusion

    Then guided by its own magnetic field, the current forms itself into a thin sheath of tiny filaments; little whirlwinds of hot, electrically-conducting gas called plasma. The sheath of plasma then travels to the end of the inner electrode where the magnetic fields produced by the currents pinch and twist the plasma into a tiny, dense ball only a few thousandths of an inch across called a plasmoid.

    Further instabilities in the plasmoids produce electron beams, which heat up the plasmoids to the temperatures required for fusion. The work and a description of the resulting reaction are in a paper submitted to the journal Physics of Plasmas, still under peer review at this time.

    The proton-boron fusion method

    Lerner and his coauthors claim to have produced a confined mean ion energy of 200 kiloelectron volts, equivalent to a temperature of over 2 billion kelvins. “As far as we know, that’s a record for any fusion plasma,” Lerner says. Lerner is now sharing the results of LPP Fusion’s work with investors and the public.

    JET  the Joint European Torus  is the world s largest operational magnetic confinement plasma physic...

    JET, the Joint European Torus, is the world’s largest operational magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment, located at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, UK.
    EFDA-JET

    “In the critical measure of how much energy out, we get per unit energy in, we’re No. 2 among all the experiments in the world,” Lerner says. “And we’re only one-third behind the JET [Joint European Torus] experiment in the United Kingdom—which has almost a thousand times our resources. In terms of results per unit dollar, we’re clearly No. 1, by a long way.”

    LPP Fusion hopes to be the first facility to achieve break-even nuclear fusion by fusing simple hydrogen nuclei, with one proton, and no neutrons, with boron, which has five protons and six neutrons. This is a big difference in what other facilities are doing, including JET, the National Ignition Facility, and ITER, which fuse different isotopes of hydrogen together.

    With proton-boron fusion, no neutrons are produced, meaning there is no radioactivity from the primary reaction. One down-side in this type of reaction – it requires a higher temperature and density than deuterium and tritium fusion technology.

    A closer view of the C-20 device developed by Tri Alpha Energy.

    A closer view of the C-20 device developed by Tri Alpha Energy.
    Tri Alpha Energy

    LPP Fusion has one competitor in the proton-boron fusion race, and that is Tri-Alpha Energy, backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. In July, Digital Journal featured a story highlighting TAE’s collaboration with Google that led to the creation of the “Optometrist Algorithm.”

    Heinrich Hora, emeritus professor of physics at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, said Tri-Alpha may have higher-profile collaborators, but even with that, LPP may have a better approach, according to IEEE Spectrum.

    “The work of Eric Lerner may be more promising than what they do at Tri-⁠Alpha, because [LPP] has higher densities,” Hora says. “This is an argument in favor of Eric Lerner.”

    Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/tech-and-science/technology/startup-lpp-fusion-s-device-exploits-instabilities-to-fuse-atoms/article/503354#ixzz50GXiSSoO

    Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dec. 2017
    Sustainable solvent platform for photon upconversion increases solar utilization efficiency
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