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Now, the analysis of measured data from the first round of experiments, carried out from December 2015 to March 2016, has confirmed that both requirements – good particle confinement and a small bootstrap current – have been successfully implemented in the optimized field geometry of Wendelstein 7-X. “The first experimental campaign has therefore already succeeded in verifying key aspects of the optimization,” says the paper’s first author, Dr. Andreas Dinklage. “This will be followed by a more precise and systematic evaluation in future experiments with a significantly higher heating power and plasma pressure.”
Inside your home and office, low-voltage alternating current (AC) powers the lights, computers and electronic devices for everyday use. But when the electricity comes from remote long-distance sources such as hydro-power or solar generating plants, transporting it as direct current (DC) is more efficient — and converting it back to AC current requires bulky and expensive switches. Now the General Electric (GE) company, with assistance from scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), is developing an advanced switch that will convert high- voltage DC current to high-voltage AC current for consumers more efficiently, enabling reduced-cost transmission of long-distance power. As a final step, substations along the route reduce the high-voltage AC current to low-voltage current before it reaches consumers.
GE is testing a tube filled with plasma [...] that the company is developing as the conversion device. The switch must be able to operate for years with voltage as high as 300 kilovolts to enable a single unit to cost-effectively replace the assemblies of power semiconductor switches now required to convert between DC and AC power along transmission lines.
The results from the PPPL model are both scientifically interesting and favorable for high-voltage gas switch design.
-Timothy Sommerer, GE physicist