Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Lockheed Martin Eyes Portable Fusion Engines Within Decade
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Mar 10, 2015

File image.

Lockheed Martin, the world's biggest defense contractor, is aiming to use nuclear fusion to create cheap electrical power that uses water for fuel, produces byproducts that are totally safe and releases no air pollution.

With the United States spending less on defense, Lockheed Martin is showing more interest in the energy business than ever.

"Energy is certainly an area of growth for us," CEO Marillyn Hewson told reporters at the corporation's media day outside Washington last month. "In a relative sense, it's not a large business for us, but it's a growing business for us. So, we'll continue to invest in that area."

The team of engineers and scientists at Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs, also called Skunk Works, are working on the company's compact fusion project.

When Lockheed Martin announced the project in October of last year, the company said it planned on developing a prototype of a compact fusion reactor within five years and deploying it within 10. A small team had been secretly working on fusion energy for about four years before the announcement.

The fusion reactor would use a magnetic bottle capable of withstanding temperatures as high as hundreds of millions of degrees, which are necessary to cause ions to fuse, thereby releasing massive quantities of energy - about one million times more than a chemical reaction and three to four times more than a fission reaction. The bottle can then be used to release that energy in a controlled fashion.

The fusion is powered by a combination of two hydrogen isotopes - deuterium and tritium - both of which occur in nature and can be extracted from water.

"Our studies show that a 100 MW system would only burn less than 20 kg of fuel in an entire year of operation," a Lockheed Martin spokeswoman told eWeek. "Tritium fuel is continually bred within the reactor wall and fed back into the reactor along with deuterium gas to sustain the reactions."

The radioactive byproduct created by the fusion reactor would be recycled for use in the reactor itself, eliminating the type of radioactive waste problems that exist with nuclear fission power plants.

"The waste footprint is orders of magnitude less than coal plants which require huge landfills to contain the toxic ash and sludge wastes," the spokeswoman said in an email to eWeek.

"A typical coal plant generates over 100,000 tons of ash and sludge containing toxic metals and chemicals each year. The first generation of fusion reactors will run on deuterium-tritium fuel, but successive generations would use fuels that could eliminate the radioactivity altogether."

Creating a viable magnetic bottle is the biggest hurdle to the project. Lockheed Martin is currently in the process of testing bottle prototypes, and has made significant progress, eWeek reported.

The goal is to create a fusion reactor that can generate heat energy to use in existing power plants, where the reactor would replace fossil fuel combustion. Such a reactor would be small enough to fit on a truck, and could provide enough power for a small city of up to 100,000 people, according to Lockheed Martin

Not everyone shares Lockheed Martin's optimism about the project, however.

Ian H. Hutchinson, professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the project "has no chance in working," Lockheed Martin's research leading up to the project paid little attention to the fundamentals of fusion energy, he added.

Source: Sputnik News

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Fusion News
Powering The World in the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Lockheed Martin claims nuclear energy breakthrough
Washington (AFP) Oct 16, 2014
Lockheed Martin Corp says it has made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, with reactors small enough to fit on the back of a truck. The aerospace and security firm, which made the announcement Wednesday, says it expects its first operational reactor to be ready in as little as 10 years. And thanks to the reactor's smaller size, the company ... read more

Core work: Iron vapor gives clues to formation of Earth and moon

Application of laser microprobe technology to Apollo samples refines lunar impact history

NASA releases video of the far side of the Moon

US Issuing Licenses for Mineral Mining on Moon

Use of Rover Arm Expected to Resume in a Few Days

Research Suggests Mars Once Had More Water than Earth's Arctic Ocean

Mars Colonization Edges Closer Thanks to MIT's Oxygen Factory

Revolutionary Engine Could Fuel Human Life on Mars

Orion's Launch Abort System Motor Exceeds Expectations

Cheap yen, fading Fukushima fears lure Japan tourists

Dubai to build 'Museum of the Future'

Old-economy sectors are now tech, too: US study

China at technical preparation stage for Mars, asteroid exploration

China's moon rover Yutu functioning but stationary

Argentina welcomes first Chinese satellite tracking station outside China

More Astronauts for China

US astronauts speed through spacewalk at orbiting lab

Watching Alloys Change from Liquid to Solid Could Lead to Better Metals

NASA Hopes to Continue Cooperation on ISS Until 2024

Russia to use International Space Station till 2024

Arianespace's Soyuz ready for next dual-satellite Galileo launch

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

Arianespace certified to ISO 50001 at Guiana Space Center

SpaceX launches two communications satellites

Scientists: Nearby Earth-like planet isn't just 'noise'

Exorings on the Horizon

Planet 'Reared' by Four Parent Stars

Planets Can Alter Each Other's Climates over Eons

The rub with friction

3D printed parts provide cheap, custom alternatives for lab equipment

Game makers lured into virtual worlds

Sony virtual reality head gear set for 2016 release

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.