An Australian fusion startup called HB11, a spin-off from the University of New South Wales, claims to have found a way to revolutionize current nuclear fusion technology, potentially laying the groundwork for a new era of power generation — without running the risk of a nuclear meltdown.
Fusion energy, as its name suggests, harnesses the energy released from when atomic nuclei fuse together, as opposed to fission, which splits nuclei apart to generate electricity. After the publication of this story, though, the press release reappeared. The backup release makes extraordinary claims.
It says HB11 has found a new way that does away with the current fusion energy approach that requires inordinately high temperatures and pressure levels to work.
The technique relies on hydrogen and a boron B isotope — instead of extremely rare and expensive radioactive isotopes such as tritium — and employs a specialized set of lasers to get the reaction going.
No nuclear waste, no steam, zero chance of a nuclear meltdown. It almost sounds too good to be true — but the startup still has a lot to prove. Privacy Settings. Share to Facebook.
Fusion Startup Claims Breakthrough Will Provide “Unlimited” Energy
Read This Next. Game of Renewable Thrones. Bold Statement. Next Article.First functioning laser. Prof Heinrich Hora pursues research into nuclear fusion with lasers.
Patents Secured for Revolutionary Nuclear Fusion Technology
HB11 Energy team file first patent and publish scientific roadmap. Strickland and Mourou win Nobel Prize in Physics. HB11 Energy Pty Ltd started.
First patent granted in US. Hydrogen-boron 11 fusion HB11, also known as proton-boron fusion has always been the ultimate fusion reaction. It does not create radioactive waste and its fuels are both abundant in nature and non-radioactive. Few researchers had studied this reaction as it was considered scientifically too difficult given temperatures required to ignite the reaction are more than times higher than that of the sun. C by an approach using high power lasers.
At the time, laser technology was in its infancy and the laser properties required did not yet exist. This experiment set a direction of high-power laser technology development, which has more recently reached the requirements predicted by Hora to achieve the HB11 reaction. It also won Strickland and Mourou the Nobel prize in Physics. These results alone put the HB11 reaction ahead of most other fusion technology companies who are yet to demonstrate any reactions.
This is important as it is a means by which the HB11 reaction can achieve the biggest challenge amongst all fusion approaches, to achieve a net-energy gain. In contrast, the HB11 concept offers a simple alternative as it does not require heating fuels to such excessive temperatures, thus, it will not encounter anywhere near the level of technical and engineering challenges faced by all other fusion approaches.
As it converts nuclear power directly into electricity, plants can be much smaller as they do not need steam turbines and generators required for coal or conventional nuclear power. Our story began 60 years ago.HB11 Energy is a spin-out company that originated at the University of New South Wales, and it announced today a swag of patents through Japan, China and the USA protecting its unique approach to fusion energy generation. Fusion, of course, is the long-awaited clean, safe theoretical solution to humanity's energy needs.
It's how the Sun itself makes the vast amounts of energy that have powered life on our planet up until now. Where nuclear fission — the splitting of atoms to release energy — has proven incredibly powerful but insanely destructive when things go wrong, fusion promises reliable, safe, low cost, green energy generation with no chance of radioactive meltdown.
It's just always been 20 years away from being 20 years away. A number of multi-billion dollar projects are pushing slowly forward, from the Max Planck Institute's insanely complex Wendelstein 7-X stellerator to the nation ITER Tokamak project, and most rely on a deuterium-tritium thermonuclear fusion approach that requires the creation of ludicrously hot temperatures, much hotter than the surface of the Sun, at up to 15 million degrees Celsius 27 million degrees Fahrenheit.
This is where HB11's tech takes a sharp left turn. The results of decades of research by Emeritus Professor Heinrich Hora, HB11's approach to fusion does away with rare, radioactive and difficult fuels like tritium altogether — as well as those incredibly high temperatures.
Instead, it uses plentiful hydrogen and boron B, employing the precise application of some very special lasers to start the fusion reaction. Here's how HB11 describes its "deceptively simple" approach: the design is "a largely empty metal sphere, where a modestly sized HB11 fuel pellet is held in the center, with apertures on different sides for the two lasers.
The alpha particles generated by the reaction would create an electrical flow that can be channeled almost directly into an existing power grid with no need for a heat exchanger or steam turbine generator. HB11's Managing Director Dr. Warren McKenzie clarifies over the phone: "A lot of fusion experiments are using the lasers to heat things up to crazy temperatures — we're not. We're using the laser to massively accelerate the hydrogen through the boron sample using non-linear forced.
You could say we're using the hydrogen as a dart, and hoping to hit a boronand if we hit one, we can start a fusion reaction.
That's the essence of it. If you've got a scientific appreciation of temperature, it's essentially the speed of atoms moving around. Creating fusion using temperature is essentially randomly moving atoms around, and hoping they'll hit one another, our approach is much more precise. We just have to collect that charge. Essentially, the lack of electrons is a product of the reaction and it directly creates the current.
The lasers themselves rely upon cutting-edge "Chirped Pulse Amplification" technology, the development of which won its inventors the Nobel prize in Physics. Much smaller and simpler than any of the high-temperature fusion generators, HB11 says its generators would be compact, clean and safe enough to build in urban environments.
There's no nuclear waste involved, no superheated steam, and no chance of a meltdown. It's been shown that you can create fusion conditions without hundreds of millions of degrees. This is completely new knowledge. I've been working on how to accomplish this for more than 40 years.
It's a unique result. Now we have to convince the fusion people — it works better than the present day hundred million degree thermal equilibrium generators.
We have something new at hand to make a drastic change in the whole situation. A substitute for carbon as our energy source. A radical new situation and a new hope for energy and the climate. Indeed, says Hora, experiments and simulations on the laser-triggered chain reaction are returning reaction rates a billion times higher than predicted. This cascading avalanche of reactions is an essential step toward the ultimate goal: reaping far more energy from the reaction than you put in.HB11 Energy will realize electricity generation with the fusion of hydrogen and boron HB11 using lasers.
It will create an unlimited source of clean, safe and reliable energy using fuels that are abundant in nature using a reaction that does not produce any radioactive waste.
Other fusion approaches require temperatures of tens or hundreds of millions of degrees Celciusa technical hurdle that has held all back from practical energy generation for decades. For Scientists Are you part of the Scientific Community? Here is the latest information on our project.
For Press. Managing Director Ph. He is an experienced entrepreneur with considerable experience establishing large scientific collaborations and companies from them. Financial Director, has a background in investment banking, with broad knowledge of regulated and unregulated investment vehicles, crowdfunding and fintech companies. Jan is responsible for the financial and legal aspects of the company.
The team has recently appointed a Scientific Advisory Board consisting of the few experts in the field of laser fusion. As heads of internationally significant research facilities, they have been crucial to designing the next-stage POC protocol. In addition to his scientific background, board member Michael Campbell brings HB11 his wealth of experience heading development of large fusion research projects.
After a couple of months planning, we are delighted to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website. We wanted a new website to better collaborate with our investors, partners and scientific community. We hope you like the fresh new look to the brand website, and the improved navigation that will allow you to find…. We are fundraising! Please contact us for full details in an investor pack.
There are lots of big reasons to invest in HB11 Energy. Here are just a few.HB11, is Australian-based startup pursuing boron fusion using a high-powered laser pulse. The company is based on the work of Dr. Heinrich Hora.4 Fusion Breakthroughs From The Last Year - Answers With Joe
Warren McKenzie is the founder and managing director of HB He holds a PhD in material science with a specialization in Nanotechnology.
Mckenzie has to 17 scientific research publications, 1 patent and is the winner of 2 distinguished research awards. Warren has also co-founded and managed three companies in the materials, energy and biotechnology space — taking on the role of business development manager. Hora has contributed to 12 books on laser behavior and plasma-laser interaction. Jan Kirchoff is a finance specialist with broad knowledge of regulated and unregulated investment vehicles, crowdfunding and fintech companies.
Compact Fusion Systems. CT Fusion. Princeton Fusion Systems. Horne Technologies. Event Details. Company Summary HB11, is Australian-based startup pursuing boron fusion using a high-powered laser pulse. Pitch Date: Wednesday July 10th Team Members.Scientists in Australia are making some astonishing claims about a new nuclear reactor technology. The company's technology uses lasers to trigger a nuclear fusion reaction in hydrogen and boron—purportedly with no radioactive fuel required. The secret is a cutting-edge laser and, well, an element of luck.
Instead, it speeds up the hydrogen to the point where it hopefully collides with the boron to begin a reaction. The laser itself is a landmark invention as well—without it, Hora could likely not have created a working idea and patented it after those four decades of research.
Inthree scientists split the Nobel Prize in Physics for the decades-old chirped pulse laser, including the first woman recipient since Marie Curie. These include fussy and volatile designs like the tokamak or stellaratorwhich can take months to get up to functionality and still spin out of working order in a matter of microseconds. Indeed, in nuclear development, nothing is fast—but if this reactor works the way the scientists say it does, it could change everything. Type keyword s to search.
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Kittiphat Abhiratvorakul Getty Images. Could the key to nuclear fusion be a low-temperature reactor with no radioactive fuel or waste? Startup HB11 joins other groups seeking to shift our nuclear paradigm altogether. In HB11s reactor, lasers collide hydrogen and boron together to generate charged helium atoms. You'll Love These. Related Stories. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.
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More From Science.Aneutronic fusion is any form of fusion power in which very little of the energy released is carried by neutrons.
Successful aneutronic fusion would greatly reduce problems associated with neutron radiation such as damaging ionizing radiationneutron activationand requirements for biological shielding, remote handling and safety.
Since it is simpler to convert the energy of charged particles into electrical power than it is to convert energy from uncharged particles, an aneutronic reaction would be attractive for power systems. Some proponents see a potential for dramatic cost reductions by converting energy directly to electricity, as well as in eliminating the radiation from neutrons, which are difficult to shield against. Several nuclear reactions produce no neutrons on any of their branches.
Those with the largest cross sections are these:. Fusion reactions can be categorized by the neutronicity of the reaction, the fraction of the fusion energy released as neutrons.
This is an important indicator of the magnitude of the problems associated with neutrons like radiation damage, biological shielding, remote handling, and safety.
HB11 - the FUTURE of laser fusion of hydrogen and boron-11 for energy production
The difficulty of a fusion reaction is characterized by the energy required for the nuclei to overcome their mutual electrostatic repulsion, the so-called Coulomb barrier. This is a function of the total electrical charge of the fuel ions, and is thus minimized for those ions with the lowest number of protons. Countering the electrostatic repulsion is the nuclear forcewhich increases with the number of nucleons.
In most fusion reactor concepts, the energy needed to overcome the Coulomb barrier is provided by collisions with other fuel ions. In a thermalized fluid like a plasma, the temperature corresponds to an energy spectrum according to the Maxwell—Boltzmann distribution. Gasses in this state will have a population of particles with very high energy even if the bulk of the gas has an average energy much lower. Fusion devices rely on this distribution; even at bulk temperatures far below the Coulomb barrier energy, the energy released by the reactions is so great that capturing some of that back in the fuel will cause the population of high-energy ions within it to be high enough to keep the reaction going.
Thus, steady operation of the reactor is based on a balance between the rate that energy is added to the fuel by the fusion reactions and the rate energy is lost to the surroundings through a wide variety of processes. This concept is best expressed as the fusion triple productthe product of the temperature, density and "confinement time", the amount of time energy remains in the fuel before escaping to the environment.
The product of temperature and density gives the reaction rate for any given fuel. Any given fusion device has a maximum plasma pressure it can sustain, and an economical device would always operate near this maximum. A plasma is "ignited" if the fusion reactions produce enough power to maintain the temperature without external heating. Because the Coulomb barrier is a product of the number of nucleons in the fuel ions, varieties of heavy hydrogen, deuterium and tritium D-Tgive the fuel with the lowest total Coulomb barrier.
All other potential fuels will have higher Coulomb barrier, and thus require higher operational temperatures.