Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lockheed's Mini Fusion Reactor

Lockheed Martin claims to have a new way of making a fusion reactor much smaller than existing designs:
The Lockheed Martin Skunk Works team is working on a new compact fusion reactor (CFR) that can be developed and deployed in as little as ten years. Currently, there are several patents pending that cover their approach.

While fusion itself is not new, the Skunk Works has built on more than 60 years of fusion research and investment to develop an approach that offers a significant reduction in size compared to mainstream efforts.

“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,” said Tom McGuire, compact fusion lead for the Skunk Works’ Revolutionary Technology Programs. “The smaller size will allow us to design, build and test the CFR in less than a year.”

After completing several of these design-build-test cycles, the team anticipates being able to produce a prototype in five years. As they gain confidence and progress technically with each experiment, they will also be searching for partners to help further the technology.
If this is real, it is hard to imagine a more important development. Many people are skeptical, and Lockheed's own video calls this a "high risk, high payoff" endeavor, but on the other hand the Skunk Works is a legendary engineering operation, so who knows?

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

So they plan on spending a year on the "design, build, test cycle", then spending a few more years completeing a few more of them, then spending five years building a prototype.

Yeah, no, I'm gonna operate off the following: