/ Fusion power in four years?
Hmmm, RF heating.
Certainly a new approach from what I understand of fusion. Who knows. Fingers crossed though.
If this happens...........WOW!!!
Wasn't it always in 50 years?
> Wasn't it always in 50 years?
Yeah, just like the oil and gas reserves, they have had 20 years left for at least the last 40
Unlimited power ......mmmm???
I'm not sure that it would be the blessing we think it is. Would population suddenly increase as a result ?
No doubt it would be good for the co2 problem...but are we civilised enough as a global entity to use this marvel wisely?
It would be nice to see Saudi Arabia die on it's arse....
Sort of yes and no: the oil industry tends to ensure that it has 20 years' worth of reserves that it knows about so there is always "20 years left". This doesn't mean to say that there's unlimited reserves just that as individual field/reservoirs get used up they go looking for more to keep the 20 year reserve. Journalists simply jump on the "20 years" to make a story.
Oil will run out eventually as it's a finite resource that took several million years to form and we are using it up in a couple of centuries. New finds aren't generally as big as those of fifty years ago. The big finds that are found are in ever increasingly difficult locations, we've picked the low hanging fruit. Oil will "run out" when it takes a barrel of oil to extract a barrel of oil, i.e. there will still be oil in the ground but it isn't worth extracting.
> It would be nice to see Saudi Arabia die on it's arse....
Yes, lovely to see them brought back to earth
Would be awesome, but I don't think 100mW (milli Watts) is enough to power anything ;)
I doubt Lockheed would use it to produce cheap power, not until other companies can build their own to make things competitive.
Without more details it's kind of hard to say.
The numbers he does present (2 meter linear dimension, 100MW, D-T fusion, 4-5 years away) are all notably similar to those Robert Bussard gave in his talk to Google about the Polywell approach to fusion. He has since passed away and the US Navy continue to fund that work with basically no results being published. The chief inventor behind the Skunkworks project did his PhD on Polywell devices. As with the Polywell devices the configuration would seem to lend itself to genuine low cost power generation unlike the mainstream tokamak research (ITER -> DEMO) which if it ever works is going to be fiendishly expensive.
I'd like to think there's something to it. It would mean an end to windmill building and would put a stop to ecological catastrophes in the form of big dams or tidal barrages. It would wipe coal and gas fired power off the map. It would mean energy self-sufficiency to a first world standard for everyone. It would also offer a viable way to transmute away a lot of the accumulated problems from decades of weapons orientated fission "energy" programs. More excitingly (for me) than all off that is that it could form a viable energy source for spacecraft (unlike a tokamak) It's the one missing component of a generational starship built with otherwise currently obtainable technology.
The great thing is that we only have to wait 4 years to find out, unlike 20 years (...) for tokamak fusion.
Would it be kept for military use only?
If it did come to the public domain would it be made prohibitively expensive to the ordinary Joe, just to recoup the cost of research?
I think there are too many people (not to mention governments)with too much to lose that this technology probably won't see the light of day in the public domain until the 11th hour, when we're down to the last barrel of black gold.
I'm genuinely interested in this aspect of the technology.
Without more information, it's impossible to say if it's a bi break through or... misguided. I'd love it to be true though - it would be wonderful to have limitless clean energy.
However, what happens to the helium produced? I realise the amounts produced will probably relatively small in comparison to the amount of energy produced, but if this kicks off across the whole world, we'll be producing an awful lot. I know there's a shortage of helium, which is important for cryogenics, and about a year ago I heard someone on the radio decrying the use of helium in balloons as a waste, but I don't know how it would stack up with need for helium vs. the amount we'd produce.
It also wouldn't solve our transport problem. Trains, trams and even some busses can run on electricity, but there is still quite a gap in what can be done for cars and aircraft. The fact is, oil based fuels have a very high energy density, and IC engines have the great advantage that you just need to stop for 5 minutes at a petrol station and you can drive another 1000km. Electric cars are currently a long way from this. Similarly with aircraft - there are electric aircraft, but flying one across the atlantic with 300 people in it is not possible at the moment. Either we need a great advance in battery technology, or we need to use our (potentially) mega abundant electricity to make perhaps hydrogen, or another hydro carbon.
Lets cross our fingers though!
I'll believe it when I see it. We were promised turtle power and girl power, in the past, and neither of those really came to fruition.
> If it did come to the public domain would it be made prohibitively expensive to the ordinary Joe, just to recoup the cost of research?
cant see why Lockheed would want to restrict their market. Apart from anything else chances of a unit being nicked and then reproduced elsewhere would increase if it werent generally available.
Cant see the US government wanting to bully them into keeping it quiet either.
The worlds energy usage, if supplied from D-T fusion, would supply approximately 1/8th of the current annual helium demand. I think, I can't find the maths I did but it was about that. Even if it over-produced demand by 1000x it wouldn't be a problem; the damned stuff just floats off in to space which is why it's so rare down here.
"Peak Helium" is quite a big problem associated with gas running out (it comes out with natural gas) but that's another thread.
The great thing about either this device or a polywell device is that it could conceivably be small enough and light enough to fly on an aircraft and power it, and to install at electric charging garages for cars, or at more conventional petrol stations where it would be used to produce hydrogen for hydrogen cars. There's plenty of big business opportunities like this associated with this for the current multi-nationals behind our energy supply so I am disinclined to believe that a global conspiracy will stop it from happening.
> cant see why Lockheed would want to restrict their market.
Well quite, assuming that the electricity could be produced at a reasonable cost, this would be the business equivalent of being given the Windows operating system.
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