Laser-Boron Fusion Proposed as Roadmap to Clean Energy (Univ. of New South Wales)

A news release from the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia is reporting about a paper published in the journal Laser and Particle Beams by a team of researchers led by Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics Heinrich Hora which claims that they have discovered that a path to laser-boron fusion is now viable, employing a two-laser system, and may be a superior fusion method than others currently being attempted. Their fusion approach uses no radioactive fuels, nor produces radioactive waste.

The title of the paper is “Road map to clean energy using laser beam ignition of boron-hydrogen fusion”. An excerpt from the abstract published here:

In this paper, we have mapped out our research based on recent experiments and simulations for a new energy source. We suggest how HB11 fusion for a reactor can be used instead of the DT option. We have mapped out our HB11 fusion in the following way: (i) The acceleration of a plasma block with a laser beam with the power and time duration of the order of 10 petawatts and one picosecond accordingly. (ii) A plasma confinement by a magnetic field of the order of a few kiloteslas created by a second laser beam with a pulse duration of a few nanoseconds (ns). (iii) The highly increased fusion of HB11 relative to present DT fusion is possible due to the alphas avalanche created in this process. (iv) The conversion of the output charged alpha particles directly to electricity. (v) To prove the above ideas, our simulations show for example that 14 milligram HB11 can produce 300 kWh energy if all achieved results are combined for the design of an absolutely clean power reactor producing low-cost energy.

Prof. Hora states in the UNSW news release:

“I think this puts our approach ahead of all other fusion energy technologies . . .It is a most exciting thing to see these reactions confirmed in recent experiments and simulations, 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.”