Working with the U.S. Department of Energy, CPMI researchers are trying to solve another challenge facing nuclear fusion research. If future reactors want to take advantage of the liquid metals technology being developed at places like CPMI, it is necessary to find a way to purify the liquid metal as it cycles through the reactor. The Distillation Column experiment is currently being used to study the recovery of hydrogen in a liquid lithium loop.
In this experiment, hydrogen desorption measurements are made from different Li/LiH mixtures. Reactor-relevant recovery rates for tritium self-sufficiency have already been successfully obtained. In order to maximize recovery, current studies are looking at the geometrical aspects of the H-H recombination process and the influence of Li impurities present. As the distillation column technology is further developed, it will eventually be integrated into a full loop with the HIDRA stellarator.