Author Topic: So what about fusion?  (Read 28797 times)

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Offline ccs46

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #50 on: January 29, 2016, 07:25:56 pm »
My point, and the point that several others are making, is that this is an eminently solveable problem
Tell this to the industry how this is solvable in any (economically) sensible way. Transferring electricity over half of the planet is not a solution.
Telsa had some ideas how to do it... It's entirely possible.
Normal people... believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet. - Scott Adams
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #51 on: January 29, 2016, 10:50:11 pm »
Solar power will likely be not a good solution as the only power source. There is also wind and hydroelectric power. Mixed sources help to reduce the required storrage / backups.  It also depends one where you are: in parts of australia pure PV might work with moderate storage / backup as there is no such thing as 6 cloudy days in a row and on a cloudy day power requirements are relatively  low. It won't work for greenland for obvious resons.

A 100% fusion based power supply would also have it's problems, as there would be way to much power at night. With the expected large units (e.g. 2-5 GW) there is also need for heavy backup as such complicated units might turn down suddenly and unexpected. So you need a mix and some storrage or fast backups.

The real question with fusion power is, whether it can be much cheaper than PV or wind combined with sufficient storrage.
We still don't know, but I think it gets time to explore storrage much more - we need it anyway.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #52 on: January 29, 2016, 11:16:56 pm »
A 100% fusion based power supply would also have it's problems, as there would be way to much power at night. With the expected large units (e.g. 2-5 GW) there is also need for heavy backup as such complicated units might turn down suddenly and unexpected. So you need a mix and some storrage or fast backups.
Storage is a useless idea for fusion or whatever what can output more or less constant power. What about nuclear power stations? Obviously they already work pretty well without any "storage" (if the batteries are meant by that). You just need to have redundant reactors which nuclear power stations do have and some additional power stations which can increase their power output fast. You already have the energy storage in a form of fossil fuel or water in the hydro power plant water reservoirs. Many here do not understand that the storage in their understanding (batteries) is way bigger and more expensive than the power plant itself. Their maintenance cost also would be just horrendous. The resources consumed and the waste produced probably would outperform the damage done by burning the fossil fuel. Remember replacing the batteries in the UPS every few years. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped-storage_hydroelectricity
« Last Edit: January 29, 2016, 11:36:40 pm by wraper »
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #53 on: January 30, 2016, 02:00:32 am »
Storage is useful for balancing daily load swings when you have sources like fusion, fission or some fossil fuel plants that don't work well off nominal power levels.  The pumped storage technique you illustrated is one of the few large scale storage methods which has proved practical and economically useful.  But pumped storage, like solar and wind requires some conditions that don't exist everywhere, and don't necessarily scale down to smaller sizes.  It is relatively low density energy storage.

1.  Significant elevation differences within a relatively small distance.
2.  Lots of relatively cheap land for the reservoirs.
3.  Lots of available water.
4.  The economics work best where the facilities have dual uses (irrigation, flood control, hydroelectric generation of power with water that passes through the system). 
« Last Edit: March 14, 2016, 03:22:13 am by CatalinaWOW »
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #54 on: January 30, 2016, 07:55:19 pm »
Countries like fance and begium that used to have a large part of there power from nuclear power have / had problems with to much power at night - they installed light on the main highways, more or less to waste the excess power at night.
Fusion power would likely be worse in the sense of likely having even larger units and possibly even less incentive to reduce the output at night.

Storage does not need to be batteries, but there need to be alternatives. Often it is just backup power station running on gas, oil or coal. At least in europe the rather large area grid (portugal to poland) also helps.
 

Online T3sl4co1l

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #55 on: January 30, 2016, 08:11:02 pm »
If fusion proceeds in pulses rather than continuous operation, it would make perfect sense as an agile peak-hours supply.  If instead, it depends on a threshold of continuous operation (as with traditional fission sources), it would be more of an alternative to traditional base load sources such as coal and nuclear.

Tim
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Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #56 on: January 30, 2016, 11:06:45 pm »
If fusion proceeds in pulses rather than continuous operation, it would make perfect sense as an agile peak-hours supply.  If instead, it depends on a threshold of continuous operation (as with traditional fission sources), it would be more of an alternative to traditional base load sources such as coal and nuclear.

Tim

It seems likely to me that when fusion reaches practicality it will proceed in pulses.  But the size of those pulses will be such that from the users standpoint it is a continuous supply.  The operator will not want to have capacitors or whatever other support equipment is required charged up and waiting to go, and will not be able to afford to watch an enormous capital investment sitting idle, so the pulses will pop along steadily at the best rate possible.  May be hundreds per second, may be one every several seconds, but it will be effectively steady state.
 

Offline Kleinstein

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2016, 12:47:54 pm »
The tokamak design (e.g. ITER) is by principle pulsed (order of minutes if I remember right). However there is a large incentive to run it more or less contineous, with pulses in short sequence:

The magnets need cooling and essentally need to run long term. There is quite some power consumption and cost to have the unit in standby.

Much of the costs are likely invenstments, and little for fuel itself. So they may need the up time to get resonable payback of the investment.

The reactor needs to produce it's own tritium fuel. Due to radioactive decay in the tritium inventory some of this is lost, when the reactor is down. So the system has to run often enough to make up for this loss in tritium. For the tokamak designs so far tritium production rate is expected to be barely high enough and may need quite some extra efford to get it high enough - so there is hardly any room for avoidable down times. This might be different if the initailly mentioned "acoustic" plasma compression works - one of there claimed advantages is a high trtium production rate.
 

Offline gildasd

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #58 on: March 13, 2016, 02:25:37 pm »
I went to Culham fusion lab as a youth when they were building JET, and they confidently predicted nuclear fusion "in a decade or two" - that was over 30 years ago.
I went to School next door; European School...
A few years back I met the the father of one of the kids (now a fine young lady) that worked there.
He thinks that they did a fundamental mistake in the JET: they tried to make a "perfect" doughnut and that just does not work in real life.
He now thinks they should have "twisted the doughnut" making the plasma not only go around but corkscrew.
And I did not understand the rest of the explanation...
I'm electronically illiterate
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: So what about fusion?
« Reply #59 on: March 13, 2016, 04:46:40 pm »
An older video, but still has good points in it.  A truly smart man.



 


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