Fusion Energy Breakthrough

December 19, 2022
December 19, 2022 Hal Jordan

Fusion Energy Breakthrough

On December 5, 2022, at 1:03 a.m., a team of scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory‘s (LLNL’s) National Ignition Facility (NIF) achieved “fusion ignition,” also known as “scientific energy breakeven” and maybe several other terms. The basic explanation of the event is that NIF “produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it.” Doctor Kim Budil, Director of LLNL, said “The pursuit of fusion ignition in the laboratory is one of the most significant scientific challenges ever tackled by humanity, and achieving it is a triumph of science, engineering, and most of all, people. Crossing this threshold is the vision that has driven 60 years of dedicated pursuit — a continual process of learning, building, expanding knowledge and capability, and then finding ways to overcome the new challenges that emerged.”

Javier Blas, energy and commodities columnist at Bloomberg, posted a series of 10 tweets on the topic. Here are some of the things he said. “There’s a caveat to the story. The same laboratory announced a slightly different breakthrough nearly a decade ago (by Nature), announcing it achieved a net energy output vs the energy **absorbed** by the fuel. The new breakthrough is superior. If confirmed, the breakthrough is quite important, putting the world into the realms of “fusion ignition”, and perhaps in the future into a sustained and controlled fusion reaction. Sustained is a key word there. The current experiment lasted a fraction of a second. There a few extra caveats. What net energy means? The lasers used by the Lawrence Livermore laboratory are extremely inefficient, so although the experiment produced net energy compared to what the laser delivered, the lasers consumed a LOT more before to charge. The experiment released 2.5 megajoules vs 2.1 MJ of laser energy.  But due to inefficiencies, the lasers consume ~330 MJ to charge, with the energy stored in 3,840 high-voltage capacitors for 60 seconds before being released in a 400-microsecond burst. (link to Power Conditioning System) Even by those caveats, the experiment is a massive scientific breakthrough — but don’t think you are about to enjoy free and clean energy tomorrow. Or next year. Or in 20 years or, perhaps, even 50 years. Commerciality is far, far away. If ever. Many obstacles remain. One example, the current lasers used in the experiment can fire, at best, only **once a day**. For commerciality, they will need to fire several times **per second**.”

Here is an entertaining and informative video that describes the achievement in simple terms.

Reference:

Fusion energy breakthrough and national security implications explained (YouTube)
Fusion Power (Wikipedia)
Javier Blas comment thread (Twitter)
National Ignition Facility achieves fusion ignition

IMPORTANT UFS COMMUNICATIONS

UFS Uniform Policy
UFS Suggestion Box!
What we look at for promotions

THIS WEEK IN STAR TREK HISTORY

17 December
1907Rolland M. Brooks is born.
1931Jerry Finnerman is born.
1948David Selburg is born.
1949Joel Brooks is born.
1976Dan Hageman is born.

18 December
1943Susan Sackett is born.
1944Beau Billingslea is born.
1972Jason Mantzoukas is born.
1997Joe Lombardi dies.
2008Majel Barrett dies.

19 December
1924Gayne Rescher is born.
2013Marty Hornstein dies.
2015Penny L. Juday dies

20 December
1935Bill Wistrom is born.
1951Pam Blackwell is born.
1970Nicole de Boer is born.
1981Melanie Scrofano is born.
1992Peter Brocco dies.
1995Madge Sinclair dies.

21 December
1934Rudy Solari is born.
1947Denny Martin Flinn is born.
1948Barry Gordon is born.
1952Joe Viskocil is born.
1965Andy Dick is born.
1966Michelle Hurd is born.

22 December
1934Rudy Solari is born.
1947Denny Martin Flinn is born.
1948Barry Gordon is born.
1952Joe Viskocil is born.
1965Andy Dick is born.
1966Michelle Hurd is born.

23 December
1911James Gregory is born.
1942Richard Yuricich is born.
1964Kenneth Biller is born.
1978Sunny Ozell is born.
1986Noël Wells is born.
2020James Gunn dies.

TODAY’S HUMOR

The United Federation Starfleet Blog is written by Captain Hal Jordan and is published every Friday. Join in the discussion! Engage with us on Discord at: discord.io/ufstarfleet

UFS LINKS
Facebook
Flickr
Forum
Instagram
Twitter
Website
Wiki

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.