New Clean Energy System

The practical demonstration of the laser powered capacitive kilotesla single turn coil device to produce a magnetic field that could contain and influence a plasma driven by a second very powerful laser that would initiate a fusion burn in a cylinder of B-11+H fuel (with some unknown matrix?) is the basis for a new energy system proposed by H.Hora, G Miley, et.al.. This reaction produces fewer neutrons than DT fusion, and while requiring more energy to initiate, there is a resonance process that drives an avalanche reaction series so the multiplication potential for energy gain is great. By combining intense magnetic fields with an exawatt laser to heat the fuel, both containment and high energy density initiate a detonation wave that burns the fuel in about a nanosecond. Their devise would also extract electrical energy efficiently as the charged alpha particles are both chemically neutral and drive an electrical current when embedded in a charged field.

B-11 fusion ignites at a lower temperature than in other machines since here the magnetic field is established before the second laser hits and the combined laser driven compression, electromagnetic field from laser, existing kilotesla field combine to initiate the fusion burn that propagates along the z-axis of the fuel cylinder. The magnetic field tends to confine the alpha particles in the Z-direction further enhancing the effect. The conceptual design is presented here : http://arxiv.org/abs/1603.02579 by Hora, et.al.

Recent experimental work confirmed that an avalanche process theory predicts in this reaction can increase the fusion rate of the Boron-11 + p ==> 3 alpha + 8.97mev process.[1] When Boron-11 and a proton fuse to make three alpha particles (which take electrons to become Helium), the newly created alpha particles may collide elastically with protons in the plasma giving them around 600kev. When that energized proton hits a B-11 atom, the energy is near the peak fusion cross section for this reaction! Experimental observation of the enhanced reaction rate should stimulate further work to study the reaction pathway dynamics in more detail.

The practical result of this process makes the fusion burn starting energy almost as low as DT fusion (17kev ) but since B-11( 65kev) fusion doesn't produce neutrons, there is a dramatic decrease in the radioactivity of the byproducts and in the operating environment. The fuel is not radioactive and is plentiful.

This type of plant would have dramatically less proliferation risk since it doesn't use or require Tritium or any special nuclear material. A Boron fusion plant would also be inherently safer than other proposed designs since the site would not contain the inventory of highly radioactive waste that is now typical of a nuclear plant.

The main ingredient of the fuel, Boron-11 is the most common stable isotope of Boron and is routinely produced as a by-product of the separation of B-10 for commercial use.

At the present time, this is more of a patent claim than a practical device and it will require lasers more powerful than currently available but within technical feasibility. It remains to be seen if the magnetic fields produced by the laser-capacitor device will be suitable for this use and what other clever configurations are possible using these techniques.

I've been interested in the laser powered single turn magnet since I read about them in JETP or one of the Soviet technical journals back in the late 1980's. I saw the potential for such use, but didn't know of the Boron-11+P reaction pathway, and we didn't have lasers nearly powerful enough to do the job then. I remember talking with Cheryl and Klalus Berkner after work one day, mentioning my excitement at the invention and his skeptical, dismissive response.

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[1] ]
Picciotto A.,
D. Margarone, A. Velyhan, P. Bellini, J. Krasa, A. Szydlowski, G. Bertuccio, Y. Shi,
A. Margarone, J. Prokupek,
A. Malinowska, E. Krouski, J. Ullschmied, L. Laska, M. Kucharik, and
G. Korn. (2014)

Boron Proton Nuclear
Fusion Enhancement Induced in Boron
Doped Silicon Targets
by Low Contrast Pulsed Laser

Phys. Rev. X 4, 031030