We discuss and comment on the role agriculture will play in the containment of the CO2 problem and address protocols for terraforming the planet Earth.
A model farm template is imagined as the central methodology. A broad range of timely science news and other topics of interest are commented on.
Friday, February 16, 2018
This report is heavily formatted but seems to make it through blogger.
As expected the process of development is long and tortuous. Yet i do think this is the most promising of the available tech.
At least they are getting funding and are moving forward..
February 2, 2018
Wefunder Equity Crowdfunding Passes Half-Way Point
Tungsten Experiments Concluding with Major Upgrades
LPPFusion Publishes World Record Results
Preparations for Beryllium, Boron Advance
Publicity for Hydrogen-Boron Fusion
to subscribers: This report covers the last three months. We’ve sent
out interim updates during that period. The Oct. 27, 2017 publication of
our results, mentioned in our updates, is included here again for
Thanks to over 260 far-sighted investors, LPPFusion’s equity crowdfunding onWefunderhas
now raised over $560,000, over half way to the one million dollars
needed to quicken our research for safe, clean, cheap and unlimited
energy! The campaign, started Nov. 9 is now approaching the three-month
mark. LPPFusion expects to wind up the campaign in April.
Unlike previous share rounds, this crowdfunding round is open to all,
everywhere. The minimum investment is $1,000, considerably less than the
$5,000 minimum of LPPF’s Regulation D offering. The shares are at the
same $125 price as in the Regulation D offering. The Regulation D
offering is also ongoing.
“We are offering shares both ways,” explains LPPF President and Chief
Scientist Eric J. Lerner. “We get the Regulation D money right now—and
we always need money!—while the crowdfunding money we will only get at
the end of the campaign. So, if you are not a US citizen or resident and
want to invest more than $5,000, we encourage you to contact us through
the “investor” tab on our website for direct investment. The same goes
for US accredited investors. Everyone else we invite to invest through
The campaign has already raised well over the minimum goal of $400,000,
achieved Dec. 22. So this means LPPF will certainly be getting at least
the minimum money our project needs to move on to our critical
experiments with beryllium electrodes. But the full million dollars is
needed for us to hire another researcher, and to buy critical
long-lead-time items, so that we can accelerate our research. Thanks to
all who have made this possible!
Tungsten Experiments Conclude with New Insights, Upgrades in Instruments and Equipment
some delays due to the need to replace and upgrade elderly equipment,
the LPPF research team is now concluding the experiments with tungsten
electrodes. While the experiments originally were planned to be
completed in the fall of last year, the failure of the main roughing
vacuum pump and the trigger head stopped operations for two months.
However, the new upgraded equipment has allowed the team to fire shots
more quickly. In addition, the improvements in our imaging capabilities
have given us valuable insights into the plasma focus functioning.
The trigger head provides the spark to the main trigger switch. This
switch in turn generates the spark for the 8 switches on the capacitors
that allow the current to flow to the electrodes. The original trigger
head had functioned for 8 years, so was due to fail. The upgraded
trigger head provides a nearly three times larger spark, so provides a
much more reliable triggering sequence. The roughing pump was of an old,
piston pump design, and was replaced with a new scroll pump, which
squeezes the air out between two rapidly rotating spiral vanes. Its
greater power allows faster pump downs after each shot, so less time
With the two upgrades the LPPF team has been able to fire as many as 8
shots in a day and is close to the 25 shots per week that are planned
for the upcoming experiments with beryllium electrodes. Once LPPF has
the crowdfunding money in hand, we also intend to purchase spares of
critical parts so that future breakdowns won’t lead to long delays
Once firing resumed in January, LPPF Research Physicist Dr. Syed Hassan
re-aligned the optical path to our ultra-fast ICCD camera to obtain
close-ups of the plasmoids through our large quartz window. Using this
new alignment, the team obtained a sequence of images that provide the
clearest picture yet of the evolution of the plasma as the dense
plasmoid forms. (The plasmoid is where the fusion reactions take place.)
The images were taken from different shots, with the sequence
determined by the difference in time between the time the image was
taken and the time the first X-ray pulse was observed. The six image
sequence is shown in Figure 1 and is cycled in the animation.
Fig. 1 Animation of 6 ICCD camera images (0.2 ns exposure time) of pinch in FF-1 device.
first two images (-24ns and -15ns) show the pinch region, where the
electric current converges, first forming then moving away from the
anode. (These images are inverted for easier viewing—in the device the
anode actually points downwards.) At 0 ns, a strong beam of ions and
electrons is generated and a first, strong X-ray pulse is emitted from
the heated electrons. The subtle rings below the glowing blob in this
contrast-enhanced image show that the plasma is undergoing what is
called a “sausage” instability, in which the radius of the tube of
current rapidly changes along its length. This instability causes rapid
changes in magnetic field, which in turns cause a large electric field
accelerating the electron and ion beams. This sausage instability is an
undesirable one because it leads to a large loss of energy before the
plasma is dense enough to produce many fusion reactions.
In frame 4 (12ns), the kink instability starts to twist the current path
up into the dense plasmoid. The helical current path is visible in the
lower half of this contrast-enhanced image. By 25 ns after the X-ray
pulse, the current has twisted up into the tight, dense plasmoid in
frame 6, about 200 microns in radius, which is continuing to move away
from the anode. At this point the fusion reactions are at a peak and a
second X-ray pulse and beam pair are emitted.
This sequence shows how FF-1 is functioning in the presence of
continuing tungsten impurities that prevent the early formation of
current filaments. They will be used as a comparison to those obtained
with the beryllium electrodes, without any heavy-metal impurities. “With
no heavy metal impurities, we expect that we will have current
filaments during pinch formation. A tighter pinch will make the kinking
instability speed up, so there won’t be time for the sausage instability
to form first,” explains Lerner. “That will eliminate the loss of
energy in the initial beam pulses and lead to much higher densities and
more fusion yield.”
Analysis of the data from FF-1’s many instruments confirm that the
shorter 10-cm anode is transferring energy into the pinch as efficiently
as the 14-cm anode did in 2016 experiments. The new test matched the
highest values of the old ones in total energy transferred to the
pinch—over 10 kJ—as well as in X-ray energy emitted and in calculated
plasma density. This is good news, as the beryllium electrodes are also
10 cm long. Lerner’s calculations indicate that with low impurities, the
shorter electrode length will lead to a higher current and thus higher
However, the experiments in 2017 and this past month did not achieve the
goal of reducing the tungsten impurities sufficiently to create the
current filaments, which would have led to much higher plasma densities
and fusion yields. As pointed out back in LPPF’s December 7, 2016
report, the filaments would survive only if tungsten impurities were
reduced five-fold from 2016 levels to below 4% by mass. Despite
microwave cleaning, the best values obtained in the current experiments
were around 6% by mass, above the critical threshold required. Without
greater density, no greater yields could be obtained either.
Fortunately, the oxides that have impaired the tungsten results will
have little or no effect on the upcoming beryllium experiments. First,
beryllium oxide is far more heat resistant than tungsten oxide. But more
importantly, the very light beryllium nuclei, with only 4 positive
charges, will have enormously less effect on the plasma than the
tungsten nuclei with their 74 charges. The effect of impurities scales
with the square of the electrical charge, so each beryllium ion has 300
times less effect.
Despite the continuing oxygen problems, the tungsten experiments that
began in 2016 did lead to the publication of new world record results,
as detailed in the next news item.
LPPFusion Publishes World Record Fusion Results in Leading Peer-Reviewed Journal, Physics of Plasmas
a major step forward in the quest for safe, clean, cheap and unlimited
energy, LPPFusion has published world record results in fusion energy.
The new results, published in the October issue of the leading
peer-reviewed journalPhysics of Plasmas,
demonstrated the highest confined mean ion energy of any fusion
experiment in the world, an ion energy equivalent to a temperature of
over 2.5 billion degrees C. This is over 200 times hotter than the
center of the sun.
For comparison, this new record is five times the highest temperatures confined with the tokamak device,
which has received the most funding from government fusion programs.
LPPFusion uses the much cheaper and more compact dense plasma focus
(DPF) device. The LPPF device, called Focus Fusion-1 (FF-1), fits in a
small room and the heart of the device, a set of electrodes, is only a
foot across. So far, LPPFusion, which is funded by investors, has spent
$6 million on fusion research, far less than the billions already
expended on tokamaks.
“Our new results, with a peak ion energy of 240 keV (kiloelectron
volts), were a 50% improvement over our own previous record,” explains
LPPF President and Chief Scientist Eric J. Lerner, lead author of the
paper. “In addition, we were able to achieve a 50% increase in the
amount of fusion energy produced. This is a step toward our goal of
producing clean, cheap energy with hydrogen-boron fuels.” Hydrogen–boron
fuel, also called pB11, is an ideal fuel, producing no neutrons, and no
radioactive waste. Its energy can be converted directly into
electricity, potentially greatly reducing energy costs below that from
any existing source. Both hydrogen and boron are abundantly available.
But the fuel needs extremely high ion energy—temperature—to burn. The
new results demonstrate that FF-1 has achieved the energies needed to
burn pB11 fuel.
The new advances were achieved by reducing the heavy-metal impurities in
the plasma, the published paper explains. Such impurities impede the
compression and heating of the plasma where the fusion reactions take
place. Single-piece tungsten electrodes, among other innovations, led to
the decrease in impurities.
“We still need to greatly increase the density of our plasma to get to
our goal of more energy out of the machine than we put in,” says Lerner.
“We expect to do that by entirely eliminating heavy-metal impurities
next year. We’ll then be using electrodes made of beryllium, a light
metal, so no heavy metals at all will be vaporized into the plasma.” By
late 2018, LPPF also expects to be switching from the present
experimental fuel, deuterium, to experiments with hydrogen-boron fuel.
Technical note on ion energy and temperature. Researchers use the
term “mean ion energy” to describe how hot fusion plasmas are. To
physicists, the term “temperature” only applies to objects near
equilibrium, which does not always describe rapidly-changing fusion
plasmas. However, a mean ion energy of 1 keV is equivalent to a
temperature of 11 million degrees C.
Preparations for Beryllium, Boron Experiments
is preparing actively for both the experiments with beryllium
electrodes expected in the spring and for the shift to hydrogen-boron
fuel expected before year-end. The research team is planning the new
vacuum system that will ensure that any beryllium dust the machine
produces will be safely trapped in filters. As well, efforts are
underway to ensure that the experiments will continue our high safety
Based on data in the literature, the team recognized that a reaction of
hydrogen and boron-10 would produce radioactive beryllium-7. With a
half-life of two months, this isotope would certainly complicate any
work with the device. To avoid any significant production of Be-7,
Lerner calculated that 99.99% pure boron-11 would be needed. Naturally
occurring boron is only 80% boron-11 with 20% boron-10.
Fortunately, due to the large 10% difference in mass between the
isotopes, separating B-11 and B-10 is not that difficult. LPPF has
already located at least one provider of 99.99% B-11. We are now
searching for a second company to convert the pure B-11 to the compound
of hydrogen and boron we need, decaborane (H14B10).
Publicity for Hydrogen-Boron Fusion
knowledge of aneutronic fusion using hydrogen-boron (pB11) fuel took a
step forward in December when science news outlets, and at least one
newspaper, the UK’sDaily Mail,
reported on research by Dr. Heinrich Hora and colleagues into
laser-drive pB11 fusion. Dr. Hora’s group has been working for some
years on this approach, as LPPF hasreported in this newsletter.
LPPF researchers have collaborated with some in the group, including a
collaboration with Dr. George Miley on LPPF’s first experiments at
University of Illinois. The press release from the University of New
South Wales that lead to the coverage reported on the groups plans, not
on any new results. We at LPPF look forward to getting similar publicity
with our next new release!