- First demonstrated experimental setup with full continuous operation
- Superconducting REBCO coils capable of 0.5T ea.
- Operating pressure 1.0x10^-8 to 1 Torr
- Pumped liquid nitrogen cryogenic cooling
- Simple heating and measurement system
- 3A current injection
- First plasma 2017
1950: Energy from fusion is only 20 years away.
1970: Fusion technology is only 20 years away.
1990: Break-even fusion is only 20 years away.
2010: Fusion power is very close, only 20 years away.
2020: Fusion was optimized and break-even was achieved.
The time is now. For nearly three quarters of a century nuclear fusion has been just outside of the grasp of humanity for use as a power source. Every day we walk outside and see our sun, bright and warm but yet we have no viable method to replicate the process on Earth to produce energy.
Unlike nuclear fission, nuclear fusion is the safe combination of atoms. It has the potential to produce energy without proliferation of weapons or fear of meltdown. Fusion might possibly be the ultimate safe and clean energy source.
Fusion itself is fairly easy, even young people at the high school level have built simple fusion reactors called fusors for science projects. Why then do we not have all our electricity produced from fusion? The problem is optimization. Although fusion is easy, it is not easy to get energy from it. In fact no one has ever come close to break-even, the point which you produce more energy than you use.
Horne Technologies is here to change that.
Fortunately and unfortunately it has been easy to burn fossil fuels on Earth for energy, this is not feasible in space. Without such an abundant energy source, expanding into the solar system will be very difficult. The space race of the 1960s created many of the technologies we use every day. Using this same methodology offers a great path to fusion:
Design it for use in space and it can also be used on Earth!
The design considerations for space are much more difficult:
1) It must make more energy than it uses
2) It must not weigh a lot
3) Radiation is not desirable right next to your spaceship
4) It must be simple in operation and easy to construct
For 10 years Horne Technologies has been working on fusion technology to meet these criteria and devise optimized solutions for a viable fusion reactor for use in space and on Earth. Starting with the criteria that the device must not produce significant amounts of radiation, this leads to a limited type of fuel to be burned in the device. This fuel is called an aneutronic fuel or advanced fuel. By attempting the most difficult and most rewarding reaction, even if this is not obtainable, the exact same technology can be used for easier reactions.
I) Inertial Electrostatic Fusion (IEC)
One of the only methods to utilize advanced fuels in a fusion reactor is the method called inertial electrostatic confinement (IEC), a device which operates in a vacuum chamber. This is a very simple method of creating fusion, which was invented by the TV inventor Philo Farnsworth, to accelerate the fusion materials to the center by electrostatic attraction. If the materials you want to fuse are attracted to the center they accelerate to high energy and then collide in the center to produce fusion. This is the previously mentioned method that is simple enough for high school level students to attempt for advanced science projects.
*By WikiHelper2134 at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47214103
IEC 1) A center grid is negatively charged
IEC 3) Fusion fuel is attracted to the grid
IEC 3) Fuel passes through the grid
IEC 4) Fuel collides in the center and fuses
Unfortunately, the IEC method requires a grid to attract the ions and too much of the fuel runs into the grid and therefore it is not efficient enough to produce power. This is our first problem to solve, the solution...
II) Superconducting, Magnetically - Shielded Grid
By using superconducting magnets as the IEC grid you reduce the collisions of the accelerated fuel into the grid. This is accomplished due to the fact that the super strong magnetic field causes the charged ion fuel to be diverted around it as it is being attracted to the grid.
Another issue with the IEC is when ions miss each other they are shot back out of the center at full speed, and then they must slow down, stop, turn around, and start the shot to the center again. If some of this energy could be conserved and put back into the center this would improve the efficiency even further. This is called recirculation, which is another bonus made possible by using a magnetically-shielded grid. Energy is conserved and the system is even more optimized.
The second and larger issue is that many of the fuel ions that are accelerated into the IEC center actually miss each other and do not collide to fuse. If they miss, they have to make the loop again for
another try. If the super-hot, fast ions could be held in the same place for longer, they would have a higher chance of fusing. This is the third technology incorporated into the system.
If the ions miss the other atoms they do not fuse; the longer they can be kept in the same area the more likely they will not miss.
III) High - Beta Fusion Core
An additional important advantage of the magnetically-shielded grid is it allows for a magnet configuration that sets up a high-beta fusion core. This is a condition where the plasma pushes back against the field, causing a plugging effect to the leaks and creating an empty field region where the plasma is momentarily contained. This momentary containment increases the chance fusion will occur.
The grid creates a region where there is no magnetic field; plasma then pushes back on the field and creates a high-beta condition where it is momentarily contained.
This plasma containment region also offers another optimization benefit to the system: if the plasma is biased with electrons, it will build up what is called a potential well. The center region will act like a virtual grid, causing even less ions to run into the magnetically-shielded grid, improving the efficiency further.
So now we have...
Inertial-electrostatic device, with magnetic grid shielding, recirculation, and high-beta fusion core.
In addition, a proprietary method of mitigating ion-ion thermalization loss.
The time for fusion is now, and we are developing the technology to go for it. The design is complete, the technology has been demonstrated, and a prototype has been built.
Horne Technologies has already achieved:
- World's first superconducting, high-beta plasma research device in operation
- 10 years research and development of fusion technologies
- First use of advanced REBCO superconducting wire in plasma containment device
- Extensive network of leading plasma physicists, engineers, and scientists
- Design of a record-breaking capable hybrid reactor
The path forward is simple:
- Scale up technology
- Attempt to demonstrate the world's most efficient device
- Calculate scale for break-even
- Build a full scale, power producing device
Stage II) Develop and attempt to demonstrate the world's most efficient reactor - In progress
Horne Technologies' new large 4ft x 6ft vacuum chamber will house the second generation core device. The second generation will attempt to demonstrate the most efficient reactor design ever produced.
The second generation device is a huge leap in technology:
- Improved coil structure
- Liquid helium cooling
- Advanced plasma diagnostics
- Mitigation of the ion-ion thermalization loss mechanism
- Validation of all required technologies
- Final proof of concept
Stage III) Achieve break-even, develop full scale power device - In progress
The final stage to power production
- Scale up proven technology
- Utilize existing info structure for power-level operation
- Develop thermal capture equipment
- Build a full scale, power producing device