Fusion reactor actually put out more energy than it consumed for the first time ever

Lakados

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
5,779
https://www.extremetech.com/extreme...ment-reaches-vital-power-generation-milestone

It's a pretty big deal actually, sets an important milestone for the technology.

Edit:
This part is from paywalled articles so trying to find non paywalled sources.

1.9 Mj was required to start the reaction
Once the reaction was started it only required 200 Kj to maintain, that 200kj reaction is what was producing the 1.3Mj of output.
 
Last edited:

Lakados

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2014
Messages
5,779
1.9 Mj in for 1.3Mj out? i dont get it but "go fusion!" as it will make more sense than any "green" energy.
Most of that 1.9 was the initial start up, to initiate fusion, but nice it was going output was significantly higher than input.

From other articles the continued reaction was consuming 200kj, that 200kj was producing the 1.3Mj output.
Sadly those articles are paywalls, trying to find non paywalled ones.
 
Last edited:

Krenum

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
18,795
Most of that 1.9 was the initial start up, to initiate fusion, but nice it was going output was significantly higher than input.
This is a misleading article. If it used 1.9 to make it work and only output 1.3, it wasn't successful in terms of production, unless it continued to produce and outpaced its initial start up usage...
 

[Spectre]

[H] Admin
Staff member
Joined
Aug 29, 2004
Messages
19,581
Yeah it will be commercially viable in another 50 I am sure.
42057335.jpg
 

Zarathustra[H]

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
34,248
1.9 Mj in for 1.3Mj out? i dont get it but "go fusion!" as it will make more sense than any "green" energy.

I think the claim here is that the 1.9MJ is a one time startup cost, and after that it produces a much greater amount of energy than it uses, so you would have a break even uptime.
 

Zarathustra[H]

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
34,248
Theoretically, if the reaction continued, it would quickly outpace the input...but they're not at that stage yet.

There's a reactor being built in Devens Mass that is planned to hit that goal in 2025.

I think these guys were just trying to make headlines to claim that they were "first", but to me the real first will be when a sustained reaction actually creates a real more output than input, not a "projected if it had kept running" figure.
 

Randall Stephens

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Mar 3, 2017
Messages
1,277
Exciting indeed.

I think we should also focus on energy storage technology, imagine having the technology to store power from lightning!
I can think of a couple people I’d like to put at the top of a mast and hook up to a high voltage battery…
 

michalrz

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
3,668
1.9 Mj in for 1.3Mj out? i dont get it but "go fusion!" as it will make more sense than any "green" energy.
It's a Q total vs Q plasma thing.

The Q-plasma also doesn’t take into account that if you want to operate a power plant, the heat that is created by the plasma would still have to be converted into electric energy, and that can only be done with a limited efficiency, optimistically maybe fifty percent. As a consequence, the Q total is much lower than the Q plasma.
Here's a better explanation: http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2021/10/how-close-is-nuclear-fusion-power.html
 

DeeFrag

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
7,421
Most of that 1.9 was the initial start up, to initiate fusion, but nice it was going output was significantly higher than input.

From other articles the continued reaction was consuming 200kj, that 200kj was producing the 1.3Mj output.
Sadly those articles are paywalls, trying to find non paywalled ones.
did you try the period trick for the paywalled articles?
 

sleepeeg3

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 4, 2004
Messages
5,238
This is a misleading article. If it used 1.9 to make it work and only output 1.3, it wasn't successful in terms of production, unless it continued to produce and outpaced its initial start up usage...
Yup. I saw this on MSN. End of the article said the heading is a lie. What I got from it was that it output more energy than what was in the fuel, but not when you combine the lasers. So no, it still is not a viable power technology.
 

DanNeely

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
4,252
I think the claim here is that the 1.9MJ is a one time startup cost, and after that it produces a much greater amount of energy than it uses, so you would have a break even uptime.
No. This experiment is pulsed fusion (essentially a tiny pure fusion hydrogen bomb) that produces power for a tiny fraction of a second before the fuel pellet blows itself apart; not a tokamak/etc type reactor with contained plasma producing power over an extended period of time.
 

michalrz

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 4, 2012
Messages
3,668
MIT in association with a company with the fortunate name of CFS have recently produced an improved electromagnet utilizing higher-temperature superconductors. It's one of the bigger deals as far as little milestones go. Stronger field (>30T IIRC) with less effort/power.

It's all obviously still 20+ years away, as always, but the systemic efforts many entities have initiated and are pursuing give me some hope.

I'm pretty sure that WHEN it does happen, there won't be much of a hype preceding this achievement. Everyone will prefer to sit on their research findings because of their colossal value, possibly the most valuable invention in human history.

The difference between humans and all those aliens in their shiny tic tac craft is that they would probably cooperate on this with less distrust and ego.
 

GoodBoy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
2,277
Exciting indeed.

I think we should also focus on energy storage technology, imagine having the technology to store power from lightning!
Relatively, lightning is not all that much energy.
1 bolt = ~1 billion joules of energy.
The average American household consumes 41 billion (4.14*10^10) joules each year.
Put another way, 1 kWh = 3.6 million Joules, so 1 bolt of lightning is ~ 277.8 KilowattHours. Certainly not 1.21 Gigawatts...
 

Krenum

Fully [H]
Joined
Apr 29, 2005
Messages
18,795
Relatively, lightning is not all that much energy.
1 bolt = ~1 billion joules of energy.
The average American household consumes 41 billion (4.14*10^10) joules each year.
Put another way, 1 kWh = 3.6 million Joules, so 1 bolt of lightning is ~ 277.8 KilowattHours. Certainly not 1.21 Gigawatts...
Sure, that's one...

But build the infrastructure here and we might have some juice!

Lake Maracaibo​

https://phys.org/news/2021-09-lake-maracaibo-lightning-capital-world.html

or the Congo.
 

Wade88

Gawd
Joined
Jun 21, 2015
Messages
581

Wat

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
396
How about connecting a lightning tower to some electrolyzers?

After a storm just siphon off the gas. Its the new solar!
 

sfsuphysics

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
15,253
Relatively, lightning is not all that much energy.
1 bolt = ~1 billion joules of energy.
The average American household consumes 41 billion (4.14*10^10) joules each year.
Put another way, 1 kWh = 3.6 million Joules, so 1 bolt of lightning is ~ 277.8 KilowattHours. Certainly not 1.21 Gigawatts...
Ok, I'm grading my finals for a couple physics classes... so I feel the need to correct some of this.

kWh is not the same type of units as GW, watt-hour is a unit of energy, watt is a unit of power, you're comparing apples to tires here.

Going to assume the math is right (because I'm not going to correct that much if it's not), but but 277.8 kWh would be applying power of 1.21 GW for a time period of about 0.827 seconds, now if this is like a scene from that movie "Powder" (end of movie he runs and lightning is continuously zapping him) then sure, but the reality is the duration of time it the lightning is actually makes contact is MUCH lower, couldn't tell you the exact time maybe a tenth of a microsecond? which would put the power of a lightning strike well into the terawatt range, so yeah 1.21 gigawatts... much MUCH more power than that.

The analogy is turning your 1500 watt microwave for 1 minute to warm some food doesn't make your electricity bill skyrocket, but if you left your 1500 watt electric heater on all month long it would be quite a bit more pricey.
 

GoodBoy

2[H]4U
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
2,277
... but 277.8 kWh would be applying power of 1.21 GW for a time period of about 0.827 seconds, now if this is like a scene from that movie "Powder" (end of movie he runs and lightning is continuously zapping him) then sure, but the reality is the duration of time it the lightning is actually makes contact is MUCH lower, couldn't tell you the exact time maybe a tenth of a microsecond? which would put the power of a lightning strike well into the terawatt range, so yeah 1.21 gigawatts... much MUCH more power than that.

The analogy is turning your 1500 watt microwave for 1 minute to warm some food doesn't make your electricity bill skyrocket, but if you left your 1500 watt electric heater on all month long it would be quite a bit more pricey.
You calculated that backwards professor.

it would take 0.827 seconds (Going to assume the math is right)to = 1.21 Gigawatts. The actual time a bolt lasts, according to you, is a 10th of a microsecond, or .0000001 seconds, which would take 8,270,000 to add up to 1.21 Gigawatts...

Lightning bolts move current for 50 to 200 microseconds
Compressing 1 Kwh into 50 microseconds is an increase by a factor of 72,000,000

Let's just calculate both ends of the spectrum.
277.8 kwh moved in 50 microseconds = 20 billion watts or 20 Gigawatts
277.8 kwh moved in 200 microseconds = 5 billion or 5 Gigawatts

So, the professor was a bit low.. maybe 20 Gigawatts didn't sound good.

But Terawatt range? In decimal places only.

Hope you are grading those papers more carefully than your forum posts.
 

pippenainteasy

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 20, 2016
Messages
1,067
Most of that 1.9 was the initial start up, to initiate fusion, but nice it was going output was significantly higher than input.

From other articles the continued reaction was consuming 200kj, that 200kj was producing the 1.3Mj output.
Sadly those articles are paywalls, trying to find non paywalled ones.

Like if it only took 200kj to produce 1.3Mj output, why didn't they just sustain the reaction, input 400kj to get 2.6Mj out? Then you easily achieve sustained fusion since that would be 2.3Mj in total for 2.6Mj out.

I suspect the reason they didn't is because their conclusions are BS and they know continuing the reaction would put them even further in the red.
 

Tsumi

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
13,547
Like if it only took 200kj to produce 1.3Mj output, why didn't they just sustain the reaction, input 400kj to get 2.6Mj out? Then you easily achieve sustained fusion since that would be 2.3Mj in total for 2.6Mj out.

I suspect the reason they didn't is because their conclusions are BS and they know continuing the reaction would put them even further in the red.

Someone else already stated it. This experiment was achieved by shooting a bunch of lasers at a pellet until it essentially exploded, at which point it can no longer provide energy. It appears that the goal of this type of experiment is determining the best way to start a nuclear fusion reactor. Sustaining a nuclear fusion reaction is a different project entirely.
 

sfsuphysics

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
15,253
You calculated that backwards professor.

it would take 0.827 seconds (Going to assume the math is right)to = 1.21 Gigawatts. The actual time a bolt lasts, according to you, is a 10th of a microsecond, or .0000001 seconds, which would take 8,270,000 to add up to 1.21 Gigawatts...

Lightning bolts move current for 50 to 200 microseconds
Compressing 1 Kwh into 50 microseconds is an increase by a factor of 72,000,000

Let's just calculate both ends of the spectrum.
277.8 kwh moved in 50 microseconds = 20 billion watts or 20 Gigawatts
277.8 kwh moved in 200 microseconds = 5 billion or 5 Gigawatts

So, the professor was a bit low.. maybe 20 Gigawatts didn't sound good.

But Terawatt range? In decimal places only.

Hope you are grading those papers more carefully than your forum posts.
1.21 GW at 0.827 seconds = 1.00067 GW s x (1 hr/3600s) = 2.78 x 10^-4 GW h x 10^6 KW / 1 GW = 278 kWh So yeah that math looks right.

So Power x Time = Energy, if time is smaller power must be larger to get that same result of energy. I just guessed on the actual impact time based on nothing more than a guess. but fine lets take your 200us value

277.8 kWh x (1000W/1kW) x (3600 s / 1hr) ~ 1 x 10^9 watt seconds

1 x 10^9 watt seconds / 200 x 10^-6 seconds = 5 x 10^12 watts or 5 terawatts. And for the 50us value you'd have 20 TW

your mistake in math is you get 5 billion for 200us, but 5 billion what? 5 billion kW which is 5 TW.
 

Darunion

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Oct 6, 2010
Messages
4,460
1 billion watts = 1 Gigawatt
1 trillion watts = 1 Terawatt, professor
no no, you are both right, you are just missing that he has kilowatt.

1 billion watts = 1 Gigawatt
1 billion kilowatts = 1 Terawatt
 
Top