C.WEGGEL

Carl Weggel is a Board Advisor - Magnet Design /Magnet Design / Magnetic Shielding. A 50-year, persistent advocate of the compact, ultra-high-field-tokamak route to commercial fusion energy:  the compact, affordable, universally-available, carbon-free solution to the scourge of Climate Change.  I have been invited by Kronos Fusion Energy to help them design and build the ultimate commercial fusion-energy generators (amongst other duties).

 

In 1973-75, I was entrusted by MIT's Dr. D. Bruce Montgomery with the design of the audacious, 14-tesla Toroidal Field (TF) magnet of MIT's record-setting tokamak, Alcator "C," which still holds the world's record for high magnetic field.  In 1980, Bruce Montgomery recommended me to INESCO, a daring fusion start-up in San Diego, CA, where--from 1980-84--I led their Magnet Division, designing their 30-tesla Ohmic Heating (OH) and 16-tesla TF magnets of their Riggatrons.  Had the anticipated funds become available, the Riggatrons might well have been the world's first Q ~40, power-generating tokamaks.  In 2018-20, my twin brother, Bob, and I worked for Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS)--a "spin-out" of MIT.  Together with a superb, expert, 6-member team of similarly-inspired, audacious engineers, we designed the magnets of CFS's SPARC (Soonest-Possible, Affordable, Robust, Compact) tokamak.  Bob and I advocated for innovations that enabled ever-more ambitious performance.  With incredible rapidity, the team successfully increased SPARC's performance by a factor of five, from Q>2 to Q=11.  SPARC's performance now surpasses even that of ITER (International Tokamak Energy Reactor)--at a mere 2% of the cost!  The intention of ARC--SPARC's power-generating successor--is to be the world's first Q=40 tokamak by the early 2030s.

 

ARC's one major drawback, however, is that its proposed fuel is the standard neutronic D-T (deuterium plus tritium), thereby generating a torrent of hazardous, 14 MeV neutrons during operation.  These neutrons require meter-thick shielding/"thermalization".  Furthermore, extraction of usable power is both cumbersome and inefficient; due to the limits of conventional steam or gas turbines, the Carnot efficiency of the thermalized neutrons is rarely more than 30%.  Kronos recognizes this drawback and will exploit the far-superior, aneutronic ultimate fuel source:  D-He3 (deuterium plus helium3).  With this fuel source, protons, not neutrons, dominate.  Having an electrical charge, these protons can be manipulated by magnetic and electrical fields.  Thus, protons can efficiently generate electric power---with near 100% Carnot efficiency--using a standard magneto hydrodynamic (MHD) generator. Lastly, this same D-He3 fuel is exploited by Fusion Direct Drive, another major endeavor of Kronos Fusion Energy.