Simulations of Our Technology
EFS contracted with Voss Scientific, experts in nuclear fusion simulations to expand and validate their industry-leading Chicago software code. Consequently, over the course of five months they investigated our fuel and its nuclear potential, correlated it with other established fusion reactions, and studied our novel lithium-ammonia (solvated electron) liquid metal fuel. This is one of the keys to the EFS fusion breakthrough that we wanted independently confirmed. Naturally, the historical goal for fusion is more power out than in a COP>1.
However, it’s important to remember that all historical attempts at fusion have started with a low-density plasma that is then compressed via different approaches (magnetic and inertial) and ignited via different methods (laser, kinetic and arcing). Yet, the EFS approach is different in that we start with a supercritical dense liquid metal (not plasma) with massive amounts of free electrons in a conductive saturated lithium-ammonia mixture. This is what is classified as proton-lithium fusion, which is a form of aneutronic fusion, without neutrons or harmful radiation. Although the details of our fuel mixture and reactor design are a novel patent-pending approach, the concepts and theoretical basis are sound and supported by rare, but genuine peer-reviewed scientific literature.
Image Credit: Berndthaller
The difficulty of a fusion reaction is characterized by the ignition barrier, the energy required for the nuclei to overcome their mutual Coulomb repulsion and fuse to release energy. It is lowering of this Coulomb barrier that enables our solvated electron liquid metal fuel to improve fusion probabilities. This is a key to the EFS fusion approach and is scientifically supported by 2012 paper that concludes that there is no debate that “Li + proton reactions are greatly enhanced when the reactions occur in a metal environment.” The idea of electron Debye screening as a mechanism to enhance fusion and lower the Coulomb barrier is not new, but it is novel in the EFS fusion fuel and reactor design.
The Chicago software includes the effects of nuclear reactions, ion thermalization, electron ion equilibration, and ion-ion large angle scattering. The possibility of a fusion avalanche or enhanced reactivity in proton-lithium (p-Li) burn proposed by EFS was investigated in detail. It is a method to increase the fusion gain by using an alpha particle source, such as thorium. This up-scattering efficiency enhances the fusion rate to thermalization rate and is a key to determining fusion breakeven with the EFS process.
The classical Lawson criterion for proton-lithium fusion is substantially higher (more challenging) than that for deuterium-tritium (D-T) because the fusion cross section is lower and peaks at higher ion energies. However, the Electron degeneracy in a dense mixture of the EFS fuel is a method for increasing fusion probabilities at lower ignition temperature, which makes reactor design much easier. This shielding the nuclear Coulomb barrier in EFS’s metalized fuel mixture coupled with large up-scattering efficiency lowers the effective Lawson criteria.