Zap energy has made a breakthrough in nuclear fusion technology: commercialization of garage sized reactors may be realized

Chinese industry information station 2022-06-23 17:29:34 阅读数:929


These reactors could be scaled up to bring this experimental form of energy to the grid .

The goal of nuclear fusion research is to reproduce the processes inside the sun , There? , Intense heat and pressure combine to produce a plasma , In which the nuclei fuse to release energy . Most efforts in this field have focused on the use of complex magnetic fields , Suspend these plasma streams in a toroidal reactor like a doughnut , This will be ITER The name of the game , The world's largest nuclear fusion reactor will be operational in this decade .

Z-pinch Although it proposes a very different way forward , But it may turn out to be cheaper and more effective . This is because Z-pinch The system is not a complex network of expensive magnetic coils and expensive shielding materials to protect them , It depends on the electromagnetic field generated by the plasma itself . This pins the plasma into a relatively short column and “ Clip in ” it , Until it becomes hot and dense enough for nuclear fusion .

2019 year , A team of scientists at the University of Washington came up with a solution to the problem of instability . according to the understanding of , These questions are from 20 century 50 It has been bothering me since the beginning of the s Z-pinch technology . at that time , The team demonstrated a method of smoothing plasma flow using shear axial flow known in fluid mechanics , This can help prevent the bumps and distortions that have caused it to collapse in history .

meanwhile , One of the authors of the study Uri Shumlak Has been seeking to use this shear axial flow technology , So that Z-pinch Nuclear fusion technology can become a reality , So , He was in 2017 Co founded in Zap Energy. Last week, , The company achieved a key milestone in its journey -- In its name FuZE-Q The first batch of plasma was created in the prototype reactor of .

As a Zap Energy Of the chief scientific officer Shumlak Say :“ For a long time ,Z-pinch It has always been an attractive way to achieve nuclear fusion , But for years researchers have believed that Z-pinch Plasma instability is an insurmountable challenge . We have shown through simulations and experiments that , Shear flow can stabilize fusion plasma , And this stability should be extended to a commercially viable scale . Since this technology came out of the laboratory ,Zap Energy The team has made rapid progress , Especially the recent growth of team and investment .”

The team has previously worked in 500 Kiloampere (kA) Demonstrated the plasma under the current of , This is the highest current that its previous prototype reactor can handle . But the greater the current , The higher the temperature and density of the plasma , Consider this , The next generation FuZE-Q Designed to accommodate 650kA Current . The team's scientific modeling shows that , This is the point where balance of payments will occur , That is, the energy from the equipment is greater than the energy required to operate it , namely Q=1.

“FuZE-Q It's the fourth generation we built Z-pinch equipment , Undoubtedly the most ambitious ,”Zap Energy Chief technical officer Brian A. Nelson Say ,“ We designed it to be versatile 、 Elastic and adjustable , This is when we increase the current 、 The process of temperature and density will be crucial .”

Zap Energy The team has just finished 1.6 $ C Round of funding , This will further drive its efforts to bring fusion energy forms to market . Since there is no need to use expensive magnets or high-power lasers like other methods , The company envisions large-scale manufacturing of reactors to achieve this goal , These reactors are small enough to fit in a garage . These modular devices can be deployed in remote communities to provide power , Or combine them and expand the scale to provide energy for the whole city .

Zap Energy President Benj Conway Say :“ In order to become a practical energy source , We need far more than Q=1, But if you want nuclear fusion to enter the power grid in time to have an impact on the earth , So in a small 、 The ability to iterate quickly on a cheap platform is absolutely important . We can design it much faster than other methods 、 Build and test the system , And we are working in parallel on the technology we will need on the other side of break even .”

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