• 5 minutes 'No - Deal Brexit' vs 'Operation Fear' Globalist Pushback ... Impact to World Economies and Oil
  • 8 minutes China has *Already* Lost the Trade War. Meantime, the U.S. Might Sanction China’s Largest Oil Company
  • 12 minutes Will Uncle Sam Step Up and Cut Production
  • 4 hours Danish Royal Palace ‘Surprised’ By Trump Canceling Trip
  • 5 hours Recession Jitters Are Rising. Is There Reason To Worry?
  • 1 min A legitimate Request: France Wants Progress In Ukraine Before Russia Returns To G7
  • 5 hours China has invested btw $30 - $40 Billon in Canadian Oil Sands. Trump should put 10% tariffs on all Chinese oil exported into or thru U.S. in which Chinese companies have invested .
  • 31 mins Used Thin Film Solar Panels at 15 Cents per Watt
  • 12 hours US Shale Economic Impact: GDP gain realized in shale boom’s first 10 years
  • 18 hours It's Not the Job of the Government to Dictate Where Businesses Should Go
  • 3 hours IS ANOTHER MIDDLE EAST WAR REQUIRED TO BOLSTER THE OIL PRICE
  • 18 hours Offshore subsea sub 50$/bbl : Rystad Energy: High stakes in store for subsea markets if oil falls to $50/bbl
  • 12 hours Wonders of US Shale: US Shale Benefits: The U.S. leads global petroleum and natural gas production with record growth in 2018
  • 15 hours Philadelphia Energy Solutions seeks to permanently shut oil refinery - sources
  • 16 hours Tit For Tat: China Strikes Back In Trade Dispute With U.S. With New Tariffs
  • 11 hours Domino Effect: Rashida Tlaib Rejects Israel's Offer For 'Humanitarian' Visit To West Bank
  • 10 hours NATGAS, LNG, Technology, benefits etc , cleaner global energy fuel
Oil Prices Steady As EIA Reports Small Crude Draw

Oil Prices Steady As EIA Reports Small Crude Draw

Oil prices were mostly unaffected…

Compact Fusion Reactor Within A Decade, Says Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin says it’s within a decade of producing a fusion reactor that’s 90 percent smaller than previous designs.

The stakes are high, and so is the enthusiasm and skepticism about Lockheed’s announcement. After all, fusion could generate much more energy much more cleanly than today’s power plants that rely on nuclear fission.

But fusion reactors are elusive. So far, no researcher has been able to wring more energy from a fusion reactor than is needed to power it up.

Related: Is France’s Love Affair with Nuclear Over?

Most efforts to create a fusion reactor have focused on containing hot plasma, a highly ionized gas, within strong magnetic fields in what’s called a “tokamak,” a doughnut-shaped device. Some of these tokamaks already being built or tested are enormous, including the world’s largest – 30 meters tall – at an international laboratory in France known as ITER. Its projected cost is $50 billion.

In an interview with MIT Technology Review, Tom McGuire, who leads Lockheed’s fusion research, said the aerospace, defense and security company has developed a compact reactor based on what he called “magnetic mirror confinement,” which is designed to contain plasma by reflecting particles from high-density magnetic fields to low-density fields.

By “compact” Lockheed means that its research reactor measures two meters long and one meter wide, much smaller than its rivals. And according to McGuire, it’s not small for small’s sake. He argues that the reduced size makes operations and hardware revisions quicker and more efficient. “That is a much more powerful development paradigm and much less capital intensive,” he said.

Small also means that a working fusion reactor of this size might easily fit in a tractor-trailer and be taken to a remote site to generate 100 megawatts of power. He concedes, “There are no guarantees that we can get there, but that possibility is there.”

Already, Lockheed’s fusion reactor team has conducted 200 firings with plasma at its research facility in Palmdale, Calif., known as Skunk Works, but it hasn’t yet produced any data on their results. Still, McGuire said, the plasma “looks like it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Related: How Fusion Energy Could One Day Disrupt Energy Markets

Balancing McGuire’s enthusiasm is some understandable skepticism. For example, Joel Gilmore of Australia-based ROAM Consulting told Spaceflight Insider, “Fusion requires incredibly high temperatures and pressures, which is challenging, and a lot of people have been working on fusion for a long time. So I won’t get too excited yet.”

The same goes for Ian Hutchinson, a processor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT. He says the few diagrams and commentary that he’s been able to see indicate that Lockheed’s effort is “purely speculative, as if someone has drawn a cartoon and said they are going to fly to Mars with it.”

But both Gilmore and Hutchinson agree that if Lockheed’s research pans out, it would represent a huge technological leap forward.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • John Scior on October 24 2014 said:
    It would be really nice to see a breakthrough that would provide environmentally friendly as well as economically cheap and abundant energy. I look at the nuclear fission industry as a model and wonder what might be i store or nuclear fusion. Are protesters worried about an explosion a possibility ? What if the breakthrough is made and yet the cost of fueling the reactor is still very high ???

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play