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Thread: Anyone See Lockheed's Fusion Tech Announcement?

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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Default Anyone See Lockheed's Fusion Tech Announcement?

    A 100 megawatt fusion reactor small enough to fit on the back of a truck (tractor trailer), protoype ready in ten years? As quoted in the article “If it wasn’t Lockheed Martin, you’d say it was probably a bunch of crazies.” If true, everything changes.


    Link to Article: http://news.sciencemag.org/physics/2...fusion-machine
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    ======== Timbuk2's Avatar
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    Under the influence Wraith's Avatar
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    I've been hearing whispers for a little while, but this is great news. I hope it works out.

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    Only saw a headline.
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    I am 100% sure that this will not work in a 10 year timeline.

    It also doesn't sound like there's much real innovation here, just an amalgamation of old concepts. Doesn't mean it won't work - certainly the utter clusterfuck that is the ITER project is a failure because of poor management and bureaucracy, not necessarily because the science is bad. But they're at such an early stage of the process that I don't believe anything they say about timelines or efficiency/commercial applications. Fusion is always 10 or 20 years away.

    Skunk Works has turned out some great stuff in its time, and if they're really looking into this I'd be excited to see what the results are at some point. But I've learned not to get too excited about something this vague and early.

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    I took it a bit like those announcements that a HIV cure was nigh, then after a couple of weeks we got the news that it actually was still decades off.
    Last edited by Hazir; 10-17-2014 at 08:57 PM.
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    Seems legit.
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    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiggin View Post
    I am 100% sure that this will not work in a 10 year timeline.

    It also doesn't sound like there's much real innovation here, just an amalgamation of old concepts. Doesn't mean it won't work - certainly the utter clusterfuck that is the ITER project is a failure because of poor management and bureaucracy, not necessarily because the science is bad. But they're at such an early stage of the process that I don't believe anything they say about timelines or efficiency/commercial applications. Fusion is always 10 or 20 years away.

    Skunk Works has turned out some great stuff in its time, and if they're really looking into this I'd be excited to see what the results are at some point. But I've learned not to get too excited about something this vague and early.
    Pretty much what I'm thinking, too. And even if it does work, that's still some steps away from actually being usable (JET achieved fusion 20 years ago..). That said, always good that more people are working on it, with different approaches
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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    It's the first time I've seen anyone seriously propose a fusion plant that wasn't the size of a city block. Even if the timeline is too optimistic, if it panned out it would still be revolutionary in light of current fusion energy projects - any energy projects at all, really. That's an amazingly small footprint.

    I do wonder why they threw out such an optimistic timeline if they didn't think they could hit or exceed it. Maybe looking for funding? Why else would they give a crap about announcing rosy PR? When I get asked about project timing I do like Scotty did in Star Trek and pad my deadlines. Better to exceed expectations than to disappoint. Again, this is a PR thing, so...

    EDIT: Another thought relating to size is that this device, as proposed, is small enough to launch into space - meaning it would allow spacecraft with fusion drives and habitats powered with fusion energy - meaning it could put the solar system within easy reach (comparatively speaking, of course) and make commercial activity, like asteroid mining, more viable.
    Last edited by EyeKhan; 10-17-2014 at 02:44 PM.
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    Administrator Dreadnaught's Avatar
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    I'm mainly happy that they are working on it. Reading about ITER for the first time last year made me depressed.

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    SEÑOR Member Aimless's Avatar
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    The probably know the world gonna explode in 9 years and wanna have some fun before then.
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    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    It's the first time I've seen anyone seriously propose a fusion plant that wasn't the size of a city block.
    There's a reason for that: Neutron emissions. You need pretty heavy shielding and that means building big.
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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khendraja'aro View Post
    There's a reason for that: Neutron emissions. You need pretty heavy shielding and that means building big.
    Huh. If that's the case then the sizing claims for this project don't make any sense.
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    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Well, there's the size of the reactor, and the size of the whole installation. Nuclear reactors are relative small, the whole installation not so much.

    Isn't neutron shielding and capture still in heavy development though? Could be they also have novel ideas about that. IIRC it's one of the areas ITER is a testbed for.
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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    No idea. Lockheed hasn't given many specifics, but that PR video very much implies the device capable of generating 100 megawatts - once hooked up to a heat exchanger and turbine - would be about the size of a tractor trailer.
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    Let sleeping tigers lie Khendraja'aro's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what there's to develop about. Neutrons are electrically neutral (hence the name) and thus can only be caught by dense materials due to actual collisions with atoms' cores. That's why you need at least 70 centimeters of shielding around the superconductors.

    Which means that putting the superconductors inside the plasma makes no sense at all. Because that means they'll break very rapidly due to transmutation and the struts to hold said superconductors in place will also pose a huge problem.
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    Senior Member Flixy's Avatar
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    Come to think of it, the research that's done here for ITER was about durability.
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    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Not sure if this is new tech but this sounds like progress: http://www.cityam.com/287006/small-u...nuclear-fusion
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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Not sure if this is new tech but this sounds like progress: http://www.cityam.com/287006/small-u...nuclear-fusion
    It's most notable as a small company... every other fusion project is a national/ international effort. Haven't heard much out of ITER in a while - they will use magnetic torus too. And haven't heard anything at all out of the Lockheed project either. I forgot all about it until I saw this post.
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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    This article is from March this year. Interesting stuff, suggesting a working prototype in 2019. Huh. And it abandons the tokamak torus magnetic containment configuration. If Lockheed pulls this off, it would tank the Tokamak company, and ITER for that matter...

    http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...fusion-reactor
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    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EyeKhan View Post
    It's most notable as a small company... every other fusion project is a national/ international effort. Haven't heard much out of ITER in a while - they will use magnetic torus too. And haven't heard anything at all out of the Lockheed project either. I forgot all about it until I saw this post.
    Indeed I found that interesting. Not sure if it's more or less believable that progress will be made with a small company like that? I think maybe more... as said above the problem with ITER is bureaucracy etc

    The problem with Lockheed is that they're big enough to claim all sorts of projects then if one works get billions from the government.

    Whereas a small company like this privately funded will be looking for concrete results not vaporware. I would guess they'll be looking to get to proof of concept stage at least then probably get bought out by someone like Lockheed who can then leverage it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Indeed I found that interesting. Not sure if it's more or less believable that progress will be made with a small company like that? I think maybe more... as said above the problem with ITER is bureaucracy etc

    The problem with Lockheed is that they're big enough to claim all sorts of projects then if one works get billions from the government.

    Whereas a small company like this privately funded will be looking for concrete results not vaporware. I would guess they'll be looking to get to proof of concept stage at least then probably get bought out by someone like Lockheed who can then leverage it.
    With Lockheed, you mean that in the sense that their project is more likely to be BS/ claims exaggerated?

    The fact that someone is dumping money into that small company does give the impression their work has a solid basis. The tokamak design is the magnetic torus, which as I said is being used by ITER, but was abandoned by Lockheed in favor of a different design they believe works better/ allows for miniaturization. It reads like the difference with the small company is in how the torus is generated/ maintained - maybe some potential breakthrough...
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    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    Not necessarily BS more of a fishing expedition. Cast lots of bait out and see what bites.

    Google/Alphabet have done a lot of this. Launch a thousand projects the one that works is the next big thing.
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    That's no moon. EyeKhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandBlade View Post
    Not necessarily BS more of a fishing expedition. Cast lots of bait out and see what bites.

    Google/Alphabet have done a lot of this. Launch a thousand projects the one that works is the next big thing.
    I don't understand why you called it a problem...?
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    Senior Member RandBlade's Avatar
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    The future of Lockheed isn't riding on making this work. It'd be nice if it does, its not a disaster if it doesn't - and their best people are unlikely to be on the project. The same can't be said about a company like Tokamak - its lead people will be putting everything into making damn sure it works as they've (probably) got nothing if it doesn't.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ominous Gamer View Post
    Being upset is understandable, but be upset at yourself for poor planning, not at the world by acting like a spoiled bitch during an interview.

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