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Thermal Analysis of the Z-Pinch Power Plant Concept

M. A. Modesto, E. R. Lindgren, C. W. Morrow

Fusion Science and Technology / Volume 47 / Number 3 / Pages 650-655

April 2005

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In this work, a preliminary thermal model for the Z-Pinch Power Plant is presented. This power plant utilizes fusion energy to generate electric energy in the GW range. The Z-Pinch Technology consists of compressing high-density plasma to produce X-rays to indirectly heat to ignition a deuterium/tritium fusion capsule. This ignition releases a minimum of 3 GJ every 10 seconds. The thermal energy generated is absorbed by the primary cycle fluid, and it is later used to power a Brayton or Rankine cycle. An advanced heat exchanger is used as the interface between the two cycles. This heat exchanger plays an important role in power plant performance. Three fluids (Flibe, Pb-17Li, and Li) were used for the plant performance analysis. The thermodynamic properties of the selected fluids determine the maximum operating temperature of the power cycles. Model results show that high temperatures (over 1000 °C) are developed in the primary cycle as needed to efficiently run the secondary cycle. The results of the performance parametric study demonstrated that the Brayton cycle exhibits better performance characteristics than the Rankine cycle for this type of application.

 
 
 
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