Compact Fusion Reactor

Lockheed Martin is well known for making planes, but being a US Defense contractor, they also spend a lot on scientific research and they have just announced that they have made a technological breakthrough with their own fusion reactor. Although they are being understandably secretive about how they plan to achieve this and the fact that the prototype hasn’t been made yet, it is still big news.

So what is fusion? Fusion is the process of making a single heavier nucleus from two lighter nuclei. The change in mass produces a huge amount of energy that if containable would mean clean, cheap and free energy for the entire planet.

According to a Lockheed Martin representative, the prototype will be fully functional within 5 years and a small (About the size of a sea container) portable unit ready for commercial use by 2024. It is a massive announcement for a company that is normally known for aircraft but if they are correct in their claim then this could be a game changer.

According to project lead Tom McGuire, Lockheed Martin is now going public to find potential partners in industry and government to help them take the breakthrough to the next level. “Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90 percent size reduction over previous concepts,” noted McGuire

Lockheed's Reactor
Lockheed’s Reactor

The implications are massive for global power requirements and we are both excited and cautiously optimistic at this news. We’re excited because this would be a quantum leap forward in technology that would be a huge benefit for all mankind, allowing cheap and plentiful power generation for everything from boats to spacecraft. The reason we are cautiously optimistic is because Lockheed Martin is first and foremost a defence contractor and we don’t see them releasing their patents into the public domain like Elon Musk did for the electric car, but none the less it is still amazing.

Lockheed Martin is not the only organisation researching and developing fusion technologies though, with the construction of ITER in France due for completion in 2017 and more than 9 other credible fusion projects globally. We can’t wait for fusion to become a viable energy source but we beseech whoever gets to the finish line first to make it for humanity and not, for profit.

Stay Curious – C.Costigan

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