none

LASER BREAKTHROUGH PROMISES CLEAN HYDROGEN-BORON FUSION

15-12-2017
by 
in 
Laser fusion

An Australian-led team of researchers is homing in on a novel approach to nuclear fusion it says suffers from none of the shortcomings of the deuterium-tritium fusion approach currently being advanced in the USA and France.

Hydrogen-boron fusion produces no neutrons and, therefore, no radioactivity in its primary reaction. The fusion is achieved using two powerful lasers in rapid bursts, which apply precise non-linear forces to compress the nuclei together.

The technique has been described in a paper in the scientific journal Laser and Particle Beams. The lead author is Prof Heinrich Hora from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and the patent on the process is owned by Australian company HB11 Energy, of which Prof Hora is a director.

Unlike just about every other form of power generation, from coal to nuclear fission, the energy generated by hydrogen-boron fusion converts directly into electricity.

The key is in recent advances in laser technology. Experiments have shown that an ‘avalanche’ fusion reaction could be triggered in the trillionth-of-a-second blast from a petawatt-scale laser pulse, whose fleeting bursts pack a quadrillion watts of power. If scientists could exploit this avalanche, says Prof Hora, a breakthrough in proton-boron fusion would be imminent.

“It is a most exciting thing to see these reactions confirmed in recent experiments and simulations,” says Hora. “Not just because it proves some of my earlier theoretical work, but they have also measured the laser-initiated chain reaction to create one billion-fold higher energy output than predicted under thermal equilibrium conditions.”

Warren McKenzie is MD of Sydney-based HB11 Energy. He says: “If the next few years of research don’t uncover any major engineering hurdles, we could have prototype reactor within a decade.”

“From an engineering perspective, our approach will be a much simpler project because the fuels and waste are safe, the reactor won’t need a heat exchanger and steam turbine generator, and the lasers we need can be bought off the shelf,” he adds.

 

Related news & editorials

  1. 12.11.2018
    12.11.2018
    by      In
    Energy Vault has developed a novel solution to storage for renewable energy plants that involves neither batteries nor water.
    The Energy Vault system is based on the fundamental physics of potential and kinetic energy, and uses a proprietary, cloud-based software platform to operate a newly... Read More
  2. 07.11.2018
    07.11.2018
    by      In
    With a combination of its industry-leading fans and energy-efficient lighting products, Big Ass is improving working conditions in Australia and around the globe.
    Blazing Queensland temperatures and humidity were creating uncomfortable working conditions at XL Service Bodies, an industry-leading... Read More
  3. 07.11.2018
    07.11.2018
    by      In
    ABB has thrown its weight behind the OPC Foundation in its bid to define the worldwide industrial interoperability standard. The new Open Platform Communication Unified Architecture (OPC UA) standard has the potential to enable industrial players to unlock the full potential of Industry 4.0.
    OPC UA... Read More
  4. 01.11.2018
    01.11.2018
    by      In
    Austech 2019 appears to be on course to be a record-breaking show, with advance bookings from exhibitors far surpassing expectations, and high levels of interest from across the industry.
    Scheduled to take place at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 14th to 17th May 2019, Austech is... Read More