One of the things to come to my attention recently has been work done over the past 15 years by EMC2 on electrodynamically contained fusors. This is a different approach towards fusion energy than has been pursued by the DoE (Tokamak reactors) for the past 30 years.

I've also been made aware of the fact that we are having a helium shortage globally.

My thought was: since fusion reactors generate helium, perhaps commercially viable fusion plants will help offset the helium shortage.

Then I ran the numbers: A PolyWell fusion plant using the p-B11 reaction that meets the electric generation usage of the world today would make about 1 tonne of helium per year, while consuming about 1 tonne of boron and 100kg of hydrogen. That's assuming 100% efficiency, which is ridiculous. However, assuming only 5% efficiency means that it'll generate only 20t of helium.

That's nowhere near enough to offset the helium shortage.

(Deleted comment)blaisepascalMy actual calculations yielded 20 TWh of energy for 1029kg of resulting He4, based on p +

^{11}B -> 3^{4}He + 8.7MeV. I get 78 MWh (er, 280 GJ or so) per mol of He produced. That yields 280 kmol of helium produced for 20TWh, or about 1 tonne of helium.(Or, working backwards, 1 mol H + 1 mol B -> 3 mol He + 840 GJ, or 86kmol H + 86kmol B -> 258Kmol He + 20TWh.)

blaisepascal(Semi-seriously... I tried to gulp maths too fast in high-school. I took college-level pre-calc algebra and trig during summer vacation between 7th and 8th grade, and Calc I during summer vacation between 8th and 9th grade, got an A in both, but failed to succeed in Calc II after school in 9th grade. As such, I never really mastered the skill of integration. I didn't have to do any further maths until university, where I took probability, statistics, and discrete math, none of which really called for understanding higher calculus. I ended up taking category theory before taking abstract or linear algebra (which was fun, since the two categories used for examples of everything were the category of sets and functions between sets (aka abstract algebra) and the category of vector spaces and linear transformations between vector spaces (aka linear algebra)). I didn't get into differential equations, topology, differential geometry, etc. Even with group theory, I find there are odd holes in my understanding (I just realized two weeks ago, for instance, that conjugation between subgroups is an equivalence relation. I haven't worked out the full details of what that means, but it seems like it should be very important, but I don't recall it ever being mentioned before). I find most discussions of "higher maths" to be too abstract -- I get lost in a sea of symbols without anything to tie it down to in my brain. This hurts me when it comes to higher physics because a lot of things become very abstract. I know SU(n) is the special Unitary group (group of nXn matrices with UU

^{†}=I with determinant of 1), and I can even tell you what each of those symbols mean, but that doesn't mean I understand its properties or could give a rough guess (without looking it up) as to its dimensions, etc. I know of the Pauli and Dirac matrices, but get confused when I see γ^{5}, as that doesn't appear to be like the other Dirac matrices. I get lost by Einstein's summation convention.So I'm not sure I was cut out for physics.