Lockheed Patent Envisages Ubiquitous Fusion Future

Thanks to a reader for sending a link to an article from The Drive which reports on the recently published patent application from Lockheed Martin for “Encapsulating Magnetic Fields for Plasma Confinement”.

From the summary of the patent:

According to one embodiment, a fusion reactor includes an enclosure, an open-field magnetic system comprising one or more internal magnetic coils suspended within the enclosure, and one or more encapsulating magnetic coils coaxial with the one or more internal magnetic coils of the open-field magnetic system. The one or more encapsulating magnetic coils form a magnetosphere around the open-field magnetic system. The open-field magnetic system and the one or more encapsulating magnetic coils, when supplied with electrical currents, form magnetic fields for confining plasma within the enclosure

Technical advantages of certain embodiments may include providing a compact fusion reactor that is less complex and less expensive to build than typical fusion reactors. Some embodiments may provide a fusion reactor that is compact enough to be mounted on or in a vehicle such as a truck, aircraft, ship, train, spacecraft, or submarine. Some embodiments may provide a fusion reactor that may be utilized in desalination plants or electrical power plants. Other technical advantages will be readily apparent to one skilled in the art from the following figures, descriptions, and claims. Moreover, while specific advantages have been enumerated above, various embodiments may include all, some, or none of the enumerated advantages.

The full patent can be read here: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20180047462A1/en?oq=2018%2f0047462

The Lockheed researchers believe that they have devised a means of confining the high temperature plasma required for fusion to take place that is superior to the tokamak system used in the large fusion reactors that are being built at projects like ITER. The patent describes using “one or more encapsulating magnetic coils form a magnetosphere around the open-field magnetic system” to achieve the needed plasma confinement.

The end goal of the Lockheed fusion project is now very similar to that of Andrea Rossi. The image below is taken from the patent, showing various applications envisioned. Rossi has mentioned recently that with the SK reactors under test he can now provide temperatures with his E-Cat that can meet virtually any purpose, including transportation (for example, he has often stated that the E-Cat could be suitable to drive jet engines).

 

Rossi had been quite dismissive recently on the Journal of Nuclear Physics about hot fusion. Commenting on recent news that in Italy ENEA has invested 500 million euros in a hot fusion research project, he wrote.

Andrea Rossi
April 20, 2018 at 9:34 AM
Dummy Physicist:
Hot fusion temperature in a plant like the one ENEA has invested in is above 12 keV ( more than 150 000 000 – say onehundredfiftymillions- of Celsius degrees ).
To maintain stable magnetic fields at this temperature is more difficult than allow an elephant pass through a needle eye. Non maintaining a stable magnetic field in a plant like that means not just melt, but vaporize any kind of material or alloy exposed to such a radiation in matter of fractions of second, making happy a lot of people around. But the good news for the “financers”, funded by the taxpayer, are that all this stuff justifies any kind of expense without bids and without control, because nobody understands what they are buying and why… not that it counts too much, though.
Warm Regards
A.R.

Rossi may see new investments and R&D taking place in Hot Fusion as a sign of competition. I would think it would be in his best interest to present a product as soon as possible.

  • Stephen Taylor

    Neutrons, neutrons, neutrons…..
    Well, if they can get it hot enough and stable enough maybe p+B11 aneutronic fusion is possible? Anyone have a clue?
    I won’t be holding my breath while waiting for the commercial version.

    • roseland67

      Been discussed before,
      Axil had some interesting thoughts

  • causal observer

    As I understand it, the Lockheed patent relies on self-regulating feedback between the magnetic fields and the plasma, so that when the plasma gets near the field walls, the field intensifies to maintain containment.

    Reminds me of SAPHIRE, which has those strange effect of multiple, separated layers of plasma around the anode, where the plasma is extremely hot in some layers and not-so-hot in adjacent layers.

  • Ophelia Rump

    Temperature is not precisely the same thing as heat. You can have an extremely high temperature with an extremely small area and if it melted the reactor housing you would have glowing metal with little to no area effect around it.

    If the reactor is enough to power a truck for instance, a Diesel Tractor Trailer gets about 9 MPG, so at 60 MPH or .15 gal per minute. Assuming the fusion reactor detects a breach and shuts down in under five seconds, then it has the relative heat of .0125 gallons of Diesel released over those five seconds. This does not seem cataclysmic to me, it could easily be shielded by a reasonable heat sink casing.

    A gallon of diesel has 139000 BTU, so that would be 1158.3 BTU of heat released.
    You could cool it with a 2000 BTU air conditioner as an outer shield, or a small block of ice.

    • roseland67

      Ophelia,

      They are not even related,
      Temperature is a measure of how high,
      Heat is a measure of how much.

      Imagine, twisting a small piece of paper together, (about the size of a toothpick),
      Stating it on fire and measuring the temperature, it would be?
      Farenheit 451°, (thanks to Ray Bradbury).
      Now put out the toothpick fire with your fingers.

      Now imagine multiple dump trucks full of twisted paper toothpicks on fire.
      The temperature would still be 451°,
      But you could not get within 30’ because the amount of heat being emitted would
      Be so great it would burn you

      I used this analogy in my classes for years, and I saw a lot of “light bulbs” get brighter in the classroom.

      • LION

        Hi roseland67- I didn’t know you were a teacher (noble profession).

        I think your explanation is very fine, picture teaching is so clear, everyone understands.

        To share an insight you will understand. For me standing next to LION 2 was just like this, the heat emenating from it was alarming, staggering actually. I have had Hot Tubes before but never of this order of magnitude. I can honestly say that for me the very real power/energy of the Atomic Nucleus became clear for the first time. It was a Humbling experience.
        All the best.

        • roseland67

          Lion,

          Engineer actually, but taught many classes at internal university, mostly for new hires, employees coming in thru acquisition and continuing education classes for internal teams.

    • Axil Axil

      Rossi has stated that during his reactor melt down in a 10 seconds interval, the power generated by that event rose to 2 megawatts in those 10 seconds.

    • causal observer

      The Lockheed reactor is BIG, with a footprint about the size of a shipping container. It’s big largely because it has very large electromagnets to control the plasma and a “blanket” to absorb the neutrons. I don’t see how either of those are going to be miniaturized any time soon; they seem be related to the need to have the hot plasma in the first place. A single Lockheed reactor might (eventually) pump out more net energy per mechanical volume than a collection of the 100KW QX’s, however, there are a lot of applications where the (presumed) smaller scale of the Leonardo products will be more applicable.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    Would they prefer to be working on LENR?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkmzCkEFt94

  • georgehants

    Science Advances
    Electronic zero-point fluctuation forces inside circuit components
    Abstract
    One of the most intriguing manifestations of quantum zero-point
    fluctuations are the van der Waals and Casimir forces, often associated
    with vacuum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field. We study
    generalized fluctuation potentials acting on internal degrees of freedom
    of components in electrical circuits. These electronic Casimir-like
    potentials are induced by the zero-point current fluctuations of any
    general conductive circuit. For realistic examples of an
    electromechanical capacitor and a superconducting qubit, our results
    reveal the possibility of tunable forces between the capacitor plates,
    or the level shifts of the qubit, respectively. Our analysis suggests an
    alternative route toward the exploration of Casimir-like fluctuation
    potentials, namely, by characterizing and measuring them as a function
    of parameters of the environment. These tunable potentials may be useful
    for future nanoelectromechanical and quantum technologies.
    Read more
    http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/4/eaaq0842.full

    • MorganMck

      This is Lockheed Martin we are talking about here. You do know the business they are in right…

  • Alan DeAngelis

    I’ll repost this here. http://disq.us/p/1qud831 :

    50 years ago, the goal was to have deuterium-deuterium
    fusion then they lowered the bar and the goal became the easier
    tritium-deuterium reaction. So (IF I HAVE IT RIGHT), like the E-Cat, lithium
    will be consumed to make tritium for the hot fusion reactor. So, which (hot
    fusion vs the E-Cat) will most efficiently use the planet’s lithium? https://en.wikipedia.org/wi

    • Alain Samoun

      Are you sure that the E-Cat uses Lithium?

      • Alan DeAngelis

        What we do know is that Parkhomov’s used lithium aluminum hydride, LiAlH4 in his replication.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    I don’t get it. It’s like ignoring the fact that transistors have been invented and trying to make a cell phone with vacuum tubes. http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/dam/assets/140129212953-motorola-walkie-talkie-1024×576.jpg

  • Lockheed Martin was the company that tried to donate $$$ to M.I.T. for Cold Fusion research only to have Ernie Monast throw it back at them.

    • cashmemorz

      Hmmm, a strong clue as to why things are progressing so slowly in hot fusion. I knew this a long time ago. Now it is so obvious it hurts. Where is my hanky…

      • Old Ernie was quite big on hot fusion. Hot and cold were like two political parties. Not sure if it was last or the year before hot fusion research got 20 million, cold fusion $0.

  • Unobtanium is a word coined by the fusion research community decades ago that describes the material needed to build any practical hot fusion reactor. The abundant neutrons from hot fusion will promptly destroy any and all materials known to man and thus the discovery of unobtanium has been one of the major, and perfectly failed, quests in the world of hot fusion energy. Don’t be suckered in by Lockheeds flim flam claims, lest you personally prove PT Barnum’s most noteworthy rule.

    • Alain Samoun

      The main thing is that Lockheeds and ITER will continue to make money with it .

    • cashmemorz

      Very much my sentiments in my comment in the other topic currently: “Rossi Comments on Safety of the E-Cat Control System”

  • MorganMck

    When I was in college (BYU) back in the dark ages (circa 1970), I remember the math/engineering departments making a big splash in the technical press about a theoretical breakthrough mathematical model for a magnetic field to contain a fusion reaction without leakage. The fact that we have never heard spit about the practical application of this “breakthrough” in 45 years should probably inform our skepticism about the LM project. I hope they have something, but hot fusion development history does not fuel much optimism on the subject (hold on to your wallets also as LM is a government contractor).

    • roseland67

      Morgan,
      Lot of miles on you amigo.

      Been almost 30 years since Ponds and Fleischman,
      kinda makes you wanna go hmmm?

  • mcloki

    Sounds like those Wiifle Ball containment units.

    • MorganMck

      Are you thinking of the Polywell (Robert Bussard’s brainchild)?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polywell

      It looked promising for a while but I have not heard much from them for a long time. I think they were operating on Navy funding in the beginning.

  • Rene

    Neutrons, neutrons everywhere activating most everything in their path. The thought of standing near a mobile hot fusion device makes me itch.

    • bob dash

      Perfect as a neutron source for a small subcritical MSR though.

  • It’s the same BS as ITER, just of different shape. It’s like ignoring the fact that transistors have been invented and trying to make a cell phone with vacuum tubes.

    BTW I know @Alan_DeAngelis has already said this. Repetition is the mother of wisdom.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    The engineers at LM are aware of LENR. Maybe things will change.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3vtKU9bi10

  • Alan DeAngelis

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