Friday, February 22, 2013

Fusion Power in Four?

By most estimates, fusion power is at least Forty years away.  But if the folks over at Lockheed Martin skunk works have their way, a working unit the size of a semi-trailer will be producing power in as little as four years.  

Lockheed Martin's Charles Chase, in an interview with Google's Solve For X, looks for their system to take plentiful Hydrogen and fuse it into Helium and in the process provide enough energy to power a small city.  Once Lockheed Martin moves to assembly line production in 2017  their unit can produce unlimited fresh water or even engines capable of powering a spacecraft to Mars in one month instead of six months it now takes.

Instead of huge lasers or toroidal plasma containment most common in systems like the Tokamac, Lockheed's fusion system will use radio energy to heat a type of hydrogen gas inside a magnetic field that is tightly controlled. This system will create a very high temperature plasma that is much more stable than competing systems. 

Chase is being very closed mouth about any more specific technical information but he is confident that his team will have a prototype 100 mega-watt plant by 2017 and commercial 100 mega-watt plant available by 2022.  

Below, Chase speaks about this new approach to fusion power at a "solve for (x)" talk. 

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