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LPP leads the field at Google Solve for X Fusion Brainstorming conference
Tiny research start-up's billion degree plasma puts low-cost device closest to the ultimate energy prize
By: Lawrenceville Plasma Physics
The reports given by the participants confirmed that, at the moment, LPP has achieved the best fusion results by far. LPP reported a density-time-
Two proposals emerged with broad support out of a lively discussion of the direction of fusion research. One was to draft an open letter to the US Congress urging that the US fusion energy research effort be expanded to include alternatives to the now almost-exclusive focus on the ITER tokamak project. Participants were united in their views that the present fusion program is too narrowly based. A draft of this letter is now being circulated for comments and finalization. A second proposal was some form of joint collaboration on simulation and data analysis. Participants made no firm decisions, but agreed to carry on further discussion about these and other proposals for action.
There was also a good exchange of views covering the benefits and challenges of aneutronic fusion. Both LPP and Tri-Alpha are aiming for fusion with aneutronic fuels that produce no neutrons, and thus no nuclear waste. LPP’s President and Chief Scientist, Eric J. Lerner, pointed out in his presentation that aneutronic fuels also could potentially be much cheaper than any existing energy sources, as energy could be converted directly into electricity, avoiding the cost of steam turbines and generators usually used for conversion. Other scientists agreed that eliminating neutrons from the main reaction would greatly simplify materials problems encountered using neutron-producing fusion fuels like deuterium-tritium. Neutrons tend to destroy the materials that a DT reactor is made of, and aneutronic fuels avoid this problem. On the other hand, aneutronic fuels require higher temperatures than DT does. The event was a great opportunity to see the progress in fusion research, and an important step forward in beginning cooperative actions.
Page Updated Last on: Aug 30, 2013