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SvenTropics t1_j30g5w2 wrote

Helion has a plan to create helium-3 and then use it as a fuel source.

Basically it works like this:

  1. they use a process to extract deuterium from the ocean. (Vapor and electrolysis, this is easy enough)

  2. they use a dual plasma mechanism to slam two hyper heated balls of deuterium into each other. This fuses and creates helium-3 releasing a neutron which can be captured with a beryllium blanket making this process mostly energy neutral. (Some production) alternatively, this can just be moderated in water so as to not have any nuclear waste.

Note: Some tritium is also created, but this can be easily captured by mixing it with oxygen and letting this water vapor decay with a half life of 12 years into helium-3.

  1. they then use a separate reactor to slam two mixtures of helium-3 and deuterium into each other creating helium-4 and spitting out a proton. The proton pushes back on the magnetic field creating power directly without the need of a blanket or steam pumps. The loose proton finds an electron and is just hydrogen.

fangedrandy OP t1_j30gxo7 wrote

essentially clean energy then right? Doesn't seem like it's too far fetched.


SvenTropics t1_j30n3qu wrote

Mostly. They've already proven it too. Right now they are building their next generation reactor that will actually produce power. The last version demonstrated the release of energy correctly.

The one step that will have some consequences is creating the helium-3. The problem with smashing two deuterium atoms together is that neutrons can't be constrained by a magnetic field. That reactor will likely need more maintenance as a result. We could try to capture the neutron with some sort of modulator. The problem with beryllium is that it's extremely rare and typically has uranium inside it in low quantities. This uranium accumulating neutrons will create radioactive waste.

The second process can be completely contained with a magnetic field.