The Engineer: Lockheed Martin announces breakthrough in compact fusion
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works has reported a major scientific breakthrough with far-reaching implications for future energy consumption and the global battle to phase out fossil fuels.
The defence company has said it now has the potential to create the world’s viable fusion energy system by building a 100-megawatt Compact Fusion Reactor that is 10 times smaller than present variants. The discovery is significant because some estimates say one kilogram of fusion fuel can generate the same amount of energy as 10 million kilograms of fossil fuel.
Lockheed Martin’s alleged breakthrough centres on the creation of a concept to replicate the energy created by the Sun and control it, using a magnetic bottle that can handle temperatures of hundreds of millions of degrees.
A number of sources have urged scepticism as to the extent of the breakthrough, noting that any practical applications may be some years away.
Professor Steve Cowley, Director of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, told the Guardian that Lockheed Martin had not produced sufficient evidence to show how they could reduce the size of fusion reactors.
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