Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are assisting General Electric Co. in developing an electrical switch that could help lower utility bills. The advanced switch “could contribute to a smarter, more advanced, more reliable, and more secure electric grid,” according to the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which is funding the GE project.
Nearly everybody knows about lithium – a light, silvery alkali metal – used in rechargeable batteries powering everything from laptops to hybrid cars. What may not be so well known is the fact that researchers hoping to harness the energy released in fusion reactions also have used lithium to coat the walls of donut-shaped tokamak reactors. Lithium, it turns out, may help the plasmas fueling fusion reactions to retain heat for longer periods of time. This could improve the chances of producing useful energy from fusion.
The Lithium Tokamak eXperiment (LTX) will be discussed in the context of a more general program goal - to develop a compact realization of a tokamak fusion reactor. The general requirements for more compact tokamak reactors will be briefly discussed. The LTX project can investigate some, but not all, of these requirements, on a small scale. Recent results from LTX will be presented. Finally, the development of a toroidal system to test flowing liquid lithium walls, aimed at eventual implementation in a compact D-T tokamak, will be discussed.
The purpose of this symposium is to bring together scientists and engineers actively engaged in research on lithium applications for fusion devices so that recent progress and issues can be discussed in an open forum for the eventual development of attractive fusion reactors.
Robert (Bob) Kaita is head of boundary physics opera- tions for the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) and deputy head of research operations. Kaita
is also a co-principal investigator of the Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX). He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a recipient of the Kaul Foundation Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research. He has supervised the research of many students in the PPPL Program in Plasma Physics in the Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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