Tri Alpha Energy

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, United States

Tri Alpha Energy

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, United States
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Flash Physics is our daily pick of the latest need-to-know developments from the global physics community selected by Physics World's team of editors and reporters Tiny particles of silver could boost the performance of tomorrow's optical computers. That is the claim of Tim Liedl and colleagues at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich and Alexander Govorov and team at Ohio University, who have shown that the addition of silver nanoparticles to a chain of gold nanoparticles makes the chain much more efficient at conducting plasmons. Computers could be much faster and more energy efficient in the future if they used light to transmit and process information, rather than the electrical signals used today. However, the light that is most efficient at transmitting data over optical fibres has a wavelength greater than 1 μm, which is huge compared to the current size of computer circuits. One way of creating tiny optical circuits is to "shrink" the wavelength of the light by converting it into a plasmon – an oscillation in the conduction electrons of a metal that occurs when the material interacts with light. Once converted to plasmons, data within an optical signal could be processed in high-density chips. Plasmons can be conducted through a circuit using a chain of tiny gold particles, with diameters measuring just tens of nanometres. One problem, however, is that plasmon transmission in gold results in the generation of a significant amount of heat – making such conductors no more efficient than those found in conventional computer circuits. Liedl, Govorov and colleagues have shown that putting a silver nanoparticle (diameter 30 nm) between two gold nanoparticles (diameters 40 nm) results in plasmons being conducted along the chain with almost no energy lost to heat. The research is described in Nature Physics. An icy debris ring surrounding a neighbouring planetary system has a chemical kinship with solar-system comets. An international team reached this conclusion after making the first complete image of the rubble ring using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submilimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. The planetary system is 25 light-years from Earth and a tenth the age of the solar system. Orbiting Fomalhaut – a young star with twice the mass of the Sun – the system contains one of only 20 planets that scientists have imaged directly. Debris rings are common features for young stars and are thought to be caused by collisions between comets and planetesimals during the system's chaotic early life. Light from Fomalhaut is absorbed by the rubble and re-emitted as radio waves before being captured by ALMA. The new image shows Fomalhaut's ring in full, revealing an elongated band of icy dust. "We can finally see the well-defined shape of the disc, which may tell us a great deal about the underlying planetary system responsible for its highly distinctive appearance," says Meredith MacGregor of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in the US. The researchers estimate the band is about two billion km wide and around 20 billion km from Fomalhaut. They also found that the ring's relative abundance of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide resembles comets found in the solar system. This suggests the system is going through its own Late Heavy Bombardment – a period four billion years ago when the solar-system planets were frequently struck by asteroids and comets left over from the system's formation. Two papers presenting the work have been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal. The nuclear physicist and former head of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Ernest Moniz has joined the board of directors of Tri Alpha Energy. Based in Foothill Ranch, California, the privately held company is trying to develop an "aneutronic" fusion power system that is based on nuclear-fusion reactions that do not produce large amounts of neutrons. If it can be made to produce energy on a commercial scale, the company's ion-beam-based system would not have to contend with the damaging neutron radiation that would be generated in other fusion power schemes. Moniz served as US energy secretary under Barack Obama in 2013–2017 and is currently an emeritus professor of physics and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Upon joining the board, Dr. Moniz added that, "as someone dedicated to innovation breakthroughs for a low-carbon energy future, I am pleased to join outstanding colleagues at Tri Alpha Energy who see the company's technology offering the real possibility of just such a game-changer." Moniz served as the Secretary of Energy from May 2013 to January 2017.  As Secretary, he advanced energy technology innovation, cutting-edge capabilities for the American scientific research community, and environmental stewardship.  He strengthened the Department of Energy's (DOE) strategic partnerships with its seventeen national laboratories and with the Department of Defense and the broader national security establishment.  Moniz's involvement in national energy policy began in 1995, when he served as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President. He later oversaw the Department of Energy's science, energy and security programs as Under Secretary from 1997 to 2001.  He was also a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology from 2009 to 2013 and received the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award in 2016. Before his appointment as Secretary in 2013, Moniz had a noteworthy career spanning four decades at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dr. Moniz was Head of the MIT Department of Physics during 1991-1995 and 1997, and was the Founding Director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and Director of the Laboratory for Energy and the Environment.  He was a leader of various multidisciplinary technology and policy studies on the future of energy in a low-carbon world.  Currently, he is the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems emeritus, Special Advisor to the MIT President and has been announced as co-chairman and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative.  Dr. Moniz is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Harvard Belfer Center and the inaugural Distinguished Fellow of the Emerson Collective. Moniz has served on numerous public and private boards, including the Department of Defense Threat Reduction Advisory Committee and the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.  He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Humboldt Foundation, and the American Physical Society. Tri Alpha Energy is leveraging breakthrough science and engineering to solve the quintessential problem of our time: how to harness an unlimited and powerful source of clean, renewable energy. With pioneering work in advanced plasma physics, and an abundant and safe fuel source found in common beach sand, Tri Alpha Energy is recreating the same natural process that occurs in stars: the fusion of hydrogen atoms in a hot plasma gas, releasing tremendous amounts of energy. The company applies advanced particle accelerator and plasma physics in order to create a commercially competitive fusion electric generator that is compact, safe, carbon-free and sustainable, creates no environmental or health hazards, produces only helium, is not a controlled substance, and is non-radioactive. From its headquarters in California, Tri Alpha Energy is solving energy for the world.  For more information, please visit www.trialphaenergy.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/former-us-energy-secretary-ernest-moniz-joins-board-of-directors-for-fusion-energy-leader-tri-alpha-energy-300459608.html


The achievement is the first publicly-announced result of a multi-year relationship between TAE and Google, which began in 2014 to apply machine learning to advance plasma research. Plasma science is a challenging field of study as its subject exhibits complicated behaviors and relies on engineering mechanisms that themselves pose variable conditions and input parameters. Experimental by nature, plasma fusion devices require human judgement to assess results and ensure the operations of one-of-a-kind machinery, further limiting traditional test capabilities. To increase the speed of learning within these boundaries, researchers from the two companies innovated upon a stochastic perturbation method, one similar to those used in large-scale population and atmospheric models, by incorporating an element of human choice.  The team's "Optometrist Algorithm," like an eye exam, requires researchers to choose between successive pairs of possible outcomes identified within the experiment to focus on those producing subjectively better results for fusion experiments. This groundbreaking technique led to the discovery of unexpected plasma confinement results increasing net heating power within TAE's proprietary field-reversed configuration plasma generator, a more than 50% reduction in energy loss rate and concomitant increase in ion temperature and total plasma energy.  Experimental settings specifically revealed particle beam heating led to sustained ion temperature increases, marking significant improvements in plasma containment and stability. "Results like this might take years to solve without the power of advanced computation to rapidly scale our understanding of the complex properties of plasma.  This research, years in the making, has already allowed us to advance our science, and I am grateful for the longstanding collaboration with Google as it illustrates how, with a lean start-up design, TAE can direct research to outcomes that specifically advance and accelerate our mission to generate clean, safe and abundant energy through fusion technology," said Michl Binderbauer, TAE's President and Chief Technology Officer. The full paper can be read here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-06645-7. Building on the success of the Optometrist Algorithm, Google and TAE will continue to collaborate on Norman, the company's new plasma generator, which initiated operations last month. With nearly 20 years of focused research, TAE is leveraging proprietary science and engineering to solve the quintessential problem of our time: how to harness an unlimited and powerful source of clean, renewable energy. Using a unique pathway to fusion energy powered by nature's own processes that we call Friendly Fusion, the company's approach combines advanced accelerator and plasma physics to create a commercially viable fusion power plant that is compact, safe, carbon-free and sustainable. For more information, please visit www.tae.com.


News Article | July 10, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

The $100MM plasma generator, the fifth in a series of devices built over the last 20 years, will continue validation of the company's underlying technology and enable commercialization efforts toward delivering utility-scale fusion energy.  With Norman now operational, the company will continue to move quickly down its developmental path, expanding temperature ranges and sustaining plasma for longer periods towards perfecting the essential operating characteristics required to sustain fusion reactions.  Over the coming months, the company will be accelerating Norman's levels of performance to further validate the fundamental confinement requirements that will ultimately be necessary for commercial operations. Michl Binderbauer, President and CTO, commented that "this important milestone is a great achievement for our company, and will allow us to further our leadership in breakthrough fusion technology, while critically validating our unique vision of generating clean, sustainable and abundant energy. It is a great honor to nickname this machine Norman after our late founder and mentor Norman Rostoker, as we believe this machine will continue to prove the approach to plasma physics he first envisioned and to which he dedicated his life." Like previous iterations of the device, Norman uses an advanced field-reverse configuration (FRC) combined with intense neutral beam injection to create and confine plasma. Construction on this fifth-generation machine began in June of 2016, and it sits in a newly designed headquarters facility and control room in Foothill Ranch, CA.  It takes the place of the company's previous plasma generator, C-2U, which was able to successfully achieve its critical milestones including at-will plasma sustainment in June of 2015.  Norman expands upon these milestones with the opportunity to bring forward new understandings in plasmas dominated by highly energetic particles. TAE is leveraging proprietary science and engineering – developed over nearly 20 years of focused research – to solve the quintessential problem of our time: harnessing an unlimited and powerful source of clean, renewable energy with boron as its fuel source. Using a unique pathway to fusion energy powered by nature's own processes that we call "Friendly Fusion," the company's approach combines advanced accelerator and plasma physics to create a commercially viable fusion power plant that is compact, safe, carbon-free and sustainable.  For more information, please visit www.trialphaenergy.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tri-alpha-energy-achieves-first-plasma-in-worlds-most-advanced-plasma-generator-300484827.html


Patent
Tri Alpha Energy | Date: 2017-07-05

Systems and methods utilizing successive, axially symmetric acceleration and adiabatic compression stages to heat and accelerate two compact tori towards each other and ultimately collide and compress the compact tori within a central chamber. Alternatively, systems and methods utilizing successive, axially asymmetric acceleration and adiabatic compression stages to heat and accelerate a first compact toroid towards and position within a central chamber and to heat and accelerate a second compact toroid towards the central chamber and ultimately collide and merge the first and second compact toroids and compress the compact merge tori within the central chamber.


Patent
Tri Alpha Energy | Date: 2017-01-25

A negative ion-based neutral beam injector comprising a negative ion source, accelerator and neutralizer to produce about a 5 MW neutral beam with energy of about 0.50 to 1.0 MeV. The ions produced by the ion source are pre-accelerated before injection into a high energy accelerator by an electrostatic multi-aperture grid pre-accelerator, which is used to extract ion beams from the plasma and accelerate to some fraction of the required beam energy. The beam from the ion source passes through a pair of deflecting magnets, which enable the beam to shift off axis before entering the high energy accelerator. After acceleration to full energy, the beam enters the neutralizer where it is partially converted into a neutral beam. The remaining ion species are separated by a magnet and directed into electrostatic energy converters. The neutral beam passes through a gate valve and enters a plasma chamber.


News Article | May 11, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

In his new role – which recognizes his leadership – Binderbauer will continue to report to CEO Steve Specker. As Tri Alpha Energy pursues the development of its fusion technology, Binderbauer will focus on the strategic direction and execution of the company's efforts. "Tri Alpha Energy is on the way to validating our environmentally-friendly fusion solution, thanks to rapid advancements in technology and the near-completion of our 5th generation Plasma Electric Generator," said Dr. Specker. "Having already proven his effectiveness in managing our people and progressing our science, this appointment will allow Michl to broaden his successful oversight in the company." "Having dedicated my professional career to help building this company, and seeing how close we are to realizing the dream I shared with Norman 25 years ago, assuming the role of President allows me to further catalyze our efforts and expands my commitment to our team as we hone in on our final technical milestones and realize our shared vision of providing limitless, clean and affordable energy technology to the world," said Binderbauer. The company is backed by more than $500 million in private capital from some of the world's leading energy and technology investors and is well along the path to validating both the science and engineering integration. Tri Alpha Energy is unique in the use of its advanced, abundant and affordable feedstock of hydrogen and boron, which makes it the only company pursuing a path to fusion that does not create harmful byproducts. Its latest Plasma Electric Generator, intended to prove that it can achieve temperatures "hot enough" to validate the path to fusion power, will begin operation this summer. About Tri Alpha Energy  Tri Alpha Energy is leveraging breakthrough science and engineering to solve the quintessential problem of our time: harnessing an unlimited and powerful source of clean, renewable energy. With a unique fusion energy pathway empowered by nature's own processes, the company's purpose-built approach applies advanced particle accelerator and plasma physics in order to create a commercially competitive fusion power plant that is compact, safe, carbon-free and sustainable. From its headquarters in California, Tri Alpha Energy is solving energy for the world. For more information, please visit www.trialphaenergy.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/tri-alpha-energy-appoints-cto-michl-binderbauer-as-company-president-300455747.html


Patent
Tri Alpha Energy | Date: 2016-03-31

Systems and methods for the conversion of energy of high-energy photons into electricity which utilize a series of materials with differing atomic charges to take advantage of the emission of a large multiplicity of electrons by a single high-energy photon via a cascade of Auger electron emissions. In one embodiment, a high-energy photon converter preferably includes a linearly layered nanometric-scaled wafer made up of layers of a first material sandwiched between layers of a second material having an atomic charge number differing from the atomic charge number of the first material. In other embodiments, the nanometric-scaled layers are configured in a tubular or shell-like configuration and/or include layers of a third insulator material.


A high performance field reversed configuration (FRC) system includes a central confinement vessel, two diametrically opposed reversed-field-theta-pinch formation sections coupled to the vessel, and two divertor chambers coupled to the formation sections. A magnetic system includes quasi-dc coils axially positioned along the FRC system components, quasi-dc mirror coils between the confinement chamber and the formation sections, and mirror plugs between the formation sections and the divertors. The formation sections include modular pulsed power formation systems enabling static and dynamic formation and acceleration of the FRCs. The FRC system further includes neutral atom beam injectors, pellet injectors, gettering systems, axial plasma guns and flux surface biasing electrodes. The beam injectors are preferably angled toward the midplane of the chamber. In operation, FRC plasma parameters including plasma thermal energy, total particle numbers, radius and trapped magnetic flux, are sustainable at or about a constant value without decay during neutral beam injection.


Patent
Tri Alpha Energy | Date: 2015-03-03

A negative ion-based neutral beam injector comprising a negative ion source, accelerator and neutralizer to produce about a 5 MW neutral beam with energy of about 0.50 to 1.0 MeV. The ions produced by the ion source are pre-accelerated before injection into a high energy accelerator by an electrostatic multi-aperture grid pre-accelerator, which is used to extract ion beams from the plasma and accelerate to some fraction of the required beam energy. The beam from the ion source passes through a pair of deflecting magnets, which enable the beam to shift off axis before entering the high energy accelerator. After acceleration to full energy, the beam enters the neutralizer where it is partially converted into a neutral beam. The remaining ion species are separated by a magnet and directed into electrostatic energy converters. The neutral beam passes through a gate valve and enters a plasma chamber.

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