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2022-07-05, 02:19:12
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Author Topic: Several approaches to Fusion energy receiving funding and press coverage  (Read 268 times)
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From the article,  https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/nuclear/this-tiny-fusion-reactor-is-made-out-of-commercially-available-parts


QUOTE "The magnetron used by the startup is a variation of a device ​“found in everyday microwave ovens” that enables the ​“densities and cross sections necessary for fusion,” according to Avalanche investor Joshua Posamentier, a managing partner at Congruent Ventures.

Riordan told Canary, ​“This configuration didn’t have giant lasers and giant magnets, and its physics didn’t want to be in a form factor larger than a fire extinguisher. [It’s] the right form factor for scalability, rapid build, test, fix and iteration on tight development cycles. We wanted to do a small reactor because we thought that was the path to scale.”

The goal is to ​“actually build one of these things,” Langtry says. The first step is funding a small team to build a tiny fusion reactor at a really fast pace. Avalanche anticipates that the proposed modular fusion cell, which will have a diameter of approximately 5 inches, will produce 5 to 15 kilowatts of power.

The company emphasizes that its magnetron is a variation of an everyday device and that the electrostatic base technology is a derivative of a product available from ThermoFisher Scientific, which is widely deployed for use in commercial mass spectrometry. ​“We’re taking two devices that exist already, things you can buy commercially for various applications,” Langtry said. ​“We’re just putting them together in a new interesting way at much higher voltages” to build a ​“recirculating beam fusion” prototype.

Big bucks for fusion
Avalanche has received a relatively modest $5 million in venture funding in a round led by Azolla Ventures along with Congruent Ventures and Chris Sacca’s Lowercarbon Capital — a mere drop in the cash tsunami that’s flowing into nuclear fusion technology these days. The startup is competing with some much bigger, deep-pocketed players building cathedral-scale fusion prototypes.

Commonwealth Fusion Systems’ variation of magnetic confinement fusion technology won an epic $1.8 billion round late last year led by Tiger Global Management along with a crowd of investors including John Doerr and Bill Gates. Last year, Commonwealth built and demonstrated high-temperature superconducting magnets that it claims are the strongest of their kind and represent a key technological milestone in commercializing fusion energy.

TAE Technologies has raised more than $880 million from investors including Vulcan, Venrock and Google. TAE’s fusion design shoots beams of plasma into a vessel where they are held in place by a magnetic field. The design shares some properties with particle accelerators.

Helion Energy closed a $500 million Series E fundraising round late last year for its magneto-inertial fusion that combines magnetic fusion and the heating of pulsed inertial fusion. Sam Altman, former president of Y Combinator, led the funding round. Helion’s intent is to convert fusion energy directly into electricity and skip the heat-harvesting step.

Canada’s General Fusion, a developer of magnetized target fusion (a process that also combines magnetic confinement with the compression and heating of inertial confinement), claims that it is developing ​“the fastest, most practical and lowest-cost path to commercial fusion energy.” The company has raised $322 million from investors including Bezos Expeditions.

Zap Energy​’s reactor design compresses plasma with a blast of electric current that creates a magnetic field instead of using expensive magnets to do it. Zap raised $27.5 million in Series B funding in 2021 for its fusion energy technology in a round led by Addition. The company envisions a camper-size fusion reactor providing 200 megawatts of thermal energy.

Riordan contends that Avalanche’s small scale gives it an advantage over these much larger players. In his view, seeking $5 million to fund a team of 15 to prove out some fundamental physics is a lot better than asking, ​“Can you give me $1.5 billion to build a tokamak?”

Aggressive claims from fusion CEOs
Fusion startup CEOs have provided a litany of aggressive claims about how quickly their companies are going to bring commercial fusion to market, with timeframes ranging from a few years to within the decade. Avalanche’s CEO also promises a compressed go-to-market schedule: ​“We’re not 10 years away. We’re a lot closer than that.”

Avalanche’s design approach could open up new applications for fusion that are not about connecting to the electrical grid. According to Riordan, ​“We’re not trying to do grid-scale energy. There’s a whole realm of industries that need to be decarbonized: long-distance trucking, aviation, maritime — huge carbon sources. Right now, we don’t have great options. We’ve got hydrogen, but the process for making it isn’t necessarily green. We’ve got synthetic fuels. [Avalanche is] going after applications that are hard to decarbonize.”

“We have a unique opportunity to make a run at a tiny fusion reactor. Every day, I walk into the office thankful that we have that opportunity, along with this hair-on-fire sense of urgency that this [funding wave] may not last forever.”
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Better late than never, but at this point in mankind's decline, they better hurry...
   
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Avalanche Energy's solution is obviously attractive because compared to the others it would be decentralised.

What is technically known about their system can be summarised as follows:

"Avalanche Energy's prototype employs electrostatic fields to trap fusion ions, while also employing a magnetron electron confinement technique to reach higher ion densities. The resulting fusion reaction produces neutrons that can be transformed into heat."

I couldn't find anything else, their site is empty. Since they don't claim cold fusion, I don't see how they could reach the temperatures needed to overcome the coulombic barrier.
If anyone has an idea...


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Better late than never, but at this point in mankind's decline, they better hurry...

Indeed.  There does seem to be a sense of urgency for novel energy sources, verging on desperation as the collective West seems to be turning against and away from fossil fuels.

F6, details are few...

Just at the details of what the collective West is going to do to replace fossil fuels (if anything, in a big way) are lacking.

Is there any viable solution on the horizon, as Europe cuts off fossil fuels from Russia (to a large extent) and the US cuts off a major pipeline and fossil-fuel leases?
   
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Since one point of turning away from fossil fuels would appear to be deliberately creating a massive recession I would think any chance of commercially developing nice cheap alternative energy is smaller than ever it was
   

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Since one point of turning away from fossil fuels would appear to be deliberately creating a massive recession I would think any chance of commercially developing nice cheap alternative energy is smaller than ever it was

There are several studies online that predict we will run of fossil fuels this century, beginning as early as 2050 for petroleum.
Add in the changing climate, water scarcity, increasing population and the need for alternative energy sources will only increase.

Regardless of the energy source, it will take several years to implement.

It appears that Mankind's future will be decided this century...
   
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@Grumpy

These ideas are those of the environmentalist message, always apocalyptic, and making man feel guilty. We must be wary of them.

If there was no more oil, there would still be some, because we would go and look for it deeper, or elsewhere, or we would use alternatives like shale gas. We will always have enough fossil resources until nuclear fusion takes over.

The environmentalist message is intended to scare people into the future. It is a politico-religious method to get people to accept the green dictatorship, as Catholicism did with brandishing hell and blaming man for all the problems on earth. Today, it is the same thing with the god "Nature". The ecological message advocates degrowth, and therefore asks us to save energy for future generations when we need it now.

Listening to them today is as stupid as it would have been, in the 19th century, to listen to people who would ask to save coal for the 20th century, when we know that in the 20th century, it is precisely oil and nuclear power that have largely replaced it. It would have been suicidal in the 19th century not to use coal, as it would be suicidal today to save oil. On the contrary, we must use the resources at our disposal intensively to prepare the future, and trust future generations to continue progress.


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Thanks Steve,  they are active on LinkedIn for those that are using the platform
   
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