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  • #367
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    OK, so I’ve been sending out a few emails a day to various websites that seem like they may be a fit with us. In these emails I say – perhaps too much. Perhaps not enough, perhaps using the wrong approach. Take a look at the full info-email and let me know how you’d streamline it:

    Dear ________:

    Fusion, mysteriously a non-issue in todays political landscape, needs advocates. I hope you/your site will be one of them. Fusion is closer than most people think.

    Our site, https://focusfusion.org/ is dedicated to developing an unlimited, safe, clean, cheap electricity supply from nuclear fusion, ASAP, by advocating a systematic approach to exploring fusion alternatives, and supporting that research ourselves for one particular approach.

    No, we’re not talking about cold fusion, fission, or conventional tokamak fusion [which isn’t expected to work for another 50 years, and which will be super expensive, not to mention still radioactive – https://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/article/25/ ].

    Despite a raging war in the Middle East, and Al Gore’s movie about global warming, fusion alternatives don’t even register in the public sphere as a viable solution. It’s not even an issue yet – https://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/article/energy_crisis/

    We want to change that. We want people to demand their fusion. We want to see a “fusion race”. We’re trying to get the X-prize foundation to put up a “Fusion X-Prize” – https://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/article/x_prize/

    We’re trying to press politicians for their stand on the “alternative fusion issue”. We’re trying to clarify it, define it as an issue, and we’re trying to get the issue to the public sphere. (example – https://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/article/79/ and https://focusfusion.org/index.php/forums/viewthread/9/ )

    We want to get action on it, to increase funding for the alternatives. Ultimately, we hope this will result in the surprisingly quick development of a viable, practical, world-changing, playing-field-leveling fusion reactor.

    We hope you will help in this endeavor and advocate for fusion.

    Seriously. Fusion. Why are we waiting? End Poverty – https://focusfusion.org/index.php/site/article/poverty/

    Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have any questions, comments, suggestions.

    Thanks for your attention!

    Best regards,
    etc.

    I’ve just started making the rounds with this, sending them to sites like “democracy now” or various high ranking blogs that have a post about nuclear energy or the environment. Also environmental sites. Haven’t received a reply yet from my e-blitz. Wondering how to write a better message. Or maybe it’s just a matter of keeping at it. Sending out a few emails a day until the message finds iits demographic.

    Any thoughts?

    #1827
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    Our site, https://focusfusion.org/ is dedicated to developing an unlimited, safe, clean, cheap electricity supply from nuclear fusion, ASAP, by advocating a systematic approach to exploring fusion alternatives, and supporting that research ourselves for one particular approach.

    I think I need to make this paragraph stronger. I should add:

    Our approach is promising and could result in working fusion power plants within 7 years.

    Or something. There’s just nothing in the email that says we’re on to something.

    #1835
    AvatarRezwan
    Member

    OK. I’ve been riding the global warming wave, and over the course of posting to various weblogs that remark on it, my message has been streamlined a bit to this:

    What strikes me as ironic is that both left and right overlook viable fusion alternatives in their discussion of global warming/energy/oil. [or other lead in sentence related to the blog I am posting to. This one was remarking on the irony of George Bush’s compound being vulnerable to sea level changes with global warming]

    Fusion is closer than most people think.

    The Focus Fusion Society is dedicated to developing fusion energy, ASAP, by advocating a systematic approach to exploring fusion alternatives, and supporting that research itself for the focus fusion approach.

    We’re not talking about cold fusion or fission. We’re not talking about conventional tokamak fusion (the ITER project) – which isn’t expected to work for another 50 years. (Please read up on Conventional vs. Focus Fusion – the differences are substantial) Yet all US research money in fusion, limited as it is, goes into the one ITER project only. A grossly ineffective strategy, like funding one lone hospital program to find a cure for cancer.

    Fusion alternatives need to become a big deal with the general public, politicians, etc. We want to change the current apathy. We want people to demand their fusion. We want to see a “fusion race”. We’ve been lobbying the X-prize foundation to put up a “Fusion X-Prize“.

    Help us advocate for this issue.

    Fusion. Why are we waiting?

    Still needs work. The goal is to find the key message, and to stay on message and then use repetition to drill it into the public consciousness. Any suggestions?

    #1838
    AvatarSigma
    Member

    It sounds good. I have been thinking of either a specific Fusion X-Prize or a more generalized Energy X-Prize with varying tiers. Of course the Fusion X-Prize would be a good start, perhaps later an Energy X-Prize, which would cover the gamut of energy issues, could be created.

    #1961
    AvatarDaveMart
    Member

    Sigma wrote: It sounds good. I have been thinking of either a specific Fusion X-Prize or a more generalized Energy X-Prize with varying tiers. Of course the Fusion X-Prize would be a good start, perhaps later an Energy X-Prize, which would cover the gamut of energy issues, could be created.

    Well, I believe Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft, put up the money for the X-prize, so perhaps he could be interested.
    Regards,
    DaveMart

    #1981
    AvatarAlex Pollard
    Participant

    In my pitch I like to emphasise that the expenditure on focus fusion research will be quite small, and it will not take long to determine whether it is viable or not.

    That is, I don’t assume that focus fusion will definitely work because I don’t want to come across as a zealot who has seen the light and has some “miracle” solution. People have no way of knowing how credible the concept is, and they won’t instantly take our word for it. Focus Fusion may well end up being a miracle solution, but we don’t know that yet.

    And as a way explaining why it gets so little attention, I lead into this by talking about how misguided institutional science can be.

    #1982
    AvatarDaveMart
    Member

    Alex Pollard wrote:

    And as a way explaining why it gets so little attention, I lead into this by talking about how misguided institutional science can be.

    It’s important though to avoid getting grouped with those ideas which would require a radical rethink of physics to be possible – for instance cold fusion.
    Without pre-judging or commenting on what is possible in that type of field, focus fusion implies no such challenge to current understandings of physics, and the issues involved are purely ones of technological implementation.
    It is also one whcih has also attracted institutional support currently in South America and previously elsewhere, and many other goups are looking at plasma physics, whose potentials are only currently being realised, and may lead to a re-think of older approaches, which attracted considerable funding before some of the more modern and potentially far more financially attractive possibilities were understood, and so a degree of re-assesment of priorities in funding of the 40 year old research into fusion technolgy may be appropriate.
    A degree of care in approaching institutional science, with great care to the terms in which those institutions are addresed, might yield dividends.
    Regards,
    DaveMart

    #3759
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    Doesn’t sound like you’re posting to an opt-in list, Rezwhan, and that sets you up for spam filters making your message invisible.

    Building links to FF by commenting on appropriate blog posts is one of several methods to raise search engine visibility so the search engines act as billboards, sending us traffic. This has the added advantage of the visitors thinking they found it, as opposed to you chasing them like an old-fashioned (and unwelcome) used car salesperson.

    Other free to nearly free, highly effective methods include article marketing and press releases.

    #3797
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    I have been occasionally emailing various bloggers and others with some version of the following draft (without necessarily suggesting or appealing for any particular response or reply):

    There are a firm and associated non-profit society in NJ, called, respectively, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics and Focus Fusion Society. They are dedicated to advancing and putting into play a revolutionary and incredibly cost-efficient energy source.

    I have been following this for years, and now funding and progress have accelerated. I’ll walk you through my own understanding and projections of outcomes a bit first, and then you can get the data from their sites, directly.

    Scientific/technical:
    The process is a form of what’s called Dense Plasma Focus fusion. It involves inducing fusion of a combination of elements or isotopes to self-ignite by (usually) magnetic contraction. There are two main varieties: steady-state (as exemplified by the Bussard approach), and pulsed. This is the latter, and is vastly easier to sustain once established. Rather than fusing Deuterium with (highly radioactive) Tritium (both very expensive and requiring elaborate handling), it masters the much tougher but ‘aneutronic’ p-B (proton-boron) process, using ordinary neutral stable elements (hydrogen and boron).

    The device itself consists of a ring of 8 cathode pins surrounding a tubular anode, all in about the size of your palm with fingers pointed upwards. It sits in a chamber full of hot hydrogen ions and decaborane (B10H14), which supplies boron and additional hydrogen. A 45KV pulse is sent up the cathodes from a capacitor bank, and produces a rolling ‘donut’ of charged gas which is drawn into the anode tube.

    There, it coils into a twisted cord which is drawn down, kinking more and more until it knots into a sub-microscopic “plasmoid”, which implodes under the pressure of its own magnetic fields. A brief fusion event occurs, in which single protons (ionized hydrogen) fuse with B11 ions, producing C12 , which immediately fissions into 3 He4 ions. A powerful electron beam exits the plasmoid in one direction, and helium ions in an opposing beam in the other. The electrons are absorbed in the chamber gas, reheating it, and the helium ions pass out through a standard “solonoid” (wound copper wire tube), which experiences a huge pulse of induced current as it slows the ion beam. That current is fed back into the power control system, and fully recharges the capacitors.

    About 40% additional energy is produced as hard X-rays. (This very low and manageable % is achieved by a new (patented) quantum process for limiting the “X-ray cooling” which normally squelches plasma fusion events.) These escape the core chamber and encounter a new (patented) shell of thousands of layers of foil(s), drained by a wiring grid. I.e., the X-ray photons interact with the foils, gradually giving up all their energy as current. This current is drained off as the “profit” from the generator.

    The whole affair is “pulsed”, with higher output from faster pulsing. The most manageable “sweet spot” seems to be around 330cps (Hertz), which produces a steady 5MW power supply. [With adequate fast electrode cooling technology, up to 25MW seems quite possible.] One of these generators can run a year on about a kilo or so of boron — a trivial amount. Fuel costs are negligible.

    There is no radiation outside the housing, and it can be entered after about 9 hrs “cooling off” in complete safety. There are no waste products, other than a small amount of garden-variety helium. Some excess heat is produced, which can either be readily vented or used for local purposes (building heating, industrial processes, etc.)

    It is critical to note here that this is NOT a “thermal cycle” heat engine like ALL other nuclear/fusion/fission processes. That is, it does not depend on generating heat to boil water (or other volatile fluid) to spin a turbine to generate electricity (at about 30% efficiency, typically). Net energy efficiency/recovery in FF is estimated at 50+%, which accounts for much of its startling cost advantages.
    _____
    Now, the economics.
    A complete prefab generator and maintenance housing, about the size of a home garage, is expected to cost around $250,000 in mass production. This is about 1/20 the cost of best current plant construction costs for generating installations. They can be trucked and set up virtually anywhere, the only constraint being that there must be provision for real-time monitoring and control, and access a half-dozen days or so a year for refueling and component replacement/maintenance by engineers/technicians. Generators can either plug directly into existing grids, or be used as local power sources — e.g., by factories or buildings. Or ships. Or spacecraft.

    Power pricing (with all amortization, fuel, maintenance etc. rolled in) for its output is estimated at ¼¢/KWH at source. That’s $0.0025. Again, about 1/20 of best current numbers.

    It is estimated that 10X current planetary power requirements could be sustained using local (on-planet) boron resources until approximately when the sun goes red giant in a gigayear or few.

    This is “disruptive technology” with bells on.

    Imagine yourself as a government or investor with $XXX,000,000 to put down on new power generation capacity OR operation/upgrade of existing plant. Which are you going to put your money into: (1) Technology which has suddenly been rendered obsolete by a 20+:1 cost disadvantage? Or (2) Scrapping the old and replacing it with the new ultra-economical alternative? Hint: if you choose (1), those who choose (2) will eat your lunch. And breakfast and dinner, too.

    ______
    (cont)

    #3798
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    (cont)

    ______
    Extrapolations.
    It can plausibly be argued that the prices of all human goods and services reflect roughly the amount of energy put into bringing them from source to purchaser, whether that is gold or internet-delivered bits and bytes or aragula or beer or cars or … Fuel, heat, movement, and so on are major components of those energy inputs. Reducing those costs by 95-98% will have a dramatic impact on human wealth, across the board. It will suddenly be readily possible to provide resources and life basics to billions who cannot now afford them. And the wealthier world will experience an explosion of benefits and choices which were impossible just yesterday.

    Desalination, irrigating deserts (even southern California)? Trivial. Powering a nation/world of electric vehicles? Easy and essential. Huge expansion of space exploration, perhaps helped by building a Space Elevator or two? No problem. Elimination of pollution and contaminated soils and air? Cheap and straightforward.

    Energy independence? Every town and neighborhood can have it if they want, for a song. Everywhere.

    ______
    Political.
    Nations and regimes battening on the Devil’s Excrement will be cut off at the knees. They will continue to have some markets for their oil, from a declining transportation/power requirement to continuing feedstock/lubricant needs, but will be lucky to get $10-15/bbl for their best product after a few years. Coal providers will experience an even steeper and more permanent decline, unless some innovative new clean uses for coal (raw material for immensely expanded nanotech?) are invented. Or powdered and sprinkled on the advancing ice sheets to retard Global Cooling?

    And so on.

    The crisis-concocting AGW-panic exploiters will be homeless. Perhaps a special welfare fund will be established for them, including huge special residential complexes where frequent unannounced fire and Carbon Monoxide evacuations will be called to keep them excited and interested (not all drills; a certain minimum fatality rate to be ensured to sustain realism.)
    ______
    Timing:
    Investment and resources have been obtained (Nov. ’08) to immediately embark on a 2-yr scientific validation and proof-of-theory project, which would set up a 3-yr engineering and production-initiation phase. Probable time-to-market is thus 5-6 years, 2016 or before.

    Hold onto your hat (and hopes for a sane and prosperous future).

    Brian Hall

    P.S.
    Links:
    Company
    Society

    #3836
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    WOW!

    Eric, Jimmy, I’d like to see Brian’s synopis as a forum sticky and as a replacement for the blog.

    #3845
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    Alex Pollard wrote: In my pitch I like to emphasise that the expenditure on focus fusion research will be quite small, and it will not take long to determine whether it is viable or not.

    That is, I don’t assume that focus fusion will definitely work because I don’t want to come across as a zealot who has seen the light and has some “miracle” solution. People have no way of knowing how credible the concept is, and they won’t instantly take our word for it. Focus Fusion may well end up being a miracle solution, but we don’t know that yet.

    And as a way explaining why it gets so little attention, I lead into this by talking about how misguided institutional science can be.

    I directed Jerry Pournelle to the site. Here is an excerpt from his Dec. 29 Current Mail column:

    A little energy ‘rithmatic

    In your Dec 18 view you note, “One hundred 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plants should cost about $150 billion (the first two might cost $25 billion each, but the hundredth will be less than a billion).”

    Taking the low end of your scale, the capital cost per Watt is $1. I remind (and update) you about my own fave candidate, Focus Fusion. It has just received paltry ($1.2 million) but adequate funding to push hard for the next 2 yrs. or so to prove break-even plus with proton-Boron11 aneutronic fusion.

    At ~$250,000 per 5MW generator, that’s $0.05/Watt. Or 1/20 your best case nuclear (fission) plants. And zero waste disposal costs.

    I hope and anticipate that mass-produced FF generators will be being produced in their thousands under generous licensing terms all over the planet before any of those dinosaur Fission behemoth projects will have broken sod. Which will put an end to them tout suite.

    Brian Hall

    I had some correspondence with Mr. Hall, but it’s not really relevant. Obviously I would love to have electricity at a much lower investment rate; and I know there is a lot of theory about Focus Fusion. To the best of my knowledge they haven’t actually generated any electricity with the system, and the numbers look too good to be true. Of course many things that look too good to be true turn out to be true — alas a lot more don’t.

    I have no special knowledge about Focus Fusion. They seem to have raised some money so their demonstrations must be effective, but I don’t know anything that isn’t easily available to everyone else. I can hope that their theory works out and all will be well.

    On the other hand, I don’t intend to stop pushing for more conventional sources of energy, particularly nuclear fission, which we know how to build. I have seen great promises of new developments used to stop investment in what we can do — cake tomorrow but never today — many times before, and the promised new systems don’t live up to the promises. I can sure hope that this system will do it, and that it has been neglected by most energy research establishments by mistake or misunderstanding or misplaced skepticism. I really wish mankind had access to some new and cheap energy sources, and I encourage those who have the training and abilities and access to go find out about Focus Fusion; but I don’t agree that we should neglect what we know how to do in the hopes that new science will bring new techniques soon enough to make further investment in power generation a waste of resources.

    The following is from the June 2008 issue of Discover:

    A focus fusion reactor could be built for just $300,000, says Lerner, president of Lawrenceville Plasma Physics in New Jersey. But huge technical hurdles remain. These include increasing the density of the plasma so the fusion reaction will be more intense. (Conventional fusion experiments do not come close to the temperatures and densities needed for efficient hydrogen-boron fusion.) Still, the payoff could be huge: While mainstream fusion research programs are still decades from fruition, Lerner claims he requires just $750,000 in funding and two years of work to prove his process generates more energy than it consumes. “The next experiment is aimed at achieving higher density, higher magnetic field, and higher efficiency,” he says. “We believe it will succeed.”

    I wish him very well, but my experience has been that even if it works as advertised it will be a decade or more before there is any practical application, and two decades before this system puts power into the grid. I sure hope I am wrong on that, but I don’t think it would be prudent to abandon more conventional power generation means in hopes that this will make such investment needless. It hasn’t yet broken even in energy input/output, which is the first demonstration that will be needed. Once it does that, we can get very excited; but it will still be a while after break even before it adds energy to the grid.

    The US is in the Coming Energy Crisis I predicted back in my columns in the 1970’s. It will take us time to get out of it. New technology will help, but I doubt we’ll get out of this on the cheap. That would take a miracle.

    #3848
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    Thanx for the background, Brian. The tone and case-building is going to help me a lot. Two things I do consciously avoid are sounding like a zealot and/or utopian.

    Yes, some will believe, but most won’t. My target audience is people who control vast influence and need this technology bad. I did some YouTube experiments last year. One was titled “This Sale Took Five Words”. See the logic? I don’t have to waste anybody’s time writing overly persuasive copy. I’m making my case to people who bought into the concept of a five word close. And 70% of the decision to buy, or at least read more, is made in the headline.

    How do you target magnetic field, confinement density and energy efficiency? Mainly by experimenting with anode and cathode lengths and radii. I’m sure you know the difference between split-testing and multi-variant testing. Even 4 variable MVT takes a lot longer to fully optimize a sales letter, and even then you’ll be using it as the control to test new headlines, calls to action, etc.

    The FF reactor is already being used as an X-ray generator, and seems to be an effective source of lower level heat. Therefore we do not need perfection, which is a purely mathematical concept, in order to benefit real people with real problems.

    #3852
    AvatarBrian H
    Member

    Aeronaut wrote:

    The FF reactor and seems to be an effective source of lower level heat. Therefore we do not need perfection, which is a purely mathematical concept, in order to benefit real people with real problems.

    I know of the X-Scan plans, but where do you see info that it “is already being used as an X-ray generator”?

    #3854
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    Brian H wrote:

    The FF reactor and seems to be an effective source of lower level heat. Therefore we do not need perfection, which is a purely mathematical concept, in order to benefit real people with real problems.

    I know of the X-Scan plans, but where do you see info that it “is already being used as an X-ray generator”?
    There’s a homepage link to a news story about a Japanese group that’s interested in X-ray generators achieving high energy transfer efficiencies.

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