Translator:Henyee TranslationsEditor:Henyee Translations
Lu Zhou spent the past few days attending meetings.
Some were internal meetings for the Jinling Institute for Advanced Study, some were for the STAR Stellarator Research Institute, and others were with the companies that were cooperating with STAR
He already had a rough blueprint in his mind for how to implement a controllable nuclear fusion reactor. However, he couldnt execute this blueprint on his own.
He was the chief designer as well as the person in charge of this massive project. Therefore, it was his responsibility to dissect this research project into multiple sections and subsections. He then had to allocate these small projects to various organizations, pinpoint any particularly difficult problems, and concentrate his resources on those problems.
For example, by digging through the relevant literature, one could find out that research problems such as recycling and cleansing tritium and deuterium from the plasma exhaust or safe confinement of tritium had been conducted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Therefore, Lu Zhou didnt have to repeat the research himself. He only had to make sure the people or organizations in these research fields had enough research funding so that they could continue their research and find ways to implement their technologies on the stellarator.
As for the more difficult research projects such as the first wall material, anti-neutron irradiation material, proliferation and extraction of tritium, or tritium stagnation, Lu Zhou wanted to hand them over to the Jinling Institute for Advanced Study.
Three days after the project was launched.
In the STAR Stellarator Research Institute, Lu Zhou met the task force sent by the China National Nuclear Corporation.
The person in charge of the task force was Academician Wang Zengguang, chief engineer of the China National Nuclear Corporation. This old academician had been working in the nuclear industry for many years and had plenty of experience in the design of fission reactors and nuclear power generators.
Even though his experience on fission reactors wasnt fully applicable to fusion reactors, they were both nuclear power, so they still had a lot of similarities.
For example, the design of the generator set.
The old academician brought a design sketch on how to convert the heat energy generated by the reactor into electrical energy.
The concept of a very-high-temperature reactor could be implemented on the nuclear fusion machine.
However, Lu Zhou briefly looked at the sketch and put it down.
Its a waste to boil water using such an advanced piece of technology.
Academician Wang: But you have to admit, boiling water is still the most efficient way.
Lu Zhou shook his head and said, Not necessarily.
Academician Wang didnt say anything. He waited for Lu Zhou to continue.
However, Lu Zhou didnt give an explanation. Instead, he took a piece of A4 paper from his desk. He then picked up a pen and began to sketch on the paper.
After his engineering level reached level four, he could gradually feel the upgrading effects of his engineering level.
If his mathematics level increased his intuition of numbers, ability to calculate, and ability to learn mathematics, then not only did his engineering level increase his ability to absorb engineering knowledge, but it also strengthened his ability to articulate his abstract concepts and ability to convey graphs and numbers.
Like right now.
He had never gone through formal training for drawing engineering blueprints and had only read some related textbooks. However, it was like the muscles in his hands formed a type of muscle memory; all of his strokes were accurate and precise.
Academician Wang looked at Lu Zhou drawing, and his eyes squinted. He had a surprised look on his face.
You know how to draw technical drawings?
Not really. Lu Zhou smiled and said, Its probably because I drew quite a lot of pictures when I was researching topology questions.
Academician Wang couldnt believe this explanation.
Even though he had never studied mathematics before, it was obvious that mathematical drawings were completely different than mechanical drawings.
He knew that without a few years of professional experience, one wouldnt be able to draw these drawings.
Lu Zhou didnt care if Academician Wang believed him or not, he didnt have to explain these unimportant matters. He was concentrating on his work at hand.
He first drew a simple outline of the stellarator. Then, he outlined a simple structure of the generator set.
The more he drew, the clearer the lines were. When Academician Wang finally had a rough idea of what was going on, he raised his eyebrows.
Thats right. Lu Zhou stopped drawing and looked at the paper. He then nodded with satisfaction and said, This is the best I can draw. I havent made any specific designs yet, so Im afraid you will have to do the grunt work.
Just like controllable fusion, ferrofluid energy-generating technology wasnt a particularly new concept. It actually had a long history.
Looking at its timeline, this concept was first proposed together with the Gas Turbine Combined Cycle Power Plants (GTCC).
In the 1980s, ferrofluid electric energy technology was even included as a key project in the 863 Program. It was rated the same importance as that of nuclear fission power.
The full name of the 863 Program was the State High-Tech Development Plan. The projects included were basically the hot topics in the international academic community at that time. Therefore, it was easy to see that the academic community viewed ferrofluid energy as a hot area.
However, the situation changed in the latter half of the twentieth century.
The aerospace and military arms races led to the rapid development of engine and gas utilization technology. The GTCC benefited heavily from this development, which led to it being the main type of power generator.
In contrast, even though ferrofluid technology had a more attractive prospect, it was difficult to achieve due to various technical reasons. Its economic benefits also couldnt keep up with the market demand. Nothing significant came from it for decades, so it was gradually abandoned by the industry and academic community.
Academician Wang looked at the sketch and shook his head. Forgive me, but ferrofluid energy-generating technology isnt perfect, Im afraid its not a suitable choice. The worlds nuclear fission reactors are mainly based on pressurized water reactors. Ive never heard of any nuclear power plant thats using ferrofluid electricity-generating technology.
Lu Zhou knew Academician Wang would say this, so he smiled and continued, That might be the case for nuclear fission, but its not true for nuclear fusion.
Oh yeah? Academician Wang looked amused, and he looked at Lu Zhou as he asked, Why do you say that?
Lu Zhou: The difficulty of ferrofluid energy generation is the gas ionization part. Its difficult to heat the gas beam to 2,000 Celsius and form a plasma beam. Even if this is achievable, this process will incur a lot of thermal energy waste. Its difficult to achieve more than a 20% cycle efficiency with ferrofluid electric energy technology Am I right?
Academician Wang nodded and said in a serious tone, Thats the gist of it.
Even though there were other problems, this problem was undoubtedly the most important.
There were ferrofluid electric energy generators on the market, so a lot of laboratories had the capabilities of making one. Some were powered by coal, while others were powered by fuel. However, no one was able to achieve an energy conversion efficiency of more than 20%.
But if it was nuclear fusion
In the case of nuclear fusion, this problem doesnt exist. Lu Zhou looked at Academician Wangs confused expression and smiled as he said, After all, the nuclear waste generated by the nuclear fusion itself is helium gas, which is billions of degrees hot.
Academician Wangs expression made a subtle change, and he immediately looked at the sketch before quickly realizing what was happening.
Everyone knew that the principle of ferrofluid electric energy was to heat an ionized gas to a temperature of 2,000 degrees. They would then ionize the gas into a conductive plasma beam before cutting the magnetic lines of force to generate an induced electromotive force.
The helium generated by the fusion reaction in the stellarator itself was in the form of a hundred million degrees plasma!
In other words, they didnt have to spend any energy to heat the ionized gas; they could just utilize the plasma that carried these huge amounts of energy!
Using this technology on coal or petrol generators was undoubtedly a waste. However, it was basically made for nuclear fusion power!
It would be a complete waste to use the high-temperature plasma to boil water.
Academician Wang was still staring at the sketch, and there was a flash of excitement in his eyes.
He looked up at Lu Zhou and said in a cautious tone, Youre making sense And this is theoretically possible. However, I cant give you a definitive answer right now. I have to discuss with the other experts in the task force.
He then looked at the sketch on the paper again.
Can I take this technical drawing with me?
Of course you can, Lu Zhou said, I look forward to hearing good news from you.