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. 15.09.2021
    15.09.2021
    by      In
    Following the ongoing situation with Covid-19 in NSW and other states, a decision has been made to reschedule Electronex – Electronics Design & Assembly Expo at Rosehill Gardens to the 5 – 6 April 2022.
    Noel Gray, Managing Director of show organiser AEE said, “we were hopeful that we would be... Read More
  2. 13.09.2021
    13.09.2021
    by      In
    The Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited (AMTIL) have announced changes to the schedule for next year’s Australian Manufacturing Week (AMW) exhibition, relocating and rescheduling the event from Melbourne in March to Sydney in June.
    The AMTIL Board has decided not to proceed with... Read More
  3. 13.09.2021
    13.09.2021
    by      In
    The general public view manufacturing as vital to our nation’s economy and critical to maintaining our high-living standards according to recent research carried out by the Federal Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC).
    When comparing data gathered pre-COVID-19 to today, it was... Read More
  4. 13.09.2021
    13.09.2021
    by      In
    Three new missions from CSIRO will grow Australia’s agriculture and food sectors targeting $20 billion by 2030.
    CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the three missions together aim to capture a $20 billion opportunity for Australian agriculture to extend its position as a world leader. “We’... Read More
Products
Suppliers