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  • #723
    AvatarBrian H
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    Aeronaut wrote: [Hi Folks, we split this off from this post. It feels like a new topic. – Admin]

    Another credibility issue springs from publicly aiming at over-unity. Same problem fission must have had until Nautilus sailed in 1957. Even if we had thermal unity today, with enough ion conversion to recharge the caps and run the pumps, we’d look like a long road to commercial amounts of electrical power. I spent a few hours this week trying to lay out even one slice of the “onion” like a glorified solar cell using CVD machinery to deposit the foils and insulator/cooling system. And the patent reads ~150 to 180 of these slices.

    BUT- optimize for 125J/btu (sub-unity), and you might be able to get an industrial oven or furnace maker to buy a license, since it will be a proven way for the end users to cut their gas bills in half. Even if the first license sells for $10M (early mover’s special deal), that funds the rest of Phase I and all of Phase II and the rest is the history of the investment that got away.

    I’m not sure which of us is confused, but “unity” means you’re not putting in more energy than you’re getting out. Why would you run anything at sub-unity, unless the nature of the output was so special that you were willing to pay the price? The generation of an alpha beam and X-rays doesn’t qualify, IMO.

    And what’s with this “thermal unity”? I don’t see that as relevant in the case of a generator that is turning out electricity directly. It applies only to heat engines.

    I know you are in love with trying to find some use for the excess heat in the FF reactor, but it’s a losing proposition to add on conversion equipment of any kind to exploit it, unless you have something like http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/32446 .

    #5793
    AvatarAeronaut
    Member

    Brian H wrote:

    [Hi Folks, we split this off from this post. It feels like a new topic. – Admin]

    Another credibility issue springs from publicly aiming at over-unity. Same problem fission must have had until Nautilus sailed in 1957. Even if we had thermal unity today, with enough ion conversion to recharge the caps and run the pumps, we’d look like a long road to commercial amounts of electrical power. I spent a few hours this week trying to lay out even one slice of the “onion” like a glorified solar cell using CVD machinery to deposit the foils and insulator/cooling system. And the patent reads ~150 to 180 of these slices.

    BUT- optimize for 125J/btu (sub-unity), and you might be able to get an industrial oven or furnace maker to buy a license, since it will be a proven way for the end users to cut their gas bills in half. Even if the first license sells for $10M (early mover’s special deal), that funds the rest of Phase I and all of Phase II and the rest is the history of the investment that got away.

    I’m not sure which of us is confused, but “unity” means you’re not putting in more energy than you’re getting out. Why would you run anything at sub-unity, unless the nature of the output was so special that you were willing to pay the price? The generation of an alpha beam and X-rays doesn’t qualify, IMO.

    And what’s with this “thermal unity”? I don’t see that as relevant in the case of a generator that is turning out electricity directly. It applies only to heat engines.

    I know you are in love with trying to find some use for the excess heat in the FF reactor, but it’s a losing proposition to add on conversion equipment of any kind to exploit it, unless you have something like http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/32446 .

    First off, I wish we could get the kind of coverage for “emerging science suggests” (think Lycopene ads or Popular Science magazine articles) that your link points to.

    You’re absolutely right about the Joules in to Joules out definition of unity. The confusion I’ve been having with defining ‘unity’ milestones will surely be exploited by snake-oil sales types, especially before the onion is developed to any commercial degree, during which time system-level electrical unity gives us a salable furnace requiring only around 43kJ to start, in return for around 60M BTU/hr. We’ll get back to that number in a minute.

    The reason that you’re so fun to bait on the thermal vs electrical vs Joules unity issues is that I can’t remember you showing any evidence of having thought through how to market and sell an over-unity Mather-based DPF. Let alone how to engineer and build one production prototype or engineer one or more plants, training, or supply chains to produce a model in any quantity.

    If you had, you’d be familiar with the key issues imposed by decaborane fuel that Eric’s patent refers to in paragraph 144, which ends with “in the case of pentaborane, a gas at room temperature, control of the temperature of the electrodes are no longer critical and can be adjusted to optimize the efficiency of the cooling system”. I take that to mean that the fueling and cooling system engineering are greatly simplified by choosing pentaborane over decaborane for the preferred fuel. Engineering is not cheap. And cooling considerations are why Eric projects only 20MW top end. Thermal management will therefor be at the very center of any commercially viable DPF reactor.

    Further, paragraph 167 states “for optically thick plasmas a pulse rate of at least 1khz is required (to prevent boron plating on the electrodes and adding the parasitic load of re-ionizing the fuel gas). Maximum pulse rates are limited by the cooling system, as described below.” and in 168, “a pulse rate of about 1khz is about the maximum that can be used for a single electrode.” (The rest of the paragraph detailed cooling a specific anode geometry at a specific current). This is not a cheap cooling system, even ignoring the onion’s cooling requirements. Thankfully the inductive converter is pretty much meat on the table.

    Paragraphs 158-164 deal with designing and building the X-ray converter. I tried this again recently using the type of dual gas sputtering CVD equipment used in making IC chips, and it is going to be a formidable challenge for an experienced chip fab engineering team. And all I assumed was that I was going to keep it simple by using berrylium and quartz for each slice of the onion. Cooling channels and mostly, electrical bussing required to remove several MWe are where the landmines are buried.

    And it only dawned on me yesterday that the thermal shock of resulting from each pulse’s X-ray insolation may rule out quartz. That adds an ME and possibly a materials scientist to the engineering dream team just for a slice of the onion Guess what challenges the onion’s going to present at its system level. :-S

    So gimme unity at the Joules in/out level, and I’ll show you a thermal product LONG before an electrical product. The way I intend to do that is to move the >43kJ output from what the neutron detectors indicate was produced in the plasmoid (cylinder in the Lee model), downstream to where the ion converter is actually producing at least 43kJ. This is what I’ve been referring to as electrical unity. This produces free heat after the initial 43kJ.

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