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The Role of Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion as a Pathway to Fusion Energy

Abstract

We discuss the possible impacts of a new magnetized liner inertial fusion concept on magneto-inertial fusion approaches to fusion energy. Experiments in the last 1.5 years have already shown direct evidence of magnetic flux compression, a highly magnetized fusing fuel, significant compressional heating, a compressed cylindrical fusing plasma, and significant fusion yield. While these exciting results demonstrate several key principles behind magneto-inertial fusion, more work in the coming years will be needed to demonstrate that such targets can scale to ignition and high yield. We argue that justifying significant investment in pulsed inertial fusion energy beyond target development should require well-understood, significant fusion yields to be demonstrated in single-shot experiments. We also caution that even once target ideas and fusion power plants have been demonstrated, historical trends suggest it would still be decades before fusion could materially impact worldwide energy production.

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Notes

  1. We note that oil and natural gas are grouped for clarity in this analysis, because the data show that natural gas is not replacing oil, but augmenting energy supply.

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Sinars, D.B., Campbell, E.M., Cuneo, M.E. et al. The Role of Magnetized Liner Inertial Fusion as a Pathway to Fusion Energy. J Fusion Energ 35, 78–84 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10894-015-0023-4

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Keywords

  • Inertial confinement fusion
  • Magneto-inertial fusion
  • Magnetized target fusion
  • Magnetized liner inertial fusion
  • Fusion energy
  • Market penetration