Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: Re: Deuterium refining
Date: Jun 03, 09:07 am
Poster: Richard Hull

On Jun 03, 09:07 am, Richard Hull wrote:

> To all,
> If seawater has a fair amount of deuterium in it
>why can't we extracet it by electrolysis or such
>of seawater.
> Seems to me that could be done but how would one
>go about seperating the D from H2???
> Any ideas on this , I would really to know.
> Bob


I believe I put a complete description on D2 separation on the HV list serv run by Steve Roys. This is where I put all my earliest fusor posts. (that was prior to the perfesser giving us this nice fusor and fusion specific posting area.)

To summerize, The process is tedious, massive and is often a byproduct or waste stage in H2 gas manufacture and liquification. Of course, it is an expensive add on waste stage.

Basically it is a fractional separation of D2 due to differing liquification points. A large fractionating tower condenses out the D2 in stages such that the D2 gets more and more concentrated at each level. Multipass recycling at cryogenic temperatures especially with such an explosive gas as hydrogen demands a sealed and ultra-expensive operation.

The old electrolysis process is all but abandoned now due to the obscene power bills needed to extract tiny amounts of D20. Again, many multiple passes are needed to extract purities of heavy water above 50% concentrations. It is an exceedingly slow and expensive process. The cryo-waste process above is the current favorite for rapid production of vast quantites of D2.

The amateur should not even dream of extracting his or her own D2. It is just too damned cheap when purchased outright!

I was stunned after paying $150.00 for a 20 liter cylinder to learn that a 50 liter cylinder was just $205.00. It turns out that the average amateur neutron producing fusor will go for about 5 years of continuious operation 24 hours a day off of just the 20 liter cylinder! I vastly over bought! If you ever attempt to go for full self sustained ignition, (Ha Ha), the D2 requirements will really be severe. If you ever get there someone will give it to you for free!

We fusor freaks have enough tough rows to hoe without trying to home brew cheap industrial gases.

The actual process of calibrated leaking in D2 gas is a major hurdle for the amateur not already familiar with the art.

Richard Hull