Alternative energy breakthrough made by LockheedOctober 20, 2014
Lockheed Martin Corp has made a technological advancement on its fusion energy project.
Last week, the American global aerospace, defense, security and advanced technology company, said that it had made a technological breakthrough in creating an alternative energy power source that is based on nuclear fusion.
The first reactors could be ready for use in ten years.
In addition to potentially being useable in a decade, the first reactors are small enough that they can fit on the back of a truck. According to Tom McGurie, who is in charge of the project, they were able to demonstrate the viability of constructing a 100 megawatt (MW) reactor that measures 7 feet by 10 feet, which is around 10 times smaller than present day reactors. This would make it small enough to be able to fit on the back of a large truck.
Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works is where McGuire said that he and a small team have been working on fusion energy for nearly four years. Now, the company is interested in finding potential partners in the government and in the industry for its work and is going public.
Lochkeed Martin, the Pentagon’s largest supplier, said in a statement that it would construct and test a compact fusion reactor in less than one year and within five years they would build a prototype.
The company has become more involved in diverse alternative energy projects over the years.
In its efforts to counteract a drop in European and US military spending, it has been exploring alternative power options, including a number of ocean energy projects. If its fusion project turns out to be viable, this would mark not only be a key breakthrough for the company but in a field that scientists have long seen as promising.
The goal is to harness energy that is released during nuclear fusion at which point atoms come together into forms with greater stability. Compact nuclear fusion would be more efficient and safer than present nuclear fusion-based reactors. The company said that due to its use of deuterium-tritium fuel, the reactors would generate less waste than plants powered by coal and can also produce almost 10 million times more energy compared to the same amount of fossil fuels.
The work Lockheed has been conducting on fusion energy could aid in the development of new alternative energy sources amid rising global conflict over energy. According to McGurie, projections have revealed that over the next generation there will be a 40% to 50% rise in energy use. The company views its fusion project as being part of the approach for helping to solve climate change and global energy problems.