Nuclear fusion startup, Fuse, is trying to make a mass production version nuclear fusion system based upon the Sandia Z Machine.
The Sandia Z-Machine is a pulsed-power facility and X-ray generator at Sandia National Laboratories. It’s the world’s most powerful electrical device and can create short pulses of electrical energy. The Z-Machine uses electricity to create radiation and high magnetic pressure, which can be used for scientific purposes such as weapons research and fusion energy. The Z-Machine was built in the 1980s and cost more than $80 million to build. The charge voltage for Z shots varies from 50 kV to 95 kV, with a weighted effective value of 80.3 kV. In 2006, the Z-Machine produced plasmas that exceeded temperatures of 2 billion degrees Kelvin.
The Z machine uses the well known principle of Z-pinch where the fast discharge of capacitors through a tube of plasma causes it to be compressed towards its centerline by the resulting Lorentz forces. Bennet successfully researched the application of Z-pinches to plasma compression. The Z machine layout is cylindrical. On the outside it houses huge capacitors discharging through Marx generators which generate a one microsecond high-voltage pulse. Yonas then uses a system to divide this time by a factor of 10, using the dielectric power of water, to enable the creation of 100 ns discharges.
In 2004-2007, $90 million was spent on the Sandia labs retrofit program called ZR (Z Refurbished) to increase its power by 50%. They installed new hardware and components and more powerful Marx generators. The newer Z machine can now shoot around 26 million amperes (instead of 18 million amperes previously) in 95 nanoseconds. The radiated power has been raised to 350 terawatts and the X-ray energy output to 2.7 megajoules.
The complete Fuse startup design of has a 15 layer ring of components for the Marx generator Titan driver will achieve 1 terawatt of power. This is seen as the first major goal of the Fuse hybrid nuclear fusion, nuclear fission startup.
A recent linked in post on November, 2023 seems to show a 25% complete Titan Marx generator with about four layers of the 15 layer terawatt Marx driver.
In July 2023, Fuse had reported success with parallel triggering experiments.
Fuse has generated billions to trillions of neutrons with their mini-Z device.
Fuse still has to build all of the capacitors and other parts of useful prototype. They will not be able to perform meaningful shots until they reach the Z-star system with 15 complete Terawatt marx generator drivers. They are targeting 2025 for 15 Terawatt Z-star system.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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