This topic contains 100 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by Avatar Brian H 9 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #3879
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    Rezwan
    Member

    In depth thread.

    In light of this website post, can we come up with a chart comparing the heat and thermal pollution footprint for different energy production processes?

    Given that

    Almost half of all water withdrawn in the United States each year is for cooling electric power plants.

    It would be nice to add a quantification/estimate of how much less thermal pollution will be generated by FF plants. That seems to be one area where we are still polluting.

    Perhaps this should be a separate thread.

    #3880
    Avatar
    Aeronaut
    Member

    Here’s a partial view from (American) Legion Magazine’s cover story “The Power of Power” a few months back. Producing 1MW from hydro-electric dams takes 20 gallons; from fossil fuels, 1,100 gallons; from nuclear, 2,400 gallons/MW. Their take was that water and electric policies can’t be treated separately due to falling levels of groundwater in places like the Ogalla acqifier, which supplies most of the MidWest’s drinking and irrigation water.

    We have the inherent advantages of air cooling and no steam cycle, so our thoroughbred version shouldn’t contribute to heating surface water. As Eric said, dissipating this heat in the air is such a tiny percentage of insolation that it will have no real impact, except to reduce the CO2 levels.

    Edit to add citations: Virginia Tech Water Resources Research Center. Study directed by Dr. Tamim Younos. http://wrri.nmsu.edu/niwr/program03/VA.pdf has contact information.

    #3882
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    Rezwan wrote: In depth thread.

    In light of this website post, can we come up with a chart comparing the heat and thermal pollution footprint for different energy production processes?

    Given that

    Almost half of all water withdrawn in the United States each year is for cooling electric power plants.

    It would be nice to add a quantification/estimate of how much less thermal pollution will be generated by FF plants. That seems to be one area where we are still polluting.

    Perhaps this should be a separate thread.

    Thermal pollution is, IMO, a bit of a boogyman — a non-problem. If you’re talking about heating the atmosphere, I think you will find that industrial heat output etc. is insignificant in the Earth’s heat budget to several decimal places. Heat waste, however, is energy waste. Sometimes there’s no convenient way to exploit that energy, so you just have to dump (vent) it.

    But if FF isn’t doing p-B fusion, I’m not sure what it IS doing, and where all this heat is going to come from. It MUST be above break-even to be a heat engine of any value, so what, exactly, Sir Aeronaut, do you envisage is happening in a non-electricity-producing over-break-even p-B FF generator used as a heat engine? 😉 :cheese: I find it hard to imagine what could be going on. If you want to use D-T fuel as a fallback or alternative, then you have to deal with the neutron flux: not just stopping it in the water shielding, but periodically replacing the internal hardware because the previous set has been degraded and rendered very “hot” by transmutation of component elements into unfriendly isotopes.

    #3883
    Avatar
    JimmyT
    Participant

    Rezwan wrote: In depth thread.

    In light of this website post, can we come up with a chart comparing the heat and thermal pollution footprint for different energy production processes?

    Given that

    Almost half of all water withdrawn in the United States each year is for cooling electric power plants.

    It would be nice to add a quantification/estimate of how much less thermal pollution will be generated by FF plants. That seems to be one area where we are still polluting.

    Perhaps this should be a separate thread.

    Whoever originated that statement about cooling water use clearly has some sort of agenda other than stating the simple truth. (And I know you’re just quoting someone, Rezwan) It is so misleading and carefully crafted as to force me to that conclusion.

    The truth:
    Almost half of all water withdrawn in the United States each year is for cooling electric power plants. And the vast majority of that water is simply raised a couple of degrees and returned to the river or lake whence it originated. There have been environmental impact studies ad-nauseum which show that very little if any harm is done to the ecology in the process.

    Notice that the statement is not untrue. You can’t say that about it. But it sure misrepresents reality.

    #3884
    Avatar
    Rezwan
    Member

    JimmyT wrote: The truth:
    Almost half of all water withdrawn in the United States each year is for cooling electric power plants. And the vast majority of that water is simply raised a couple of degrees and returned to the river or lake from whence it originated. There have been environmental impact studies ad-nauseum which show that very little if any harm is done to the ecology in the process.

    So this thermal pollution thing is a non issue? Send some links, we can add those to the post.

    Either way, we want it to work for us – for Focus Fusion to look good.

    For those who are convinced it’s a non-issue, we show due diligence in acknowledging the issue.

    For those who aren’t convinced it’s a non-issue, who have fears of thermal pollution, we should be able to show how we’re much less alleged-thermal polluting than anything else out there.

    We do claim this is “clean” energy, so we have the burden of addressing all the potential criticisms to be lobbed.

    #3885
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    Rezwan wrote:

    The truth:
    Almost half of all water withdrawn in the United States each year is for cooling electric power plants. And the vast majority of that water is simply raised a couple of degrees and returned to the river or lake from whence it originated. There have been environmental impact studies ad-nauseum which show that very little if any harm is done to the ecology in the process.

    So this thermal pollution thing is a non issue? Send some links, we can add those to the post.

    Either way, we want it to work for us – for Focus Fusion to look good.

    For those who are convinced it’s a non-issue, we show due diligence in acknowledging the issue.

    For those who aren’t convinced it’s a non-issue, who have fears of thermal pollution, we should be able to show how we’re much less alleged-thermal polluting than anything else out there.

    We do claim this is “clean” energy, so we have the burden of addressing all the potential criticisms to be lobbed.
    I haven’t the direct links to hand, yet, but I believe that even in cities, which are heat bubbles, most of the excess is due to lack of green ground cover, etc., and that rooftop gardens go a long way toward mitigating that. Here’s a (somewhat irritating) sample site: http://www.artic.edu/webspaces/greeninitiatives/greenroofs/main.htm . 🙂 😉

    #3886
    Avatar
    Aeronaut
    Member

    Brian H wrote:
    But if FF isn’t doing p-B fusion, I’m not sure what it IS doing, and where all this heat is going to come from. It MUST be above break-even to be a heat engine of any value, so what, exactly, Sir Aeronaut, do you envisage is happening in a non-electricity-producing over-break-even p-B FF generator used as a heat engine? 😉 :cheese: I find it hard to imagine what could be going on. If you want to use D-T fuel as a fallback or alternative, then you have to deal with the neutron flux: not just stopping it in the water shielding, but periodically replacing the internal hardware because the previous set has been degraded and rendered very “hot” by transmutation of component elements into unfriendly isotopes.

    Thanks for the promotion, Brian.

    I envisage the current state of FF as a pB11 reactor that currently transfers maybe 50% of its magnetic energy to the plasmoid and has 42% thermodynamic efficiency. (These are both optimistic numbers until the 2.6MA machine begins producing solid numbers). IOW, we pay through the nose in electricity converted to heat before we can even begin to think about energy break-even, let alone an energy profit. Therefore, FF’s most readily available markets don’t require energy break-even, just more BTU gain than could be achieved by burning fossil fuels. As ion beam recovery ramps up to the 90% range, operating cost steadily decreases, ignoring little details like control, monitoring, and maintenance labor.

    I pasted all but the first and last page of the entire https://focusfusion.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/139/P15/ thread into my word processor last night. Now its time for me to see what Rematog and Eric had to say on the last page. While I’m at it, I’ll be sure to add Maihem’s rebuke from about the same timeframe.

    #3887
    Avatar
    Aeronaut
    Member

    JimmyT wrote:

    In depth thread.

    In light of this website post, can we come up with a chart comparing the heat and thermal pollution footprint for different energy production processes?

    Given that

    Almost half of all water withdrawn in the United States each year is for cooling electric power plants.

    It would be nice to add a quantification/estimate of how much less thermal pollution will be generated by FF plants. That seems to be one area where we are still polluting.

    Perhaps this should be a separate thread.

    Whoever originated that statement about cooling water use clearly has some sort of agenda other than stating the simple truth. (And I know you’re just quoting someone, Rezwan) It is so misleading and carefully crafted as to force me to that conclusion.

    The truth:
    Almost half of all water withdrawn in the United States each year is for cooling electric power plants. And the vast majority of that water is simply raised a couple of degrees and returned to the river or lake whence it originated. There have been environmental impact studies ad-nauseum which show that very little if any harm is done to the ecology in the process.

    Notice that the statement is not untrue. You can’t say that about it. But it sure misrepresents reality.

    Jimmy, the article I quoted (not one of it’s sources, who likely does have an agenda), also states that agriculture, industry, and the electric industry are the US’s largest water users in that order. This is a VERY long, multi-faceted article that makes the point that no single industry or resource can be singled out by policy. Rather, water, air, energy, transportation, (just for openers) should be planned in an integrated manner.

    The FF Society has already demonstrated more due diligence than a “flat-worlder” envirocrises monger will ever show. I agree, we need a thread to explore how to minimize our exposure to them, without painting the last 110 years as bad. Hey, they did what they could with what they had.

    #3888

    Aeronaut wrote: The FF Society has already demonstrated more due diligence than a “flat-worlder” envirocrises monger will ever show. I agree, we need a thread to explore how to minimize our exposure to them, without painting the last 110 years as bad. Hey, they did what they could with what they had.

    OK, to continue discussing this topic, visit the new thread here.

    #3892
    Avatar
    Brian H
    Member

    Aeronaut wrote:

    But if FF isn’t doing p-B fusion, I’m not sure what it IS doing, and where all this heat is going to come from. It MUST be above break-even to be a heat engine of any value, so what, exactly, Sir Aeronaut, do you envisage is happening in a non-electricity-producing over-break-even p-B FF generator used as a heat engine? 😉 :cheese: I find it hard to imagine what could be going on. If you want to use D-T fuel as a fallback or alternative, then you have to deal with the neutron flux: not just stopping it in the water shielding, but periodically replacing the internal hardware because the previous set has been degraded and rendered very “hot” by transmutation of component elements into unfriendly isotopes.

    Thanks for the promotion, Brian.

    I envisage the current state of FF as a pB11 reactor that currently transfers maybe 50% of its magnetic energy to the plasmoid and has 42% thermodynamic efficiency. (These are both optimistic numbers until the 2.6MA machine begins producing solid numbers). IOW, we pay through the nose in electricity converted to heat before we can even begin to think about energy break-even, let alone an energy profit. Therefore, FF’s most readily available markets don’t require energy break-even, just more BTU gain than could be achieved by burning fossil fuels. As ion beam recovery ramps up to the 90% range, operating cost steadily decreases, ignoring little details like control, monitoring, and maintenance labor.

    I pasted all but the first and last page of the entire https://focusfusion.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/139/P15/ thread into my word processor last night. Now its time for me to see what Rematog and Eric had to say on the last page. While I’m at it, I’ll be sure to add Maihem’s rebuke from about the same timeframe.

    I think you misunderstand the concept of “break even”. If you are running FF at less than break-even, it costs you more electricity to run it than you get out. And thermal generation will make things worse, not better.

    But you miss my question’s point. What is FF fusing if not hydrogen-Boron? If it is fusing hydrogen-boron, then it is generating alpha and beta beams (helium & electrons) plus some X-rays plus some heat. 42-50% efficiency does not refer to comparison to break-even (energy input) numbers, but rather to the theoretical capture of all energy released by the fusion at 100%, an ideal case. If p-B fusion is occurring and ion channeling and X-ray capture are working, then you are generating electricity. Very cheaply, far above break-even.

    I think we need Eric’s input here; I just cannot imagine that it is feasible technologically to run FF as a pure heat source, much less economically. As designed, making more electricity with another reactor is FAR cheaper than any possible heat-capture scheme. IMO.

    #3895
    Avatar
    Aeronaut
    Member

    Brian-

    I confess to taking a few steps in faith. Since the early experiments will be using Deuterium fuel, it may be the end of the year before we know if this machine will actually burn pB-11 or just point us farther down that road. Rematog ran the numbers in the General Discussion->Heat to Electricity thread (forum page 2, topic page 2)

    Rematog wrote: Heat is a GOOD thing.

    Actually, I can see valuable uses for the heat energy of the X-rays�..as process heat.

    Many industries require thermal energy, heat, as part of their process. Obviously some, kilns, etc. are too high temperature for Focus Fusion to be of use directly. But many use low level heat, hot water or low pressure (100 psig or less) steam.

    I did a little math, If FF gets 0.98 of input power out in the ion beam and 0.57 of input power out as X-rays and can generate 5 MW net with 90% ion beam to electric and 80% X-ray to electric, I back calculate the input power to be 14.79 MW and the X-rays to be 8.43 MW(gross).

    Assuming a �Thermal Generator� is built using the same fusion reactor with the ion beam still being used to make electrical power the reactor input, the outside make-up electrical power load would be 1.75 MW. Therefore X-rays could, at 95% conversion efficiency, be used to produce roughly 8 MW of thermal power.

    So a Focus Fusion block, with an �X-ray boiler� in place of the X-ray electrical converter, could be used to generate heat at 460% efficiency from input electrical power.

    A major question I�d have for the physics types (I�m a mechanical engineer, X-rays are not something I�ve ever dealt with) is would cooling water or steam become radioactive if heated directly or indirectly (a target heated by x-rays which is cooled by the fluid) by the X-ray output of a Focus Fusion reactor?

    Rematog wrote: I’ve thought a little more about the use of a Focus Fusion Power Block as a process steam boiler.

    If the X-ray energy converter could be designed to have a partial electrical conversion, just enough to make the unit self generate the electrical power needed for it’s own operation, then from my previous post, the 8,010 net (95% conversion) of the X-ray portion of the output would need to have 1,745 kw of electrical output before the “boiler” portion.

    This would leave 6,265 kw of useful thermal energy(at 95% of total X-ray energy captured). This is 21.4 MBtu/hr, (roughtly 21k lb/hr of steam, depending on feedwater and steam conditions) which if provided by coal at 90% boiler eff. would require burning 1 ton of good coal per hour (12,000 Btu/lb, a good grade of bituminous, more is western coal (PRB) is burned), or about 25k scf of natural gas per hour.

    This is not large by industrial standards. I think that the total CURRENT (at today’s energy prices) US demand for Focus Fusion power blocks would easily be double, likely triple, the 200,000 units previously mentioned to meet current electric demand. This is before added increase demand due to lower prices and the increase due to new uses (desalination, etc).

    So I would be un-surprised to see a demand of almost 1 million Focus fusion units (if 5MW size) within 10 year (in the US alone!!!). This makes me wonder if labor to operate and maintain these units is available. This would certainly be a growth industry, lol.

    JimmyT wrote: Exposure to electromagnetic radiation does not make things radioactive. Only exposure to particulate radiation (mostly neutrons) will do that. Otherwise when we “nuke” popcorn in the microwave oven we would have real problems.
    Seriously though, this is true regardless of the wavelength of the electromagnetic radiation, from radio-waves all the way up to gamma rays. (Yeah, I know about Hafnium. There is always an exception isn’t there?)

    Concerning waste heat: Don’t forget the conversion efficiency of the input pulse to the plasmoid. I think Uber Lerner is using an efficiency for this step of 50%. This is a figure he has garnered from other research groups which have achieved this comparatively high efficiency; and not merely a number he pulled out of his, er.. I mean …. the air. Thus far though LPP has only achieved 0.01% efficiency in this step, (this in his Texas experiment). Lets hope for conversion efficiencys of 70% plus in this step as well; once our complete bag of tricks is applied.

    These 3 posts are the gist of what I’ve been pestering y’all with in this thread. My apologies for not hunting that thread down earlier and saving us all a LOT of time and effort.

    While I agree with Rematog’s output numbers, I haven’t been able to reconcile his input power requirements- initial or makeup. I’m going from Eric’s G Talk pB-11 fusion requirements, listing pk cap bank energy as 43kJ, and loosened the time to pinch from 1.6 to 2 microseconds; Inner and outer busswork are the assumed target values of 12 nH.

    I’m seeing a minimalist system schematic like an RF tuner’s tank circuit, where FF is the cap and the drift coil is the coil. The major differences are that we’re emitting X-rays as well as releasing energy that used to bind nuclei. Thus we get an energy gain instead of “ringing” as the voltage succumbs to system losses.

    #3904
    Avatar
    JimmyT
    Participant

    Aeronaut,

    It’s already been mentioned (though not in these forums) that as the gigagaus magnetic field decays, it will generate an electromagnetic pulse in the “Blake coil” surrounding the electrodes. This will have to be taken into account in the circuit design, least they be fried. It has also been mentioned that one possible antidote to this problem would be to design the circuit somewhat like an RF circuit. Although this circuit would have to be tunable to the pulse frequency unless that were to remain a constant.

    We would have to introduce significant additional inductance for this to work, and I’m not sure that would be desirable.

    #3905
    Avatar
    Aeronaut
    Member

    Rematog also laid out a long list of regulatory bodies that commercial power plants must satisfy. Here’s a sketch of my configuration designed with total compliance in mind. Note that even without the X-ray boiler, this may be the most elegant way to shield the FF reactor using 1 meter of water and a few cm of boron. Nothing matters in the mind of a regulator or prospect if it doesn’t look like it was designed to be at home and inspire confidence in an industrial setting, so the structure borrows very heavily from transformer and heavy equipment mezzanines raised platforms) that I’ve worked around and under.

    In real life, there would be 2 or 3 times as many vertical beams, I haven’t shown any dotted lines suggesting the deck beams, and the entire structure would most likely be metal-sheathed, like many large industrial stamping presses.

    http://global–village.com/Aquarius.jpg

    If anybody wants to properly illustrate it (I’m no Photoshop wizard), all structure and hand rails are bright International Safety Yellow, and cabinets are a little darker and muddier than Putty. I’ll ink and re-post this sketch later this afternoon.

    #3906
    Avatar
    Aeronaut
    Member

    JimmyT wrote: Aeronaut,

    I’ts already been mentioned (though not in these forums) that as the gigagaus magnetic field decays, it will generate an electromagnetic pulse in the “Blake coil” surrounding the main electrode. This will have to be taken into account in the circuit design, least they be fried. It has also been mentioned that one possible antidote to this problem would be to design the circuit somewhat like an RF circuit. Although this circuit would have to be tunable to the pulse frequency unless that were to remain a constant.

    We would have to introduce significant additional inductance for this to work, and I’m not sure that would be desirable.

    Jimmy,

    Blake Coil has a ring to it. The PLC controller can switch it out of the circuit after around 750 nS, since its low voltage and current. A quick but expensive way to drop in a lot of inductance would be to introduce a Be Trow Coil –> diode –> cap bank and see if we can get more than breakeven before the X-ray conversion.

    Tilting the cathodes a few degrees can eliminate the need for the Blake Coil, but will take several experimental base plates to get the angle anywhere near optimum for any particular application.

    #3907
    Avatar
    JimmyT
    Participant

    I thought about the diode solution. But I was afraid it would get blown. I can’t calculate the voltage involved, but I think that It may be considerable.

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