Fusion Energy

27 Jun 2018

At www.space.com/40988-beam-target-fusion-reactor.html ... this is one the SIS chairman Tony Haynes (sadly, recently deceased) would have enthused about - a new approach that uses electrical and magnetic fields to create a hybrid fusion device. Could this possibly be the fusion break-through so eagerly sought after for so long? It is known as 'beam target fusion' as it does not try to fuse atoms but rather, hits a beam of atoms against a solid target - the atoms from the beam fuse with the atoms of the target. The ion beam consists of deuterium, heavy hydrogen ions with one neutron. The target consists of tritium ions, a heavy hydrogen with two neutrons. They use hydrogen, which is the lightest element, because in fusion the lightest elements produce the most energy (or so they say). Magnetic lenses stablise and excite the atoms in the ion beam and when the beam hits the target the two types of hydrogen atoms merge and release high energy neutrons that can then be used to heat water or power wind turbines. The fusion also creates non toxic helium and a little bit of the original fuel source, the tritium, can be reused as a fuel.

Well, the PR bit at the beginning sounded good - but is this really fusion (to power wind turbines). Surely fusion is the elusive fuel that will make wind turbines obsolete.