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feelingbutter t1_ixylcux wrote

Let me guess, at least another 20 years from commercialization?


ukezi t1_ixz2xy9 wrote

Yes, it's laser powered inertial confinement, they are a long long way from a conventionally defined Q>1.


squanchingonreddit t1_ixzysxa wrote

I love that that sounds like Star Trek babble.


ukezi t1_iy0011s wrote

Ok, little explanation.

In fusion research Q defines the power factor, how much energy the fusion reaction produces Vs how much you put in. At Q=1 you have break even but to be useful for power generation you have to get to more like Q=10. ITER is supposed to reach that.

Because lasers are just that inefficient people working with them like to redefine Q to not the input of the lasers but to the input of the fuel pallet. There is so least a factor 4 more likely at least 10 between that.


habeus_coitus t1_iy0hr2v wrote

It actually isn’t technobabble. As the other poster said, Q is a factor that represents the ratio of power produced to power consumed. Q=1 represents perfect break even, not needing extra external power but also producing no net power.

The trick with a lot of fusion literature is that how Q is defined is kinda relative. It tends to get defined in terms of the ratio of power released from the fuel to power needed to ignite the fuel. This is undoubtedly a critical milestone to achieve, but it also ignores all the extra power to run all the extraneous systems e.g. cooling and electromagnetics. When that is all properly factored in, Q as typically defined has to be closer to 20 or so in order to generate net power.

Imo fusion research is worth investing in, it will be the ideal energy source until we can get to the point of constructing a Dyson swarm around our sun. But I’ve had to concede that there’s way more progress that’s still needed, we probably will not have commercial fusion plants within our lifetimes.


brounstoun t1_ixyxbfa wrote

Haha, was just thinking this exact sentiment


doymand t1_iy1tzt7 wrote

It’s hard to imagine inertial confinement ever being economical. The National Ignition Facility’s primary focus is nuclear weapons and basic research.


classless_classic t1_ixz403b wrote

I mean, it’s been a theory for around 100 years now, with 70 years of research; what’s another 20 years?

It’s not like we have an energy crisis looming or anything…


Graega t1_iy1hs2t wrote

The issue isn't the time taken, it's why: lack of funding. We need to stop subsidizing and then not taxing oil, and start putting oil taxes toward nuclear research. And solar, wind, etc.


Human_Anybody7743 t1_iy2sb4q wrote

Solar and wind finally managed to get a few of the coins that fell behind the couch cushion in about 2008. They took it and ran. Now it's starting to look questionable as to whether just running a steam turbine is going to stay competitive even if the heat source were free.

What we need subsidies for now is electrolysers and batteries made of abundant materials as well as manufacturing in more than a couple of countries.

If you have a billion or three left over after the current run at fusion fails it'll probably be enough to get tidal off the ground too.


Captain_N1 t1_iy6ydsa wrote

the shit heads pushing so called green energy never talk about fusion power. They really dont want it because it would make power generation so abundant and cheap and allow more freedom. thats the last thing those in control want. If they wanted energy to be almost free fusion power would be the top tech being researched. Only fusion power turns us into a space race.


liberty4u2 t1_ixyxhwq wrote

And what about dilithium crystals?


zomgkittenz t1_iy09a59 wrote

Seriously. Magnetic coil constrictors are 30 year old tech from star trek.


PleasantAdvertising t1_iy36c6z wrote

What exactly do you think a "standard" fusion reactor is? It's basically a fancy crushing machine for particles using magnetic fields...


Captain_N1 t1_iy6xw2f wrote

Star treks fusion reactors don't use dilithium crystals. The crystals are used to regulate the energy flow of the matter- anti matter reaction of the warp core.


TommyTuttle t1_iy089cw wrote

Here we go, game on. One little improvement after another, before long you’ve got something real. This one improvement will quickly lead to more research and more improvements, and practical fusion will be a thing before we know it. I didn’t think I’d live to see it but it sure looks likely at this point.


moses420bush t1_iy2y1z3 wrote

There's constant press about this because it makes political sense, we're still decades away from this being a reality, the scientists themselves are incentivised to make it sound closer than it is so that they can continue to secure funding.

The truth is that no experimnent has ever got near to outputting the same levels of energy that was put in.


PleasantAdvertising t1_ixz5gd6 wrote

So basically combining inertial fusion with standard magnetic fusion?


No_Formal_8697 t1_ixzii9d wrote

Add a supercooling quantum conductor and you have the start of a neat energy solution


Circlemadeeverything t1_iy0ygb6 wrote

I’ve been telling my high school students for a decade that they should study magnetism. Magnetism is perpendicular to electricity and vice versa. And we understand electricity far more than we understand magnetism. And there are some cool tricks you can do with magnets. But the field magnetism is something we should be sending our top scientists to investigate…. The future is magnetism.


BleachOrchid t1_ixz72xa wrote

Reinventing the turbine, interesting stuff.