DailyDirt: Baby Steps Towards Fusion Reactors
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Fusion is always just 30 years away, but we seem to be actually making some progress after decades of building huge superconducting magnets that will probably be impractical for producing net energy. We’ve seen Lockheed Martin and a bunch of fusion energy startups claiming to be able to control a fusion reaction in less than 30 years, but economically generating energy is still a distant milestone.
- Are tokamak designs for fusion reactors a dead-end technology for ever producing energy? Safety regulations and the complexity of the tokamak design might prevent this fusion reactor technology from becoming a commercial venture. [url]
- A stellarator fusion generator is based on a design from the 1950s that might be getting popular again. Stellarators are a bit more complicated to build than tokmaks, but they’re less prone to disruptions that could shut down operations, so they can run for a bit longer and could give us a better idea of how to control continuous fusion in a contained plasma. The billion-euro Wendelstein 7-X is about to turn on, and it could lead to a more reliable fusion reactor design. [url]
- Perhaps “big science” funding isn’t the right strategy, and science should follow a startup incubator model? YC Research (a Y Combinator project) is going to try to tackle fundamental science problems… starting with just $10 million in funding. Perhaps more companies like Helion Energy will emerge to produce fusion generators — but how does a non-profit division with a 30-year horizon for its goals… feed into a startup incubator? (Ask
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