Cold cathode electron tubes for VSCs, HVDC circuit breakers & FACTS

I heard about the cold cathode tube technology from Jeff Fleeman @ American Electric Power. I've gotten pretty excited about it myself. I spoke to Curtis Birnbach (the inventor) the other day (he is also co-author with John Kappenman of the paper cited in this thread). Birnbach has 13 issued patents, and 11 pending patents:

PUB. APP. NO. Title
01 20100289577 Cascade Voltage Amplifier and Method of Activating Cascaded Electron Tubes
02 20100254154 Central laser source based passive countermeasure system
03 20100195256 Methods and Apparatus for Protecting Power Systems from Extraordinary Electromagnetic Pulses
04 20100104058 Systems for Enhancing Pre-ignition Conditions of Thermonuclear Fusion Reactions
05 20100097734 Method and Apparatus for Protecting Power Systems from Extraordinary Electromagnetic Pulses
06 20090285362 Flash X-Ray Irradiator
07 20090190383 High Voltage Inverter
08 20080063132 Method and System for Controlled Fusion Reactions
09 20060023993 Directional optical coupler
10 20050094915 Directional optical coupler
11 20030021540 Directional optical coupler

#7 above is about a VSC based on cold cathode tubes that purportedly can work at 800kV; this is the "holy grail" for making an HVDC grid possible. Curtis also says that the technology can be used to create an HVDC circuit breaker, and that he has experience to back that up based on military hardware. If true, this technology answers two pressing challenges that have heretofore prevented development of an HVDC grid. I hope it is so. I have been working on the third major technical hurdle that must be overcome: building transmission lines capable of carrying 10-30 GW.

Curtis Birnbach is flying low...no website, for example. His core interest is on the fusion reaction of boron-11 + proton to three alpha particles, but the enabling technology involves cold cathode tubes and X-ray lasers. Along the way, he has invented critical enabling technology for the HVDC grid of the future. He is a Tesla-kind of personality, but I think he is grounded. His company is:

Advanced Fusion Systems LLC - White Plains, NY

They are basically invisible right now. He has no website, for example. He has raised a LOT of money, and is building a 250,000 sf factory at 11 Edmund Rd, Newtown, CT (near Danbury). I wish him well. America has totally abandoned HVDC transmission technology, but this breakthrough could lead to a new company to kick ass on the European giants of HVDC (ABB, Siemens, and Alstom).

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