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Solar Powered Plasma-Cycle Generator

saves a few steps.
  [vote for,

A solar farm is used, to heat a "boiler" hot enough to ionize the stream of gas running through it. Easily separated magnetically into two streams, the stripped off electrons go straight into the grid.

Meanwhile the positively charged nuclei stream is pumped back around - also magnetically - and cooled enough to accept the "used" electrons coming back from the mains, before reentering the boiler.

[edit: Actually, the pump isn't necessary: just run a vertical loop around back of the boiler: since the plasma is hotter (thus lighter) than the gas, convection can keep it going]

Except for the working fluid, no moving parts.

FlyingToaster, May 02 2016

MHD generator https://en.wikipedi...rodynamic_generator
"The MHD generator uses hot conductive plasma as the moving conductor." [8th of 7, May 02 2016]

Solar MHD http://www.mhdenerg...HeatElectricity.htm
[xaviergisz, May 03 2016]

https://www.google....ocket+mhd+generator [notexactly, May 13 2016]

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       //A solar farm heats its "boiler" hot enough to plasmify the stream of gas running through it.// Since when?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 02 2016

       First draft grammar.   

       [edit: there; fixed'ish. Better ?]
FlyingToaster, May 02 2016

       // Easily separated magnetically into two streams //   

       No, because the ions and electrons will move in contrarotating spiral paths.   

       Electrostatic separation would be the thing ...   

       A quartz glass sphere filled with rarified gas, with the solar beams focussed at its centre, could produce plasma - the challenge is to extract the energy. An intense electrostatic field, directing the ions and electrons to collector electrodes, would work; but this would be a very high voltage, low current DC generator.
8th of 7, May 02 2016

       //First draft grammar.// Ah - right. I thought you were asserting that this is what is already done.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 02 2016

       If the plasma is heated in a somewhat enclosed container and the expansion causes plasma to exit at high velocity, routing that through a magnetic field could separate the charge. At the end of that process you've got some very hot gas that still has some velocity. If you don't recapture that, this will be quite inefficient. And if you want this to be continuous, you'll need a pump forcing cooled gas back into the chamber.   

       That makes me wonder: If you put a magnetic field on the output of a rocket engine and two electrodes on opposite sized of the nozzle, does it generate usable electricity?
scad mientist, May 02 2016

       It's called an MHD generator, and it's Baked.   

8th of 7, May 02 2016

       MHD generators are different: they shoot plasma (or whatever) through a coil lengthwise, to induce electricity in the same manner as a linear generator. It's an open cycle: the plasma isn't reused: the slightly cooler gas/plasma usually then goes to heat a regular boiler.   

       In this case the electrons go straight into the power grid, and it's a closed loop.   

       However [scad] your spaceship would probably work better with an actual MHD generator.   

       [8th] An electron gun works quite well with a magnet to guide and focus it.
FlyingToaster, May 02 2016

       But the electron beam is a single monoenergetic species...
8th of 7, May 03 2016

       k, my bad dunno why I thought the yoke was magnetic not ES... same difference though.
FlyingToaster, May 03 2016

       Most CRT yokes are magnetic; they work because the electrons have a narrow range of energies. But they have (relatively) low operation speeds due to the inductance of the system. The typical raster flyback of a CRT is about 15kHz.   

       Oscilloscopes use electrostatic deflection because it's so much faster, but the tube has to have a lower aspect ratio compared to a TV CRT.   

       Magnetic sector mass spectrometers use the mass/velocity ratio as an ion filter; with F = BeV and a = F / m, varying the value of B selects for m at constant V.   

       Now, pipe down or we will do math at you.
8th of 7, May 03 2016

       //Oscilloscopes use electrostatic deflection because it's so much faster// Now that I did not know. Every year I learn something new.
MaxwellBuchanan, May 03 2016

       Besides basic physics, we also teach oboe playing, windsurfing, crochet and snake-charming (but not simultaneously).
8th of 7, May 03 2016

       I try to learn only every other year. Any faster rate than that simply cooks bandwidth. Maybe I need faster electrons. Maybe a snake-charmer would help coax them to fire in the right direction in my brain...   

       This isn't my year I'm afraid. Last year wasn't, either.
RayfordSteele, May 04 2016


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