New Jersey-based Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, also known as LPPFusion, may soon play a leading role in the transition to nuclear fusion through DPF, write the authors of OilPrice.
So far, expensive large-scale experimental equipment using high-power lasers and microwave generators, atomic particles, giant superconducting magnetic systems and other modern technologies is the norm for fusion projects. But all this is quite expensive and requires several years of testing and development. One of the largest of these thermonuclear projects is the giant International Torus Experimental Reactor (ITER), which is being built in southern France. It is now estimated to cost more than $ 40 billion.
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However, DPF technology opens the door to a modern and relatively cheap future for fusion – and to gain more support for nuclear energy as an intelligent energy source. And that comes years after current nuclear fission technology has lost global support because of the risks it poses.
Led by physicist Eric Lerner, who is considered one of the world’s leading experts in the use of plasma for fusion, the LPPFusion team achieved significant success in 2016, when the device reached a ionic temperature of 2.8 billion degrees – the highest temperature achieved in all experiments so far. This temperature is about 200 times higher than in the center of the sun and more than 15 times higher than the predicted maximum temperature that will eventually be reached by ITER in France.
LPPFusion has raised the bar and is approaching the creation of conditions good enough to achieve net energy production – which equates to gross electricity production, minus the consumption of ancillary services to power plants. So far, this has been done with the modest budget of $ 7 million that the laboratory has invested, with the support of several specialized associates. Lerner and the team say they have increased the performance of their DPF technology and are close to creating conditions sufficient to generate net energy – another compelling argument for gaining support for the technology.
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The scientists’ power generator uses hydrogen-boron instead of the deuterium-tritium used in the standard fuel. Hydrogen boron does not generate any radioactive waste and is considered to have an unlimited supply (of fuel). The fuel also offers the possibility of direct conversion of thermonuclear energy into electricity.
Fusion has impressive defenders around the world, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Norwegian oil and gas company Equinor. But in general, renewable energy sources, including wind, hydro and solar energy, are now the main competitor to nuclear energy.
The US Energy Information Administration said that in 2019, nuclear energy accounts for 20% of the total energy mix in the United States, followed by renewable energy sources by 17%. Natural gas led by 38%, followed by coal by 23%. It also turned out that as much as 55% of the low-carbon energy in the world’s first economy came from nuclear power, which is more than all renewable energy combined.
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The construction of power plants itself can be another competitive advantage of DPF technology over more expensive fusion generators. Its hydrogen boron power plants would offer small capacity, low investment cost, low fuel consumption and a high level of safety. According to forecasts, DPF technology can reduce the cost of electricity production by 10 times or more compared to existing conventional and alternative energy technologies.
DPF technology has existed in various forms since the 1960s. It has been used in several university and government laboratories around the world to study plasma properties. The technology is also used as a source of X-rays and neutrons.
Proponents hope that DPF technology will become a much-needed bridge for nuclear fusion so that nuclear energy reaches the level of support needed to pass government regulations and obtain the necessary funding to help make the technology in a leading alternative source of power plants.
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