We've been 'close' to achieving fusion power for 50 years. When will it actually happen?

Yes fusion power of Earth will be a gamechanger but as recent experiments have shown you can beam power to Earth from space so why not use the biggest natural fusion reactor (The Sun) we will ever have available to power the Earth cleanly in the future. A few more experiments to work out the cost/benefits may yet make this happen
 
I believe that adding reflectors and beaming more sunlight to earth is a dangerous concept. The best we have is what.....under 25% conversion of sunlight. All the rest is heat. Any added sunlight will heat the planet.

Let's flip this channel upside down. What's the largest heat sink on this planet? I don't believe it to be the poles. I believe it's deep ocean water. ~33 degree water. I believe our climate is controlled with this sink......and that sink is controlled by evaporation. A see-saw dynamic, just one of thousands of climate dynamics. We have a lot of cold water. Kept cold in warm cradles.

So the best temperature sink is ~33 degrees. How much more energy could we harvest if our sink was just a few degrees above absolute zero?

We should start to see some applications of this. The 10 um IR slot in our atmosphere allows this. And it appears that this can be done not only passively, but cheaply with common materials.

Some amazing proof of concept numbers sound like a dream come thru. 20-30 F degrees surface drop at high noon on equator. This is below the dew point in many regions......free passive atmospheric water along with it.

Crushed quartz glass/sand to the proper ratio with reflective index seems to do it. It seems to absorb the energy of light and IR and then, re-radiate in that space slot. This also can produce current along with that temp drop. Thermo-electric materials and the voltage of such, has also improved greatly.

That difference between light and dark can give us electrical power, water, and temperature regulation. Passively. A passive self powered home. All from sunlight and shade.

As for fusion power........not for a very long time. If ever.

When you induce a particle, it shrinks. That shrinkage causes the inertia to increase(more resistance to acceleration)......AND....the area of interaction reduces......SO..... it takes a stronger or denser acceleration to move it........more than before it shrunk. More inertia and smaller size. This is why you believe that it takes infinite energy to accelerate mass to c.

This shrinkage is like a ratchet. If you stop the acceleration before that ratchet level, the particle will keep it's velocity and relax it's inertia, ....then accelerate it again to the ratchet point, the particle will gain velocity.....without that inertia gain.......and that shrinkage.

Intermittent acceleration. To c. But no faster. For we have nothing faster to propel with.
 
"a 10% chance in the next 20 years, a 50% chance in the next century, a 30% chance within the next 100 years after that and a 10% chance of it never happening."
LOL! I suspect we'll be long extinct before we ever see commercial power from fusion; sadly! But we did great producing a hydrogen (fusion) bomb...
 
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We've been 'close' to achieving fusion power for 50 years. When will it actually happen?

We've been 'close' to achieving fusion power for 50 years. When will it actually happen? : Read more
We won't be here in "another century". We will be lucky if a single human being remains on the planet by 2030. Climate change is now abrupt, exponential, and irreversible. The part no one gets is the "exponential" factor. Scientist's predictive models did not include the exponential impacts of multiple cascading tipping points, which have already been breached. 2024 will be much warmer than 2023 and 2023 was a disaster that continues to keep climatologists awake at night. 2024 will bring food shortages and massive disasters. It's too bad the US Government did not build nuclear power plants instead of nuclear weapons. It's too bad the US Government did not act in 1987 when they were warned by Carl Sagan and James Hansen that climate change posed an existential threat to humanity.
 
Yes fusion power of Earth will be a gamechanger but as recent experiments have shown you can beam power to Earth from space so why not use the biggest natural fusion reactor (The Sun) we will ever have available to power the Earth cleanly in the future. A few more experiments to work out the cost/benefits may yet make this happen
Space Solar Power arrays, and power down to Earth via benign steady microwave is a distinct possibility given space colonization to permanently "backstop" its building and maintenance. But rather than enormous fields of reception on the Earth surface out in the middle of nowhere screwing up the ecology, I'd like to see it realized that the cities and towns of Earth themselves could be turned into beamed power reception points, reception farms, without any "middleman."

As to fusion power plants, they are closer to fruition than you think. Once realized, though, fusion will have the same capability of reduction and individualization as computers have had. Greater and longer time source electric power in a briefcase or smaller size replacing battery racks and packs, and maybe batteries themselves, so to speak.
 
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We won't be here in "another century". We will be lucky if a single human being remains on the planet by 2030. Climate change is now abrupt, exponential, and irreversible. The part no one gets is the "exponential" factor. Scientist's predictive models did not include the exponential impacts of multiple cascading tipping points, which have already been breached. 2024 will be much warmer than 2023 and 2023 was a disaster that continues to keep climatologists awake at night. 2024 will bring food shortages and massive disasters. It's too bad the US Government did not build nuclear power plants instead of nuclear weapons. It's too bad the US Government did not act in 1987 when they were warned by Carl Sagan and James Hansen that climate change posed an existential threat to humanity.
Gloom and doom. We'll do just fine after a few million/billion people die off due to climate change. Call it a mother nature's reset.
 
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I think the last option is correct. We will never be able to generate fusion energy. Earth is made of the ashes left behind after nuclear fusion in supernovas. Turning ashes back into fuel is a dream-impossible. Nuclear fusion is not spontaneous on earth, unlike fission. During fission energy flows out, but during fusion, energy is squeezed out, as happens in stars under very high compression. So, energy input will always be greater than energy output in fusion reactions on earth.
 
This article seems to have little technical validity. The guessed-at probabilities of achieving commercial fusion power have no stated basis except vague musings about historical projects of much different nature. And the discussion about "choosing" to make bombs and letting fusion electric power research languish seems backwards from my experience. There has been huge investment into fusion research by multiple countries for decades.

And, the article totally misses the point about fuel availability. Even if/when we achieve stable fusion with heavy isotopes of hydrogen (the easiest way to make atomic nuclei fuse), we have the problem that those isotopes are relatively rare and are mixed thoroughly with the light isotope of hydrogen, so it takes a lot of energy to extract/refine the fuels for the fusion processes that need heavy hydrogen to work. Getting that fuel producing process allow the overall fusion process to be energy producing instead of energy consuming is another huge hurdle that needs to be achieved to make commercial electric power by fusion.

The only way I see commercial electric power generation by fusion is to use much more readily available fuels. I think the most realistically feasible option would be to fuse abundant light hydrogen with the most abundant isotope of boron. Hydrogen-1 fused with Boron-11 makes 3 Helium-4 nuclei (also called alpha particles) and releases energy. But, it requires much higher temperatures and pressures than fusing hydrogen-2 with hydrogen-3. At least it does not produce neutron radiation and the alpha particles are easily shielded and captured to produce the heat to produce electric power. But, it releases less energy per fusion event, too. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aneutronic_fusion .

As for the odds of this happening - I don't expect to see it in my remaining lifetime, so making any bets would be a waste of my time because I could never collect, even if eventually proven correct.
 
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We've been 'close' to achieving fusion power for 50 years. When will it actually happen?

We've been 'close' to achieving fusion power for 50 years. When will it actually happen? : Read more
We have had successful fusion for more than several decades. The delay now is the large companies trying to "centralize" this decentralized energy advance. The 'history book' Water: The Key to New Energy by Moray King chronicles the multitude of previous successes. There is an effort to expand beyond 'the reverse engineering of a lightning strike' to work with different materials/processes to effect fusion. Let's pray quantum physics may get us out of 1820's science. Fusion dynamics inferred in the 1880s .... . Cavitating Electrolyzers!
 
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A woman was on her honeymoon with her second husband. He was surprised when he discovered she was a virgin. Her explanation:

"My first husband was a fusion researcher. Every night he told me how good it was going to be next year."
 
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This article seems to have little technical validity. The guessed-at probabilities of achieving commercial fusion power have no stated basis except vague musings about historical projects of much different nature. And the discussion about "choosing" to make bombs and letting fusion electric power research languish seems backwards from my experience. There has been huge investment into fusion research by multiple countries for decades.

And, the article totally misses the point about fuel availability. Even if/when we achieve stable fusion with heavy isotopes of hydrogen (the easiest way to make atomic nuclei fuse), we have the problem that those isotopes are relatively rare and are mixed thoroughly with the light isotope of hydrogen, so it takes a lot of energy to extract/refine the fuels for the fusion processes that need heavy hydrogen to work. Getting that fuel producing process allow the overall fusion process to be energy producing instead of energy consuming is another huge hurdle that needs to be achieved to make commercial electric power by fusion.

The only way I see commercial electric power generation by fusion is to use much more readily available fuels. I think the most realistically feasible option would be to fuse abundant light hydrogen with the most abundant isotope of boron. Hydrogen-1 fused with Boron-11 makes 3 Helium-4 nuclei (also called alpha particles) and releases energy. But, it requires much higher temperatures and pressures than fusing hydrogen-2 with hydrogen-3. At least it does not produce neutron radiation and the alpha particles are easily shielded and captured to produce the heat to produce electric power. But, it releases less energy per fusion event, too. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aneutronic_fusion .

As for the odds of this happening - I don't expect to see it in my remaining lifetime, so making any bets would be a waste of my time because I could never collect, even if eventually proven correct.
The 1% 'breakeven' (as of this date) is technical validity enough for me. When, after all the innovation, all the expense, all the brainpower... after half a century, we are two orders of magnitude below true breakeven (without the ghost of a prayer, that that achievement will still have any practical physical compactness or simplicity of design and operation), I have given up hope.
Think about it. Suppose, come 2100, there is a true working fusion device, providing 110% the power that goes into it. And it's 10 times the size of ITER, and cost 30 years and 500 gigabucks to build.

Governments should stop funding this hogwash. Just... stop. Let it be the dream of small startups out to bilk investors, and lunatic claimants of cold fusion.
 
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Maybe when they stop trying to use tokamak designs or lasers.
Tokamak's because they're flawed from the start and lasers are just sparkly scientific toys that just happen to be hot enough to fuse a few.
When you guys finally figure out spherical techniques - you might actually come up with something.
I'm really curious why polywell was not built to full scale... After all it would have cost 1/100 of fusion research dollars over any given ten year period since 1970.
 
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The fusion power group had a great idea--50 years ago. The "close to achieving" excuse is a great funding primer for a few years but how long should the taxpayer continue funding that dead horse? Given the huge benefit of a better energy source, the government should evaluate other research groups and approaches rather than continue funding the researchers who have proven unsuccessful for half a century.
 
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Helion is raising funding and promising to succeed. But, on what basis, exactly?

And, if they do succeed in fusing deuterium and tritium in a manner that gets more power out than they put in, where are they going to get enough deuterium and tritium to make this provide "limitless power" that is still economical as well as energy producing instead of energy consuming on a total input vs output basis?

To me, this looks like a company that will be going bankrupt when it is scheduled to succeed. But, I may be wrong. I am just not willing to bet my own money on its prospects for success.
 
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Yes fusion power of Earth will be a gamechanger but as recent experiments have shown you can beam power to Earth from space so why not use the biggest natural fusion reactor (The Sun) we will ever have available to power the Earth cleanly in the future. A few more experiments to work out the cost/benefits may yet make this happen

We've been 'close' to achieving fusion power for 50 years. When will it actually happen?

We've been 'close' to achieving fusion power for 50 years. When will it actually happen? : Read more
https://uploads.disquscdn.com/image...27c07cefbb9984224ce373d4fe4c98b503d0669c9.jpg
 
Gyrotron holes 20 km deep are also an unproven technology.

The best gyrotron drilled hole I have read about so far by Quaise Energy is only 10" long by 1" wide in their lab. They were planning to demonstrate a hole 100" long and 1" wide in their lab, but I have not seen a news release saying they have done that. There is a lot of scale up engineering to achieve before they are going to be able to drill much wider holes 20 km deep. The current record borehole is only 12.2 km, made with conventional bit drilling in Russia. Quaise's schedule calls for them to produce a scaled-up gyrotron drilling rig by this year and demonstrate a 100 Mw geothermal output in 2026.

One of the things that seems like a concept killer is the need to get the vaporized rock out of a hole that is many km long without having it stick in the annulus between the wave guide and the outer wall of the hole. The plan seems to be to flush it out with compressed air or nitrogen. But, water intrusion, gasified rock condensing onto surfaces instead of into lose particles, etc. seem like they might end up creating plugs or at least preventing the advance of the wave guide farther into the hole. Outages in the drilling process also seem like they could doom a hole-in-progress.

Still, if I had to bet on gyrotron drilled geothermal energy commercialization or fusion energy commercialization, I would pick the gyrotron to happen first. But, I am going to save my money and not bet on either of them in my lifetime.
 
I am only comparing the gaps. Commercial fusion is farther away than thermal drilling.
Yes, potential problems in thermal drilling include plugging of the hole. My guess is they'll monitor the delta P in the annulus and when it gets too high, pull the string and run a pig down it.
The carrier fluid is proposed to be argon. It must have a flow rate sufficient to absorb the heat of drilling , condense the rock vapor into dust then maintain sufficient vertical velocity to hold the dust in suspension.
I don't understand how they will hold downhole pressure. Argon with entrained dust is far less dense than the surrounding rock. The walls of the hole will be pliable, must not be allowed to collapse.
 

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