The Magnetic and Electrostatic Nuclear Fusion Reactor, or simply CrossFire Fusion Reactor, is a concept that uses magnetic fields to confine radially and electric fields to trap axially plasma of electrically charged ions, and electrostatic acceleration in an energy-efficient way to fuse the charged atomic nuclei, allowing the charged byproducts to escape longitudinally to the outputs to be converted directly into electricity, producing safe, clean, dense, and virtually unlimited electric power with no pollution and no radioactive waste.
Most of the mainstream fusion reactors, e.g. ITER and NIF, remain decades away from the practicality due to awesome energy required for barely reaching 5keV, and also usually are designed to fuse a mix of deuterium and tritium, which gives off 80% of its energy in the form of fast neutrons making the apparatus relatively radioactive which can be tolerated and managed (short-lived radioactivity). The energy of fast neutrons is collected by converting their thermal energy into electric energy, which is very inefficient (less than 30%). Moreover, most of the mainstream fusion reactors are big energy devours because they use magnetic compression and lasers instead electrostatic acceleration putting almost all of them very far from the breakeven point; finally, most of them work by repeated startups and shutdowns (pulsed mode) which cause enormous energy losses.
note: please, do not take technical subjects so seriously to your personal side. Regarding the other fusion approaches, that were conceived and/or has been improved by extraordinarily valiant and brilliant scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, the critiques are just to help to contextualize the proposed concept. In this way, feel free to criticize hardly the proposed concept, no personal attacks, be logical and rational, in order to keep a healthy competition.
The Pioneer Electrostatic Fusion Machines:
Farnsworth–Hirsch Fusor (US patent: 3258402, 3664920) which utilizes electrostatic acceleration to reach great kinetic energy 170keV (2 billion °C) while Tokamaks are barely able to attain to 10 keV (100 million °C) due to use of inefficient methods like magnetic compression. However, it still has the unsolvable grid-loss problem which has prevented the Farnsworth–Hirsch Fusor from taking full advantage of the electrostatic acceleration.
Bussard Polywell (US patent: 4826646) is similar to the Fusor except that has incorporated a magnetic confinement system similar to the Magnetic Well for Plasma Confinement (US patent: 4007392). The Polywell method can be characterized shortly by the following steps: generating magnetic cusps, injecting electrons through the magnetic cusps to create a negative potential (virtual cathode), injecting positively charged particles toward the negative potential, and maintaining the number of electrons greater than the number of positively charged particles. Apparently, its essential scheme of virtual cathode, "wiffleball" magnetic compression, and recirculation of electrons, also has prevented the Polywell from taking full advantage of the electrostatic acceleration.
Short differentiation and characterization:
Farnsworth–Hirsch Fusor: real cathode (inner grid), electrostatic containment;
Bussard Polywell: virtual cathode, recirculation of electrons, "wiffleball", electrodynamic containment;
CrossFire Fusion Reactor: real cathode (magnets), anode (armature), magnetic and electrostatic confinement (penning trap) with escape mechanism;
Other colliding beam fusion reactors: magnetic compression (field-reversed configuration) instead of electrostatic acceleration.
The CrossFire Fusion Reactor was designed to take full advantage of the electrostatic acceleration to make it extremely energy-efficient in order to achieve a net energy gain producing directly an enormous quantity of electric power from clean, safe, and environmentally friendly aneutronic fuels.
For a better initial understanding, firstly will be described the basic embodiment comprised by two poles/outputs and then will be further described the preferred embodiment comprised by six poles/outputs:
III. Two-pole Embodiment
The two-pole embodiment is conceptually almost equal to the six-pole embodiment, except that it has two outputs instead of six in order to make the concept easier to be understood, mainly regarding the wise use of electrostatic acceleration that is utilized advantageously to reduce drastically the energy requirements to achieve a net gain from fusion reactions, more energy out than in.
The basic apparatus is comprised of an armature, a superconducting electromagnet centered inside the armature, an electrostatic generator (Van de Graaff or Pelletron) between the armature and the electromagnet, also an electrically-insulated motor-generator shaft to power the electromagnet; a heat exchange system connected to the electromagnet via electrically-insulated heat exchanger pipes for cooling down the superconducting electromagnets and also to recycle heat energy into electric power; two sets of ion sources at each distal extremity of the armature, a set of quadrupole magnets connecting the electromagnet to the distal ends of the armature. The Quadrupoles Magnets are arranged in quadrature (rotated 90° from each other and spaced-apart by electrical insulators(boron nitride)) to cause strong focusing to make the beams more convergent and denser while the beams move through the magnetic cusps of the quadrupoles toward the reaction chamber. More a vacuum pump connected via insulated pipes to the bore of the electromagnet; an optical fiber (high electrical insulation and immunity to EM interference) to control and/or monitor the superconducting electromagnet; and an optional fusion fuel recycler in order to withdraw any unburned fuel from the fusion byproducts. The space between armature and magnets can be either empty vacuum or filled with insulating gas(N2, CO2, SF6). The electromagnet bore can be optionally coated with an alternate layer of tungsten and boron carbide(W/B4C) to act as an X-ray mirror. And externally connected to the distal extremities: a set of electron guns, a Klystron (or a TWT), and multistage ion collectors.
The plasma can be either positively or negatively charged; in case of positively charged then the electromagnet must be at negative potential, otherwise at positive potential.
Thus, the electrical setup can be either:
[armature(+) electromagnet(-) ions(+)]
[armature(-) electromagnet(+) ions(-)]
There is no preference regarding the electrical setups above, although positive ions maybe produce less bremsstrahlung radiation due to lack of electrons, and negative ions perhaps promote/catalyze more electron capture due to excess of electrons. Anyway in both cases, for higher-energy production, the charge-to-mass ratio should be calculated and pondered to be as low as possible keeping the plasma in a quasi-neutral state which requires higher electrical voltages and stronger magnetic fields, that is still feasible and affordable with nowadays superconducting technologies.
The static magnetic and electric fields form a kind of "Penning Trap" able to confine the charged ion plasma (ions are confined radially by the magnetic fields and trapped longitudinally by the electric fields). With help of a mass flow controller and ammeter, the charge-to-mass ratio can be precisely dosed keeping the plasma in a quasi-neutral state in accordance to calculations.
If just one the set of ions sources ionize fusion fuel with pre-defined charge-to-mass ratio, then the electrically charged plasma pellet is naturally attracted and accelerated by electric fields exchanging its potential energy into kinetic energy and vice-vice. The acceleration and deceleration cause some small EM losses that will end as waste heat, nevertheless, the kinetic energy is enough for fusion to take place. The electric fields act as electrostatic lenses narrowing the charged beams as they approach to the distal ends, and the magnetic fields act as magnetic lenses tightening/constricting as they move back toward the chamber interior, which makes the plasma radially ever denser; the focusing can be even stronger with addition of electrically-insulated and spaced-apart quadrupole magnets rotated 90° from each other.
The magnetic fields prevent the plasma pellets from touching on the inner walls of the electromagnet. Then, there is no electric current between the plasma and the electrostatic generator P=V×I≈0, there is just electrostatic induction, insignificant power consumption to keep ideal conditions for the fusion to occur efficiently.
If the two set of ions sources ionize fusion fuel with pre-defined charge-to-mass ratio. The ionized fusion fuel (plasma pellet) is naturally attracted by the electromagnet(which is at opposite electrical potential) reaching the bore with great kinetic energy(600keV) enough for fusion reactions to take place. The two plasma pellets collide (micrograms/second with quintillions of atoms) with high probability of occurring fusion reactions liberating an enormous quantity of energy in form of charged particles causing some chain reactions and impelling the charged pellet(containing both burned and unburned fuels) toward to the outputs passing through the Klystron, or TWT, transferring energy to the system while forcing electric/magnetic fields for landing smoothly on the multistage collectors to be finally neutralized, and after that, the byproducts can be recycled in order to separate burned and unburned fuels. The electron guns are to extract electrons from a positive terminal of a capacitor, and these electrons are to be impelled by the plasma byproducts against electric fields toward the negative terminal (connected to the multistage ion collectors) increasing the stored energy (E=½CV²); in other words, the electric current of the electron guns versus the gained voltage is the electric power (P=V×I); also the RF fields produced by the Klystron, or TWT, are amplified by the bunch of electrons, afterwards rectified to be dispatched to a battery bank.
Internally, the electromagnet bore is in electrostatic equilibrium, just the magnetic fields prevent the plasma from touching on the inner walls, hence after the charged plasma pellets have got full kinetic energy due to the electrostatic acceleration, the electromagnet bore act as a drift-tube. Theoretically, the more electrically charged ions tend to surround the plasma surface enclosing the neutral atoms inside the pellet. When the two plasma pellets are approximating toward each other, the charged ions tend to migrate toward the rear-end letting the neutral atoms to collide frontally making the fusion to occur more easily due to either electron capture (followed by beta decay) or proton-electron pairs temporally forming virtual neutrons, helping to overcome the Coulomb barrier between the nuclei. Anyway, the electrostatic acceleration is able to reach 600keV that is enough to fuse atoms with or without the electron capture and the temporary virtual neutron theories. With the electrically-insulated and spaced-apart quadrupole magnets (rotated 90° from each other), the focusing can be even stronger making the plasma much denser radially. Density, confinement and kinetic energy, the basic conditions for the fusion to take place , and low power consumption for the net gain.
Electromagnets in steady-state mode instead of pulsed mode.
Electrostatic acceleration instead of magnetic compression, wisdom instead of brute force, which leads to a more efficient energy usage to surpass the breakeven point.
The superconducting electromagnets are to consume just few kilowatts, and the magnetic fields can withstand very high-temperature ion plasma (r=mv/qB)
The electrostatic acceleration, with a correct setup, can reach great kinetic energy (600keV ≈7 billion °C) enough to fuse hydrogen-boron, lithium-6/7, beryllium-9, helium-3, with a fair power consumption (few kilowatts) that can be easily proven by simple and consistent calculations.
The energy of magnetic and electric fields is to play a role of induction, similarly to energy gravitational of the Sun that is not consumed after all; "energy cannot be created or destroyed", it is just released from induced fusion reactions.
note: electric/magnetic forces are much stronger (1036undecillion) than gravitational. F=ke(q1q2)/r² F=G(m1m2)/r² electron mass=0.00091E-27 kg
Even though the direct energy conversion is highly efficient, there will always be some waste heat coming from the electromagnetic radiation, mostly in X-ray range (bremsstrahlung) that is shielded by the tungsten layers. The waste heat can be recycled into electricity using conventional steam turbines or even better using the Multiphase Thermoelectric Converter. The Multiphase Thermoelectric Converter can harvest most of the waste heat from the Aneutronic Fusion Reactor, doubling (or even tripling) the overall efficiency of thermal-to-electric conversion in order to reduce drastically the thermal waste. Internally, it operates by radially forcing the coolant to push axially the electrical charges against electric/magnetic fields.
Aneutronic Fusion is clean and safe, only a minimum of radiation shielding is required. Most of the energy produced by aneutronic fusion is in the form of charged particles instead of neutrons, which can be converted directly into electricity by making they work against electric/magnetic fields that can potentially exceed 90% efficiency.
E=½mv² → v=((E/m)*2)0.5 → v= (89.97919E+12 * 2)0.5 → v=13.41486E+6 m/s
with a superconducting electromagnet 30cm bore (15cm of internal radius)
r=mv/qB → B= (v/r)/(q/m) →
B=(13.41486E+6/0.15)/ 47.86127E+6 → B=1.87 T → ideal ≈ 4 Teslas
A Van de Graaff ( or Pelletron) generator 20MV(20E+6) to accelerate ions at 600keV.
E = qV → (E/m)= (q/m)V → (q/m)=(E/m)/V →
(q/m)=( (600keV * 1.60218E-19)/(3*6.6951E-27))/20E+6=
239.3064E+3 C/kg ≈ 239.4 µC/µg microcoulomb/microgram (charge-to-mass ratio)
Fuel consumption to produce 100 megawatts (mass flow controller and ammeter):
100MW = 100E+6 J/s → 100E+6/( (8.68MeV*1.60218E-19)/(3*6.6951E-27)) =
1.44427E-6 kg/s ≈ 1.45 milligram/second
Ion source current: 1.44427E-6 kg/s * 239.3064E+3 C/kg = 0.3456 C/s ≈ 0.35 Amperes
1.44427E-6 / (3*6.6951E-27) = 72E+18 reactants/second (72 quintillions) which is a very high probability of having fusion reactions as well unburned fuels to be further recycled.
With superconducting electromagnet 4 Teslas 30cm bore, electrostatic generator of 20MV, it is possible to confine and fuse reactants (p-B11) at 600keV and radially confine the charged byproducts (4He).
Aneutronic Fusion - clean and safe, harder to do, but not so difficult after all.
V. Six-pole Embodiment
The six-pole embodiment is conceptually similar to the two-pole embodiment, except that it has six outputs instead of two, generating strong focusing without the neediness of quadrupoles, and quasi-isotropic confinement and injection that make the concept more powerful.
The preferred apparatus is comprised of six superconducting electromagnets interconnected to form a magnetic cusp region, an armature enclosing the electromagnets, electrical insulators (boron nitride) connecting the electromagnets to the armature, an electrostatic generator (Van de Graaff or Pelletron) between the armature and the electromagnets, also an electrically-insulated motor-generator shaft to power the electromagnets; a heat exchange system connected to the electromagnet via electrically-insulated heat exchanger pipes for cooling down the superconducting electromagnets and also to recycle heat energy into electricity; a set of ion sources disposed between the armature and the magnetic cusps, aimed to the reaction chamber. More a vacuum pump connected via insulated pipes to the bore of the electromagnets; optical fibers (high electrical insulation and immunity to EM interference) to control and/or monitor the superconducting electromagnets; and an optional fusion fuel recycler in order to take out any unburned fuel from the fusion byproducts. As previously described: the space between armature and electromagnets can be either empty vacuum or filled with insulating gas(N2, CO2, SF6); the bore of the electromagnets can be optionally coated with an alternate layer of tungsten and boron carbide(W/B4C) to act as an X-ray mirror; and externally connected to each distal extremity: a set of electron guns, a Klystron (or a TWT), and multistage ion collectors; the ion plasma can be either positively or negatively charged: in case of positively charged then the electromagnets must be at negative potential, otherwise at positive potential.
The electrostatic fields and magnetic cusps form a type of "Cusped Penning Trap" resulting in a quasi-isotropic confinement for charged ion plasmas (ions are confined radially by the magnetic fields and trapped longitudinally by the electric fields, and the magnetic cusps act as a magnetic mirror, because the ions describe a helical/excentric orbit around the curved lines of the magnetic cusps, confining efficiently the plasma but still allowing straight-aligned continuous ion injection inwardly toward the magnetic cusps). As previously stated, the charge-to-mass ratio should be as low as possible keeping plasma in a quasi-neutral state. The fuel injection must be well-dosed in small quantity, in order to prevent uncontrolled magnetic reconnection that could damage the superconducting electromagnets. The superconducting electromagnets must be in steady-state mode, continuous operation. The armature must be robust enough to hold the electromagnets together, because the opposite magnetic fields to bottle the ions are very strong, tending to force the electromagnets apart.
Subsequently, the set of ions sources ionize fusion fuel with pre-defined charge-to-mass ratio, then the electrically charged ion plasma (micrograms/second with quintillions of atoms) is naturally attracted and accelerated by electric fields exchanging its potential energy into kinetic energy, passing through the magnetic cusps toward the chamber interior with enough kinetic energy (600keV) for the fusion to occur (the magnetic fields prevent the hot plasma from melting down the reactor core), resulting in charged byproducts overcoming longitudinally the confinement electric field, impelling the charged plasma outwardly toward to the six outputs passing through the Klystron/TWT, transferring energy to the system while forcing electric/magnetic fields for landing smoothly on the multistage collectors to be finally neutralized, and after that, the byproducts can also be recycled in order to separate burned and unburned fuels improving the fuel utilization.
Two-poles: it is a bi-dimensional injection; the electrostatic repulsion tends to misalign the colliding beams, then it is needed Quadrupole Magnets to keep the two beams aligned as they pass through the magnetic cusps of the quadrupoles performing strong focusing;
Six-poles: it is a three-dimensional injection; the electrostatic repulsion converges naturally the ion beams toward a common point exchanging part of kinetic energy into potential energy. It increases the probability of fusion reactions already at the beginning, and the quasi-isotropic confinement is to provoke further fusion reactions.
The CrossFire Fusion Reactor Concept does not need enormous amounts of power making nuclear fusion relatively more energy and cost efficient due to the wise use of electrostatic acceleration instead of energy devourers like magnetic compression and lasers putting it much closer to the practicality than any other mainstream fusion reactor.
Virtually, it is the most dense and environmentally friendly energy source. It can replace more than 10 billion tons/year of carbon dioxide (CO2) by only 10000 tons/year of non-radioactive, inert, safe and light helium-4 gas, which can ascend above the ozone layer and maybe escape to the outer space and be swept by the solar wind.
Boron-11 is relatively plentiful on Earth's crust, (66 TJ/kg ≈18GWh/kg) no more than 0.1% of neutrons;
Helium-3 is abundant on the Moon's regolith, (205 TJ/kg ≈57GWh/kg) virtually neutron-free;
Hereafter, the Phase-shift Plasma Turbine powered by the aneutronic fusion reactor, fueled with p-B11, can provide a powerful and safe propulsion means to start a seek for helium-3 in our solar system.