Author Topic: Fusion with space related aspects thread  (Read 662340 times)

Offline GraphGuy

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #60 on: 02/16/2007 08:15 PM »
One presumes that they would use a NERVA style engine where the LOX is heated by fusion and ejected.  You could probably get high thrust and really good ISP- enough so that you have > 1g acceleration.

More likely you would use this for something like the Ares V but with a single stage to orbit and 2-3x the capacity straight to mars (due to the much higher ISP).

More likely still, this thing would just stay on the ground and make power (assuming that the fundamental physics work as advertised and all the kinks work out).  If this was to power something, a supercarrier would be a good option as there are no weight constraints.  If you used this to power a spacechip it would probably be from LEO to Mars.

I hope he gets his funding, his approach is rather unique.

Offline GraphGuy

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #61 on: 02/16/2007 08:27 PM »
Quote
PurduesUSAFguy - 19/11/2006  3:59 PM

I guess the main question in my mind is how do you convert the reaction in an IE containment fusion device into useable power? It seems like engineering a pressurized water loop through such a device would be difficult and I don't think you could use MHD coupling with Boron-Hydrogen fusion, although I don't really know...

It's an interesting concept, and I hope it works, but so many have worked so long on fusion that I tend to be very skeptical of anyone who has 'figured it out' outside of the established plasma physics community.

That being said I do think that the answer to commercially viable fusion is something 'out of the box' and that ITER isn't the road to fusion power. I think we need to focus more on novel devices like Princetonís near spherical tokomak and basic plasma physics.

This probably was responded to earlier, just thought I would kick the dead horse possibly once again.  Apologies if this is redundant.

IE fusion uses electrical fields to cause fusion.  The energy byproducts of fusion are neutrons, EM radiation (heat/gamma) and the fused atoms.  neutrons and EM radiation won't be influenced by the electrostaic field (having no chare) so this energy would leave the machine where it could be captured.  You could wrap the whole thing in a PWR system and replace the fission part of a current reactor.  Obviously you would have to cool the magnetic coils themselves but doing so is much easier than the wall of molten Lithium neutron trap that ITER is planning on using.

You are right that ITER is not the road to commerical fusion, at least not any kind of affordable fusion.

Bussard is not outside the established physics community.  He is one of the icons of the established community.  Ever hear of the Bussard Ramjet?  Bussard worked to establish the DOE tokomak programs back in the 70s as a way to guarantee funding for fusion research and he is generally rather dismissive of ITER as being the burecracy that won't die that he helped to create.

Again I really hope that someone finances more research in this area.

Offline Tom Ligon

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #62 on: 02/16/2007 09:08 PM »
Something like this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_amplifier

Somebody beat you to it in a related thread.

The preferred embodiment of the device burns p-B11.  Virtually all the energy from this comes off as energetic alphas, which, in principle, allows direct conversion to high voltage DC at high efficiency.  The reaction is aneutronic.  For space propulsion, this would be great as it reduces power conversion mass and radiatior requirements.

If he has to resort to DD, I believe Dr. Bussard would likely opt for DT instead, and use the lithium blanket to breed more T, just like ITER intends.  DD only produces a neutron half the time, the rest of the time makes a proton, which would hit the chamber walls and make heat.  But the option of using the device as a neutron source to drive a fission reaction is clearly a possibility.

Back in 1995, I learned from my old company that somebody named Bussard needed some vacuum leak testing done.  So when I quit to set up my own consulting service, I dropped by the address and slipped my propaganda under the door.  When I got a call from "R. W. Bussard" a couple of weeks later, I asked "I gotta know, is this THE R. W. Bussard, as in interstellar ramjets?"

He replied, "I guess I'll never live that down."


Offline Tony Rusi

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #63 on: 02/17/2007 01:15 AM »
GraphGuy,

Actually I think the Nerva rockets heated hydrogen, but I guess they could heat oxygen too, but it might be too corrosive to deal with in the heat exchanger with a liquid lithium loop going into the fusion cube to pick up the heat. One of the guys at Bigelow, James Hopkins, was claiming that you get better heat transfer to the hydrogen by spiking it with 10% methane. I looked into this when I was working at Bigelow Aerospace, where I was doing trade studies for the Lunar Cruiser concept. It was an earth-moon cycler for tourists who want to spend a week on a lunar flyby. If you look at the tank volume though, the Nerva hydrogen tanks would be nearly as big as the conventional chemical rocket tanks for a cryogenic oxygen and hydrogen set-up. Although you would have to refill them less often, because of the higher ISP for the NERVA thermal rocket, vs. a chemical rocket.

I really like the idea of a clean fusion thermal rocket with water propellant however. There is no possibility of any type of radioactive debris ever. This keeps the eco-kooks happy. The whole design is much simpler, since you don't have to deal with any cryogens that explode on contact with everyday materials like asphalt, which is still pretty common around most airports. Unless the water is superheated steam, there little likelyhood of explosion, and the liquid water propellant is much denser, so the tanks don't have to be that big. You can throw some MHD in the fusion cube to get out the electricity you need, but the rocket is a simple heat engine.

Offline publiusr

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #64 on: 02/18/2007 08:46 PM »
What Stan Borowski wants is an oxygen afterburner. The LH2 is heated and mixed with LOX for thrust augmentation.

Offline Tony Rusi

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #65 on: 02/21/2007 07:26 PM »
Bussard says the smallest you can get breakeven with the proton-boron fuel is an eight foot cube. If that puts out 100 MW, and I only need 100 KW for my VTVL ultralight, then I only need a nine inch cube to power it! If we could just figure a way to get breakeven in a smaller package....;) di-lithium crystals???

Offline Tom Ligon

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #66 on: 02/21/2007 07:53 PM »
I had dilithium power on my old Kaypro 286.  The tech pointed it out. TWO lithium batteries supporting the static ram and RTC.

While Dr. Bussard does not believe you can scale a MaGrid reactor down so far, that sort of powerplant would allow fuel synthesis.  He believes it would make it possible to make alcohol from CO2 and water, and it would certainly make hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis.  He may be referring to the Fischer-Tropsch process in the link below.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/03/a_proposal_for_.html


Offline Zachstar

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #67 on: 02/21/2007 09:08 PM »
If we can find a cheap way to get the C02 out of the atmosphere then this sounds like a perfect solution for use of IEF.

alcohol of course has many uses.


What if Bussard teamed up with someone with a real solution for removing C02 from the atmosphere to use IEF as the "power" of the process.

And I'm sure they can sell the may tons of alcohol to industry or use it as rocket fuel.

Offline Tom Ligon

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #68 on: 02/21/2007 09:23 PM »
Good idea, bad business model.  There's not much profit in it, unless governments fund it with taxes as an environmental cleanup process.  And CO2 drifts across national boundaries, so nobody will want to pay to clean up someone else's mess.

The GreenCarCongress proposal is to use it to clean up the stack gas of fossil fueled plants, and that's a whole different game.  Catch the CO2 at high concentration at the source.  One could tax CO2 emissions heavily, encouraging producers to scrub it.  If they can sell the byproduct, converting tax to profit, that's incentive.

The laugh is, that strategy probably would not last long.  If these reactors run that well, the fossil fuel plants will be shut down as fast as the replacements can be brought on line!  That's even better:  instead of using the carbon from fossil fuels twice (half the emissions), you don't use it at all.  You would end up using ag wastes as feedstock instead.

Offline Zachstar

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #69 on: 02/21/2007 09:39 PM »
Well I hope google will consider funding or somebody atleast.

This is why we need the prize model on more projects. The US energy dept ought to offer millions in prizes for people wanting to create such problem solving devices such as IEF.

Virgin is doing it and I fail to see how anyone can turn a blind eye to 25 mil for this.

Offline Tony Rusi

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #70 on: 03/01/2007 04:55 PM »
Jim Benson the billionaire controlling Bussard's fusion lab equipment will be interviewed LIVE! on David Livingston's internet Space Show on Sunday! Tune in and find out about our energy future and the first real breakthrough in space propulsion in fourty years! David takes questions from listeners on the phone or off of e-mail LIVE.

Offline Tom Ligon

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #71 on: 03/01/2007 06:44 PM »
Great news! :)

Offline coach

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #72 on: 03/01/2007 07:54 PM »
Fantastic news!!!  I've tried to soak up everything concerning Bussard's fusor since I first heard of it but there hasn't been anything new for a while.  Thank God for message boards!!!   I'm sure Jim B. wants to talk about SpaceDev and Benson Space more than this fusion experiment but hopefully someone can squeeze a question in.

Coach

Offline Tom Ligon

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #73 on: 03/04/2007 09:09 PM »
I just listened in, and some guy named Tony ;) called in and got Benson to talk about Bussard's ideas.  Benson said Bussard has a draft agreement of some sort in front of him right now ... I don't know what is going on exactly, but it sounds like maybe a business plan or proposal of some kind might be in the works, to give potential investors something to chew on.

If any of you who missed it would like to hear the interview, the podcasts are archived on the website listed above.  Benson touched on a number of topics here in the Advanced Concepts section.

Offline coach

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #74 on: 03/05/2007 02:30 PM »
After listening to the program, I got the impression that there was a sense of urgency on Jim B.'s part to help make this happen.  The rest of the program was great, too.  Worthy of another thread even.  But I was suprised that Benson gave so much time to answer Tony's questions (close to 10 minutes worth).  He didn't dodge or minimize the importance of the question at all.  In fact, after listening to Benson and his overall vision I got the impression that nuclear fusion propulsion is the kind of breakthrough that he would be looking for to make his dreams of exploring and colonizing the solar system a reality.  He also made mention of the fact that if and when a deal could be worked out with Dr. Bussard it will be made quite public and transparent.

Thanks Tony

http://www.thespaceshow.com/detail.asp?q=680


Coach

Offline Tom Ligon

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #75 on: 03/05/2007 04:19 PM »
This is the first time I've heard Benson's side of it, but Dr. Bussard has been telling me that Benson is eager for the chance to pursue this, and he's never misled me before, so I expected as much.

The rewards are admittedly a bit of a stretch for Benson's usual business plans, or for anyone.  But he evidently moves in the right circles to know how to make this sort of thing happen, if anyone does.

Offline kkattula

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #76 on: 03/07/2007 10:31 AM »
Maybe the good people at the X Prize foundation will be interested, Larry Page of Google already knows about Bussard, obviously since they hosted that talk.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/05/DDGFOOEF4C1.DTL

I'm not sure if they will directly fund projects or just set prizes. But a lot those people could afford to fund it outside of the Foundation, and they clearly are interested in advancing technology.

Offline Tom Ligon

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #77 on: 03/07/2007 04:43 PM »
One would hope.

The Mega Millions jackpot last night offered Fate a chance to Fund Fusion.  Alas, Fate turns out to also not be a risk-tolerant venture capitalist.  The lump sum payoff, before taxes, would have funded the DD machine and come pretty close on p-B11.

At least I did not have to fight with my wife over how to use the winnings.

Offline Tony Rusi

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #78 on: 03/08/2007 07:21 PM »
I got an interesting e-mail last night from Doc Bussard. Some of you may be interested in helping him.

Just a short note to clarify some of your comments in re our interests in fusion and its development. When we closed our Navy-supported EMC2 labs in Dec 2005, the Navy-owned equipment was to be sent for storage to USN/ChinaLake. However, Ms. Dolly Gray, our President, suggested that it might be useful to some other local company with DoD contracts, if it couild be transferred to such a company. Jim Benson's SpaceDev was local and had AF contracts for which the space chambers could be used, so - to avoid simply storing the eqpt - we arranged with Jim to transfer it to his company instead. And he found that our three lab people were good acquisitions for his company's work as well.

Thus, we managed to salvage almost a million dollars worth of government equipment for SpaceDev, in the hope that it could be used there. SpaceDev has not, to this date, found an internal use for it, and it is thus not reassembled and available for use. We had all hoped that DoD funds might be found to restart our own shut down work, which we had planned to conduct jointly with SpaceDev, but this proved not the case. If we succeed in finding funds to support our restart we will likely put a new lab in Albuquerque, NM, near to the LANL, SNLA and AFRL, and build test setups tailored to the needs of the two new machines WB-7,8, that we hope to build and test in the first phase of the development effort..

We have formed a new non-profit organization to accept tax-deductiblde donations for this work; it is EMC2 Fusion Development Corporation, under the 501C3 umbrella of the New Mexico Community Foundation (NMCF), at 343 E. Alameda, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Contributions can be sent to NMCF at that address, marked for EMC2Fusion, and this will help us get going again towards the end solution of the oil problem. In a week or so we will have a web site with more details. I will send you the web address when it is available. .

Cheers, RWBussard


Offline Tom Ligon

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Re: Fusion with space related aspects thread
« Reply #79 on: 03/08/2007 09:03 PM »
LOL!  Tony, would you believe Gary C. Hudson (HMX Inc) saw where you posted that elsewhere, found my name here, and e-mailed me wondering how to contact RWB?  They're old friends, and it turns out he's worked with my company.

Very small world we live in.

I'll probably make a donation, but I've got a mad-money IRA (an old 401K that got ripped off so badly I never expected a cent back) that might make a nice vehicle for investing in the VC effort, if I'm not too small a fish.

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