Local Company Develops Acoustic Fusion
General Fusion, a small company located in Burnaby, Canada, seeks to power the world with its unique approach to generating Atomic Fusion. Harnessing the power of the atom, atomic fusion combines the nuclei of atoms in controlled reactions. In theory, Fusion Energy would be cost efficient, abundant, clean and most importantly, renewable. There have been many attempts to generate cheap, usable fusion, but none quite as elegant as the Acoustic Driven Magnetized Target Fusion Reactor proposed by General Fusion
Their design is crudely analogous to a piston. As you push down lightly on the large end of a piston, the other smaller end will push out with a much greater force. Their machine will be composed of hundreds of these pistons (which General Fusion calls a, ‘pneumatic ram’) all surrounding a metal sphere filled with a Lithium-Lead alloy. This liquid metal solution will be spun, opening a gap in the middle which will be used to inject deuterium-tritium fuel. When all of the rams are fired in unison, a shockwave forms which will travel through the liquid metal, getting stronger as it reaches the centre. When it hits the fuel,
General Fusion Inc.“it rapidly collapses the cavity with the plasma in it. At maximum compression the conditions for fusion are briefly met and a fusion burst occurs releasing its energy in fast neutrons.”
“it rapidly collapses the cavity with the plasma in it. At maximum compression the conditions for fusion are briefly met and a fusion burst occurs releasing its energy in fast neutrons.”
These neutrons are then absorbed by the Lithium-Lead solution resulting in more tritium fuel and also negate the harmful effects of neutron radiation. (Very much like the how a semiautomatic firearm uses the recoil from the previous shot to reload itself) As neutrons are absorbed, the liquid metal heats up and is pumped out where the heat can be extracted and turned into electricity via traditional steam turbines.
General Fusion says that once the research is complete, they will be able to build a full sized power plant for only $50 million compared to the billions required for other methods of fusion. At a rate of 1 pulse per second, the generator could produce 100 megawatts of power for only 4 cents per kW/h.
It seems fantastically easy to be able to hit a metal sphere and watch energy pop out.
With proof to backup their science, it may be that this is the face of things to come.
They aim to build a full scale, working reactor by 2013.
General Fusion (2009) General Fusion Inc Retrieved March 17, 2009 from
Next Big Future (2008, Dec 18) Update on General Fusion: Steam Punk Approach to
Nuclear Fusion Retrieved March 17, 2009 from http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/
Popular Science (2008, Dec 23) This Machine Might*Save the World Retrieved March 17,
2009 from http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-12/machine-might-
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Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada