Monday, October 28, 2013

NIFting LIFE

Recent news that the National Ignition Facility (NIF) has surpassed a critical benchmark – obtaining more energy than provided in a fusion experiment is a significant milestone toward free energy, an outcome that will help solve two tactical problems faced by the Earth, environmental degradation and colliding asteroid vaporization. No cost energy production has become a critical need in a system, wobbling toward extinction, either by the actions of its inhabitants or by space debris that envelop it like fruit flies around a rotten apple.

image Lasers focused on a target container for hydrogen fusion – a mini Sun

Ref: BBC News

NIF, plagued by technical difficulties, has been behind on its own goals. But it seems to have accomplished what it set out to do a full year before. If the results are verified and replicated, they successfully demonstrate the concept of sustainable hot fusion with energy accretion. This should boost efforts to scale up fusion into practical power generation.

image

Ref: LIFE at LLNL

The aptly named, Laser Internal Fusion Energy (LIFE) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has been making conceptual power plant designs based on NIF experiments and it appears that we are moving ever closer to reality. Although the goal is to deliver fusion based commercial energy by 2020, recent advancements may allow an accelerated deployment.

Fusion, the only known source for clean energy, may ultimately help humans sneak out of disaster, just in time.