For the first time ever, a positive power gain from a controlled fusion reaction has taken place.
Don’t expect fusion reactors soon. The energy in was 2 something and the output was 3 something. But the power at the wall, was something like 300 something.
But . . . This was accomplished with 1980’s technology. There are other methods that are probably better.
What is important is that it will increase research dollars into fusion energy. At this point, I cannot even find a report that has an aggregate number of dollars spent on fusion energy research. My best guess is that is below 250 million a year.
We spent more than 4 times that on senate races this year.
The link at the bottom says 2.05 megajoules (MJ) input and 3.15 MJ output.
3.15 MJ is 875 watt-hours of energy, if that gives a frame of reference. The link also compares it to 3 sticks of dynamite. I don’t understand how the energy received at the wall would be amplified, as you describe.
I wonder how much energy is expended in manufacturing the tiny gold hohlraum target that holds the tritium and deuterium fuel that produces the fusion energy? Also, how much energy is expended to produce that tritium and deuterium? When I consider that less than a kilowatt-hour of energy is produced per laser shot, I tend to think the overall energy balance is still quite negative.
Still, science progresses. I just don’t think this laser blasting of deuterium and tritium is going to produce a workable power plant. The Tokamak magnetic confinement concept has a better chance, but even that has some high engineering hurdles to overcome.
The test was just to see if it worked. It is, in no way, even a hint of the size/shape/spec of a functional fusion reactor. The science boys have found a new toy and now need 20-40 yrs to figure out how to make a commercial version. THEN the fun gets interesting…
I don’t have a link handy, but I read elsewhere that creating the 2 MJ laser input required 300 MJ of external energy “from the wall.” In other words, it took an external 300 MJ to produce the actualized 2 MJ energy in the laser.