FUSION TORCH APPLICATIONS FOR HYDROGEN PRODUCTION AND ORE PROCESSING
Nuclear sources, both fission and fusion, are key approaches for large scale production of hydrogen for the future hydrogen economy. Most work to date has focused on use of heat from a nuclear plant for either high temperature electrolysis or thermo-chemical conversion. Here, we revisit the fusion approach using a radically different process where water is injected directly into an exhaust plasma flow, much in the manner suggested originally for the fusion torch concept for waste recycling
. The water is ionized in the flowing plasma and separated into H2 and O2 using an electrostatic direct collection section. Other fuel species are also separated out with their excess kinetic energy being directly converted to electricity by the electrostatic converter. Our study assumes an jet mode IEC fusion reactor since its natural exhaust plasma flow is ideally suited for such operation. This approach offers several key advantages. Very pure H2 and O2 are obtained with high conversion efficiency. Also, since excess (waste) energy is directly converted to electricity, the overall dual electricalhydrogen plant efficiency is very competitive.
Updated April 11, 2009.