Clean Fusion Power Could Be Feasible by 2017

Fanghawk

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Clean Fusion Power Could Be Feasible by 2017

Lockheed Martin's advanced development team is making the prototype for a holy grail of clean energy.

By this point everyone should be pretty familiar with the principles of global warming and greenhouse gases, specifically that there's way too much of both, and their environmental implications threaten us with disaster. It's a big problem that lots of incredibly intelligent people are working to find solutions for, ranging from increased energy efficiency to clean power sources. The holy grail of solutions would be a fusion reactor, a clean energy concept from the 1950s that turns hydrogen into helium, the same process powering our sun. The problem with fusion reactors is that the requirements to produce functioning models are immense, and were considered incredibly unlikely to be practical for another 50 years. At least that was the opinion before an announcement by Skunk Works, the advanced development center at Lockheed Martin. During a Google sponsored talk, Skunk Works' Charles Chase revealed that the team is actually putting together a prototype that's the size of a trailer and could theoretically power a small city. If successful, which he believes it will be, production of operational units could start around 2017, opening the possibility of global power demands being met by 2045.

Those interested should watch the full video to get a better idea of the technology and its implications, but there are a few key points to note. First of all, Lockheed's reactor would generate stable high-temperature plasma using a method that produces no greenhouse gases, creating immense amounts of energy that could be halted safely in the event of an accident or disaster. The unit's size is also very surprising. Initial projections suggested that fusion reactions would need to be the size of at least a city block, while Lockheed's version is practically portable by comparison. Perhaps most importantly, if fusion power works as advertised it could solve the energy crisis within a few decades, and open the door for clean transportation, large-scale water purification, and perhaps even viable space travel.

While we've still got a few years before finding out whether Chase is on the mark, the implications of such a discovery would be enormous. A transition to clean energy wouldn't happen overnight, as I'm sure there are logistics to making it commercially viable, but after decades of hearing about how doomed we all are it's a rather promising announcement. Besides, even if the prototype doesn't work, the very idea that the technology is feasible might be enough for scientists to build on Lockheed's research. After all, between <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/120241-British-Scientists-Make-Gasoline-From-Air>air-based gasoline and <a href=http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/121278-Scientists-Developing-Tornado-Power-Plant>tornado-based power plants, this is apparently a promising time for clean energy.

Source: <a href=https://www.solveforx.com/moonshots/ahJzfmdvb2dsZS1zb2x2ZWZvcnhyEAsSCE1vb25zaG90GNKGAww/solve-for-x-charles-chase-on-energy-for-everyone>Solve for X, via <a href=http://www.dvice.com/2013-2-22/lockheeds-skunk-works-promises-fusion-power-four-years>Dvice

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OutsiderEX

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>Lockheed Martin

So it'll be 20 years late, cost about a hundreds times more money and be worse then what we've got today?
 

Anti-American Eagle

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Well if were lucky it works. If we're not, well I hope I'm out of the radius of the fallout zone.
 

Ralen-Sharr

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Genocidicles said:
So how long until big oil buys this out and then buries it to never be seen again?
depends on if they actually think it will work

Even if they kicked out a working fusion reactor today, we'd still be using petroleum products. Not like we can power cars or make plastics with a fusion reactor.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

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Sep 10, 2008
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Genocidicles said:
So how long until big oil buys this out and then buries it to never be seen again?
For world changing tech like this?

I'm not sure there is enough monetary funds in the world to buy this should everything actually work. This is bigger than a stupid electric car, this could solve allot of problems worldwide.

Besides the military applications alone would keep this alive, those new rail-guns don't power themselves!
 

Falterfire

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Remember: Any bit of Science predicted to happen more than 2 or 3 years in the future should be given no more hope or enthusiasm than 'That would be nice.'
 

Little Duck

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In 2010 America was meant to have cold fusion. That went well.

Haven't we seen this story before though, with a grand life saving system companies don't want to get behind because they prefer a system where they can dig up oil i.e. every green energy system so far?

Even if this does work, I fear it may not catch on.
 

Jamous

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Yes; good. Always nice to hear tech progressing. Especially fusion. Because let's be honest, it's pretty damn cool.
 

gigastar

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DVS BSTrD said:
Lockheed Martin has already built these babies
<spoiler= Joint Strike Fighter> http://mypaper.pchome.com.tw/show/article/hurt633/A1312352963
So I have every reason to believe they can build this reactor
That fighter in the picture is now called F-35, in case you didnt know.

And like many other aviation projects from Lockheed, it came late and way over budget.
 

Falterfire

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Little Duck said:
Haven't we seen this story before though, with a grand life saving system companies don't want to get behind because they prefer a system where they can dig up oil i.e. every green energy system so far?
Yeah, see, people always bring this up, but I just can't bring myself to buy that there isn't a single place in the world where a company realized that selling a truly effective green energy source would make them tons of money and get them a ridiculous amount of great PR. The honest truth why we don't have windmills and solar panels everywhere is that such things are currently not at a point where it's viable to run everything using them.
 

Little Duck

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Falterfire said:
Little Duck said:
Haven't we seen this story before though, with a grand life saving system companies don't want to get behind because they prefer a system where they can dig up oil i.e. every green energy system so far?
Yeah, see, people always bring this up, but I just can't bring myself to buy that there isn't a single place in the world where a company realized that selling a truly effective green energy source would make them tons of money and get them a ridiculous amount of great PR. The honest truth why we don't have windmills and solar panels everywhere is that such things are currently not at a point where it's viable to run everything using them.
Yeah I can see that. But equally they aren't clamouring to make these new industries work and they can't really say because we haven't got the science when they're more than capable of financing a system that could get said science (my English skills are amazing).

I dunno, I guess I don't understand why people are investing billions into a resource that will run out eventually.
 
Sep 14, 2009
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MERICUHH. FUCK YEAH

*ahem*

jokes aside, seems cool, but won't hold my breath until those are being offered world wide to be built.
 

Occams_Razor

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Man, I'm such a sucker. All anyone needs to do is mention 'can lead to viable space travel' and I am all kinds of on their team.
 

razer17

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Genocidicles said:
So how long until big oil buys this out and then buries it to never be seen again?
It's made by Lockheed Martin. They're one of the biggest companies in the world, not far off the big oil boys, so I don't think it's quite so easy to be bought out by them.
 

Zagzag

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So wait: do they actually have fusion working? I would assume not, otherwise it would be all over the news, and if they don't then this announcement means nothing!
 

Eppy (Bored)

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OutsiderEX said:
>Lockheed Martin

So it'll be 20 years late, cost about a hundreds times more money and be worse then what we've got today?
Actually, it's Lockheed-Martin building a fusion reactor, so it will happen sometime in the next century and bankrupt the entire country twice. They build better aircraft (usually, when they're not a trillion dollars over-budget) than they do fusion reactors, they should stick to that.

EDIT:

DVS BSTrD said:
So did everyone else's design.
And I'll call it what it IS thankyouverymuch XP
Of course, no military project ever comes in under budget, but the F-35's total pricetag is almost two trillion(!) dollars and growing. Also, those lift fans spend most of their time broken and the only pilots actually allowed to use them are the Lockheed test pilots, it's "too dangerous" for the Navy pilots to fly them yet.