ARPA-E to Allow Grant Applications for Aneutronic Fusion Projects (LPPFusion)

An announcement on the website of LPPFusion, a New Jersey company working on producing fusion energy using in a ‘dense plasma focus’ (DPF) — or ‘Focus Fusion’ — device, states that the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy agency (ARPA-E) has changed its requirements for grant applicants, which will allow grant applications from entities involved in ‘aneutronic’ fusion projects, and thus allow LPPFusion to compete for grant funding.

LPP’s web site explains the reason for this change:

ARPA-E had set a requirement that fusion yield be 5 times input energy—a requirement that was unnecessary for pB11 (hydrogen –boron) aneutronic fuel and probably impossible to meet. LPPFusion sent a question to ARPA-E, asking that the requirement be changed to take into account the much higher efficiency of energy conversion (and much more economical energy conversion) possible with aneutronic fuels. Such fuels produce energy in the form of charged particles, allowing a direct conversion into electricity without use of an expensive and inefficient steam cycle.

ARPA-E responded to our question on the “FAQ” section of their website that applicants could instead use a requirement that the electricity recycled back to the next pulse be no more than half the total electricity generated

LPPFusion is now going to seek for a $2 million, two-year grant. LPP’s focus fusion brand of fusion is not in the LENR category, but perhaps there might be more flexibility within ARPA-E in the future to accommodate grant seekers who are looking for help with other — maybe ‘cold’ — forms of fusion.

  • GordonDocherty

    The mountain moves… 🙂

    • Gerard McEk

      probably in secrecy now…. 🙁

      • GordonDocherty

        Interesting wikipedia history on the polywell reactor design:

        It starts “The polywell is a type of nuclear fusion reactor that uses an electric field to heat ions to fusion conditions. It is closely related to the magnetic mirror, the fusor, the biconic cusp and the high beta fusion reactor.”

        Reading further on, one thing that is very striking is just how SLOW the whole process is. The front-runner is EMC2, but they are still well behind LPP, despite, or rather perhaps because of military funding.

        In development, secrecy is seldom a good thing, especially in the long run. For example, the main problem with the polywell design appears to be conduction of energy away from the plasma, as it is poor at preventing especially collisions with the anode / cathode grids and even external surfaces – and as either the electron or inner plasma cloud energy falls, so does the energy of the other cloud.

        One thing does strike me, though. The similarity of the polywell design on a massively macro scale with what is going on in a Brillouin zone – namely an electron cloud and ions (mostly protium in the case of the Brillouin zones). The advantage of the LENR scale system is that magnetic fields can be applied to spin-align the ions AND the whole system can be subjected to sharp-edged (that is, violent) compression pulses at very high frequencies without the whole falling apart. The polywell design is still relying on hit and miss random collisions in toward the centre of a (likely slightly fluctuating) potential well…

        • Warthog

          The whole point of the polywell is that there IS no physical “anode grid”. That function is served a cloud of electrons magnetically confined (magnetic confinement of electrons is much easier than for protons, due to the huge mass difference between the particles). Similar reactors WITH anode grids are variants of (and include) the “Farnsworth Fusor”….which has long been known to produce fusion….just not with sufficient efficiency to reach “breakeven”.

          • GordonDocherty

            Sorry, yes, it’s just the cathode grid, and, yes fusion occurs. Other points remain, however. Indeed, the cloud of electrons seems to be important in crystal lattices as well, so strengthening the case for MORE LENR research, including in the “mainstream” – after all, how can it be that the polywell (and Farnsworth Fusor) are accepted, yet there are still those with “loud voices” in the mainstream scientific community (that is, those who control the budgets and direction of research at major institutions) who decry LENR, and especially LENR+, as works of fiction, science that is “impossible” and “fraudulent”. Please explain their dual stance. I can’t.

          • Warthog

            Explain their dual stance??? Sure. It’s called “follow the money”…. grant money, that is. Can’t have all that funding that flows into the pockets of their research groups (and their own pockets) reduced, can we??

          • GordonDocherty