HYDROGEN FUSION

RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR LONG TERM ENERGY SECURITY

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PLANET A, let's keep it this way

 

POWER - Although some countries act as though there is no energy crisis, in fact they have departments for such matters, that are there to advise for how much longer they can abuse their positions in world politics, to take advantage of other countries and keep on killing species and warming the planet - before their kleptocratic inclinations are compromised.

 

 

Fusion power is a theoretical form of power generation in which energy will be generated by using nuclear fusion reactions from hydrogen to produce heat for electricity generation. In a fusion process, two lighter atomic nuclei combine to form a heavier nucleus, and at the same time, they release energy. Today this is just a pipedream. But what a dream.

 

Fusion is the energy source of the Sun and stars. In the tremendous heat and gravity at the core of these stellar bodies, hydrogen nuclei collide, fuse into heavier helium atoms and release tremendous amounts of energy in the process.

Twentieth-century fusion science identified the most efficient fusion reaction in the laboratory setting to be the reaction between two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium (D) and tritium (T). The DT fusion reaction produces the highest energy gain at the "lowest" temperatures.

Three conditions must be fulfilled to achieve fusion in a laboratory: very high temperature (on the order of 150,000,000° Celsius); sufficient plasma particle density (to increase the likelihood that collisions do occur); and sufficient confinement time (to hold the plasma, which has a propensity to expand, within a defined volume).

At extreme temperatures, electrons are separated from nuclei and a gas becomes a plasma - often referred to as the fourth state of matter. Fusion plasmas provide the environment in which light elements can fuse and yield energy.

In a tokamak device, powerful magnetic fields are used to confine and control the plasma.

 

 

 

 

ITER TOKAMAK - INTERNATIONAL THERMONUCLEAR EXPERIMENTAL REACTOR

 

The heart of a tokamak is its doughnut-shaped vacuum chamber.

Inside, under the influence of extreme heat and pressure, gaseous hydrogen fuel becomes a plasma—a hot, electrically charged gas. In a star as in a fusion device, plasmas provide the environment in which light elements can fuse and yield energy. 

The charged particles of the plasma can be shaped and controlled by the massive magnetic coils placed around the vessel; physicists use this important property to confine the hot plasma away from the vessel walls. The term "tokamak" comes to us from a Russian acronym that stands for "toroidal chamber with magnetic coils" (тороидальная камера с магнитными катушками).

To start the process, air and impurities are first evacuated from the vacuum chamber. Next, the magnet systems that will help to confine and control the plasma are charged up and the gaseous fuel is introduced. As a powerful electrical current is run through the vessel, the gas breaks down electrically, becomes ionized (electrons are stripped from the nuclei) and forms a plasma.

As the plasma particles become energized and collide they also begin to heat up. Auxiliary heating methods help to bring the plasma to fusion temperatures (between 150 and 300 million °C). Particles "energized" to such a degree can overcome their natural electromagnetic repulsion on collision to fuse, releasing huge amounts of energy.

First developed by Soviet research in the late 1960s, the tokamak has been adopted around the world as the most promising configuration of magnetic fusion device. ITER will be the world's largest tokamak - twice the size of the largest machine currently in operation, with ten times the plasma chamber volume.

 

 

CNBC NEWS APRIL 2019 - Why Bezos and Microsoft are betting on this $10 trillion energy fix for the planet

Key Points:

* Jeff Bezos and others have sunk more than $127 million into General Fusion, a start-up trying to commercialize fusion energy.

* Microsoft is partnering with the company by offering technological know-how.

* Fusion occurs when two light atoms fuse together to make a heavier one, creating energy in the process. It’s the same process that powers the sun and stars.

* The goal is to provide energy to the 1 billion people on the planet that don’t have access to electricity.

Burnaby, British Columbia, is similar to most North American bedroom communities. The majority of its residents commute into neighbouring Vancouver every morning and then head back to their suburban homes at night. There is one thing, though, that sets it apart: Around the corner from one of the two Costcos in town is a small start-up that’s inching ever closer to solving the planet’s energy problems — and tapping into a yet untouched trillion-dollar market.

That start-up, General Fusion, isn’t like the up-and-coming companies you hear about in Silicon Valley, with eccentric founders, rapid growth and millions in revenues, though it does count Jeff Bezos, Microsoft and many others as investors and partners. Rather, it was started in 2002 by then 40-year-old physicist Michel Laberge, who quit a lucrative job at a laser printing company to follow an unconventional passion: nuclear fusion development.

Laberge, who’s now the company’s chief scientist, was drawn to nuclear fusion because of its world-changing possibilities. Unlike nuclear fission, which involves splitting heavier atoms to create lighter ones and can produce radioactive waste, fusion produces no environmentally harmful gases, no nuclear waste, it can’t be made into a weapon, and it will never cause a power plant meltdown.

Fusion occurs when two light atoms fuse together to make a heavier one, creating energy in the process. It’s the same process that powers the sun and stars. It also uses deuterium, an atom that’s found in hydrogen, which is a key ingredient in water, so there’s little risk of running out of the atoms needed to make fusion. According to Live Science, a gallon of seawater can produce as much energy as 300 gallons of gasoline.

It’s no wonder, then, that people like Bezos and companies like Cenovus Energy have sunk more than $127 million into the company, according to Crunchbase, while billions more dollars have been invested in about two dozen other nuclear fusion start-ups, government initiatives and big company projects, such as Lockheed Martin’s compact fusion reactor.

So far, no one has commercialized nuclear fusion, but the race is on to be the first to figure it out. Whoever does will be able to bring power to the more than 1 billion who don’t have access to electricity, power cars and help companies operate businesses without having to create harmful emissions.

They’ll also see a massive return on their investment.

“The market is infinitely large,” said Christofer Mowry, General Fusion’s CEO. “There’s nothing that will be more transformative to the energy space than fusion. It’s like how Facebook took over social media or if someone develops a truly practical autonomous vehicle.”
Fusion’s long life

The concept of fusion has been around for nearly a century, with the Russians making the first nuclear reactor in the 1960s to test various scientific theories.

While the concept has been proved, commercializing fusion remains elusive. Why? Because it’s a complex process that can only happen in 100 million degrees Celsius temperatures. Particles must also remain in close proximity with one another, and the plasma, which is ionized gas that’s created during the fusion process, must be contained or risk drifting away.

This process also has to be done cheaply and efficiently enough so that it can be used by people around the world.

“We do not have a reactor yet that is energy positive in terms of the outflow of energy,” said Ariel Cohen, a fusion expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “It takes so much energy to contain the plasma, but we’re hoping someone will be able to it and make it economically viable.”

What makes things more complicated is that there may be several ways to create the conditions for fusion to occur — and every company is trying something a little different.

Some, like the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a coalition of governments that are trying to make fusion viable, use the tokamak, which employs magnets to keep plasma from escaping and cooling off.

Others use lasers to rapidly compress hydrogen into frozen pellets that are 1000 times denser than ordinary matter and can achieve a momentary pulse of fusion.

 

 

 

 

General Fusion uses a hybrid of both, though it doesn’t use lasers. It injects plasma, which is surrounded by liquid metal, into a compression chamber where magnets help contain the gas. Then, pistons put pressure on the chamber to compress the plasma to fusion conditions. The now heated liquid metal gets turned into heat, which then gets turned into electricity.
Race to commercialization

It’s still an open question as to if, and when, fusion can be commercialized. Mowry said General Fusion has built all the components to create a reactor, but now it needs to develop a prototype, which will take five years.

“Using a car analogy, we built an engine, the transmission and the wheels; now we have to put it together and drive it down the road at full size,” he said.

It will take more time after that to build full-scale plants that can be used to power entire cities. If this were football, Mowry said he’d be on the 25-yard line.

Other companies have made varying degrees of progress. For instance, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a commercial enterprise spun off by MIT, is about seven years away from creating a more energy-efficient Tokamak reactor.

In partnership with MIT, it is creating magnets out of rare-Earth barium copper oxide, which is a recently commercialized superconducting material. Could this be the ticket?

“We need to design the next-generation machine ... that can produce more fusion power than energy needed to heat it,” said Dr. Martin Greenwald, deputy director of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center. “We think we can do that in a relatively short amount of time.”

Even when its components are created — it is currently in the R&D phase and likely won’t start building components for another two-and-a-half years, said Greenwald — it will still need to create a pilot plant to see if it works. Then it needs to commercialize it, he said.

Lockheed Martin, with its decades of engineering experience and government connections, hopes to unlock fusion’s power by creating a compact reactor that’s 10 times smaller than existing reactors. It will be so small that it will fit on the back of a truck, it says on its website.

While the company declined an interview, it says online that it’s trying to mimic the way sun creates fusion. Its cylindrical reactor, which it calls a small magnetic bottle, is similar to a tokamak, but it’s much smaller and uses different magnetic technology.

 

 

 

 

Lockheed has been mum on its progress, but Cohen said that while it’s not a pipe dream, it may not be that close to reality, either.

“This is a field that’s proved over decades to be difficult to master,” he said. “Every 10 years there’s chatter of how we’re going to be close to a breakthrough, and I really hope we are.”

Greenwald, though, thinks the industry is getting closer to putting all the pieces together. Of course, he thinks MIT’s magnetic technology is going to work, but more importantly, he just wants someone to bring this technology to the public.

“Fusion is too important for just one shot on goal,” he said. “Just like when you’re developing pharmaceuticals, it’s good that people are trying different approaches.”

Mowry, who is also confident that his technology will be first to market, agrees the more the merrier. While the attempt to commercialize has been going on for decades, he doesn’t think companies or investors will get tired of waiting.

“Investors love it,” he said. “It answers the existential challenge of climate change, which motivates a lot of private investors. They like that fusion can’t make a bomb and there’s no long-term waste, and they like that they can access a $10 trillion market opportunity. It’s a great story.” By Bryan Borzykowski

 

 

 

AFRICA & INDIA - In 2015 a world report concluded that 1.3 billion people were living in the dark. Rather than looking at this as a problem, we might take the alternative view that this is an opportunity to build a sustainable off-grid supply network using only renewables - so ensuring that what might be perceived as more strain in terms of climate change, might be prevented. We might achieve this with mobile units to begin with, until the affected regions have time to build permanent networks with installed wind and solar energy generators.

 

You might argue that they are the lucky ones. If they do not get on the development merry-go-round, they have nothing to lose. Once you join the rat-race it is hard to go back to less energy intensive living. There is an argument for not forcing change on tribes who are perfectly happy as they are.

 

 

LONG TERM SECURITY

In the short term we are reliant on fossil fuels to take us into a sustainable age where a circular economy is recognized as essential to harmonious living. Long-term measures to increase energy security center on reducing dependence on any one source of imported energy, increasing the number of suppliers, exploiting native fossil fuel or renewable energy resources, and reducing overall demand through energy conservation measures.

 

We might also enter into international agreements to undermine fossil fuel energy trading monopolies and assure that everyone has the right to cheap and clean renewable energy, with the need to transport imports.

 

Those who held the power and wealth should consider re-investing in alternatives as they head towards the sustainable economics of zero growth.

 

The deployment of renewable energy technologies increases the diversity of electricity sources and contributes to the flexibility of an international infrastructure system and its resistance to central shocks, especially where off-grid installations are widely deployed, but can be grid connected.

 

It is likely to be that at some point in the future we will no longer need power stations that run on coal, oil or nuclear fuels. We will have dragged ourselves out of the fossil fuel cesspit and taken power generation from the fortunate few who profit from geological deposits, to the masses who only need a space to mount the harvesting medium for energy independence.

 

For those countries whose reliance on imported gas is a significant energy security issue, renewable technologies can provide a level playing field.

As the fossil resources that have been so crucial to human advancement start declining in numbers, countries will be glad that they changed over to renewable energy.

 

 

 

 

 

FUSION | BIOFUELS | GEOTHERMAL | HYDRO-ELECTRIC | SOLAR | WAVE & TIDAL | WIND

 

 

 COMPRESSED GAS - ECONOMY - FUEL CELLS - FUSION - HYDRIDES - LIQUID GAS

 

 

FUSION LINKS & REFERENCE

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/06/bezos-microsoft-bet-on-a-10-trillion-energy-fix-for-the-planet.html

 

 

 

 

 

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A LACK OF ENERGY SECURITY CAN LEAD TO WARS