‘Compact Fusion’: Lockheed Martin Announces Fusion Breakthrough — Plan Commercial Reactors Within Decade (Press Release)

This news release reports that Lockheed, the major US aerospace engineering firm and major contractor for the Pentagon, has announced an important breakthrough that they believe could bring fusion reactors onto the market within a decade. This could provide some competitive pressure for Industrial heat and others working in LENR, although commercialization a decade away is long term, compared to what IH is trying to do.

PALMDALE, Calif., Oct. 15, 2014 – The Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] Skunk Works® team is working on a new compact fusion reactor (CFR) that can be developed and deployed in as little as ten years. Currently, there are several patents pending that cover their approach.

While fusion itself is not new, the Skunk Works has built on more than 60 years of fusion research and investment to develop an approach that offers a significant reduction in size compared to mainstream efforts.

“Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90 percent size reduction over previous concepts,” said Tom McGuire, compact fusion lead for the Skunk Works’ Revolutionary Technology Programs. “The smaller size will allow us to design, build and test the CFR in less than a year.”

After completing several of these design-build-test cycles, the team anticipates being able to produce a prototype in five years. As they gain confidence and progress technically with each experiment, they will also be searching for partners to help further the technology.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 113,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2013 were $45.4 billion.

Below is a video of Tom McGuire talking about this compact fusion idea.

  • Rui Germano

    Hi Bachcole,
    I think you might have made a mistake. I wasn’t trying to draw any parallels with Rossi and the E-cat. I was already conv

  • GreenWin

    This toon accurately represents the state of hot fusion science on Earth today. The guy on the right, is from Lockheed. http://bit.ly/11GpNma

  • Chris I
    • Alan DeAngelis

      “So the fact that Pons and Fleischmann were still alive meant the experiment
      hadn’t worked.”
      Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives
      by the Year 2100
      By Michio Kaku

      So, how much shielding would be needed on an airplane that’s powered by hot fusion?

    • Alan DeAngelis

      Holy smokes, we found a real journalist in the MSM!

      Thank you, Macrina

  • Omega Z

    I don’t think quenching will be an issue with providing process heat/steam. And the pilot plant has already been operational for a while.

    I think quenching would be more an issue with high temp steam for electrical generation. But that should be manageable using heat transfer fluids such as salts. Then the issue becomes efficiency.

  • Omega Z

    Only smaller

  • Omega Z

    It will be much larger then a suitcase(Dump-truck) & what I’ve read, it will not be competitive to fossil fuels. This is not going to be cheap, Just an alternative.

  • NTAK

    Around the same time that Rossi is performing his 9th independent 3rd party test, I’ll be walking out of HomeDepot with my new Lockheed Martin fusion-plant

  • Stephen Taylor

    The polywell and this small hot fusion reactor are both very promising. Maybe the best from both will come together. Always good to have a fall back position in case LENR doesn’t make as much progress as we hope it will. There is some hope that a small hot fusion reactor could use Boron 11 as a fuel and thus be aneutronic and have zero nuclear waste and no proliferation risk.

    • Alan DeAngelis

      H(1) > B(11) > 3He(4) 8.68 MeV

      Yeah, that would be better. But they talk about mimicking the sun so my guess is d-t fusion. And they say:
      “The heat energy created using this compact fusion reactor will drive turbine generators by replacing the combustion chambers with simple heat exchangers. In turn, the turbines will then generate electricity or the propulsive power for a number of applications.”

      So, they wouldn’t be creating electricity directly from the flow of charged particles. Therefore no advantages that I can think of over the Hot-Cat.

  • US_Citizen71

    After tens of billions spent over more than 6 decades and not a single milliwatt of excess power generated, along with the only proven continuous examples of hot fusion showing you need a gravity well the size of a star in order for it to operate, don’t you think that word fraud and man-made continuous hot fusion should be synonymous?

  • Rui Germano

    In short, these guys have have, just a hint, and are asking for 10 years and some millions to try it out. Did I got it right ?

  • Donk970

    What they mean is that it will crush the royal family.

  • Donk970

    Well, as things stand CF is apparently the only type of fusion that is even over unity. Right now, today, a hot fusion device is a very large, complicated and expensive brick. It all boils down to power density and since there are no hot fusion devices today that can produce even a joule of excess energy they have a power density of 0 in practice. The other important thing is that cold fusion is almost entirely unexplored territory. As soon as there is a functioning cold fusion power plant in production the level of interest in cold fusion will increase by orders of magnitude and there’s no telling what kind of devices will come out of it. All the people who have been banging their heads against the hot fusion wall for the last fifty years will either give up and retire or they will change directions and pursue cold fusion.

    • David Taylor-Fuller

      What you have described is CF becoming the new hot research fad du jour. Eventually the honey moon wears off and reality sets in, and reality is for the most part ambivalent as to what source of energy powers an economy. As long as it is cheap and perceived as safe. Then no one cares. While I am a supporter of CF getting more love, I still believe Hot fusion will eventually deliver on its promise. I just think the Massive international government program called ITER is a waste of money as it is constructed. Its constructed in a manner to make it hard to cancel. Not constructed in a manner that is conducive to making scientific progress. If it was then most of the development would be taking place in a single country, with really difficult components being sourced from manufacturers who can meet the required deadlines followed by lowest cost.

      Thats why I find it encouraging that private industry is taking a shine to Fusion in general. We are finally moving out of the era of government funded blue sky research and getting closer to where someone or group of people build and take something to market. It doesnt matter to me if the reactor is CF powered or Hot fusion powered. Its just long over due that we get off fossil fuels as a primary component of our energy mix as a planet and even longer overdue that we stop boiling water as a means to generate electricity.

      While I appreciate what humanity has been able to accomplish with heat engines. Its time to put a concerted effort into reviewing our theories and experiments along with sweet talking mother nature into revealing enough information to us so that we can ditch the heat engine idea.

  • Donk970

    It seems to me that you’ve had fifty years or so where research on both hot and cold fusion has progressed at a very leisurely pace because the idea was basically academic. Now, with IH showing that their device works and claiming that the E-Cat is nearing the point where it can be put into commercial production the whole field of fusion energy has transformed into a horse race. The hot fusion guys are now in the position where they don’t have a seemingly infinite amount of time to make something work. There is now a serious threat that within the next ten years or so somebody will go to market with a fusion device. The heat is on, the stakes are high and a lot of people are in a panic. All of which is good for energy consumers.

  • Donk970

    The wonderful thing is that no matter who wins, we the consumers and the world in general win.

  • mcloki

    That is a worthy bet to put money on. Maybe this site should set up a pool of money. let people actually place money down and pay out when you can buy first reactor. First side that produces a commercial reactor gets the cash.

    • Andrew

      I’d bet both that way I win no matter what. 😉

  • Charles

    Lockheed to potential fiance: “Wait for me till I finish my extremely expensive hot fusion diamond with all those magnetic fields. Don’t elope with that phony suitor that’s slipped that cheap diamond on your finger. I think it’s phony, but I can’t prove it because he won’t give me one to check out..

    • BroKeeper

      If you scratch it against the financial glass ceiling, you know it’s real.

  • Rob Mocca

    Does no one else think the secretive skunk works revealing this work had something to do with the positive LENR report? Like “Hey look at us! Don’t cancel our program because of this awesone LENR stuff!” 😛

    • mcloki

      100% certain. Expect a ton of “fusion” breakthroughs in the next month or two. There are billions riding in funding that will evaporate if Hot fusion is abandoned for LENR research. Expect a counter PR blitz from companies starting up LENR research labs and then asking for funding. Only so many funding dollars to chase. And LENR can burn your hand in a Senate Appropriations meeting. Roll an E-cat into the senate building and start it up.

      • Donk970

        My thoughts exactly.

    • catfish

      That’s nonsense. They’ve been giving hints about this for awhile. There is no big conspiracy here. LM has the finding on their own to develop and market this idea. There is no conspiracy here. There are a lot of hot fusion concepts, such as Helion that are getting very close. I’m not going to be a fanboy for any of them, just happy we’re moving into the future.

      • Donk970

        The LM announcement tells me two things. First is that they take this second E-Cat report seriously and second is that they are close enough to a marketable device that they think they can beat the E-Cat to market. The announcement is just LM letting everyone know that they are in the race and intend to win. All of which is good for us because it also turns up the heat on IH too and we are likely to see something useful from one of them or someone else entirely sooner than later.

      • US_Citizen71

        No one said conspiracy except you…and yes they are after you! ; )

      • Christopher Calder

        I don’t think the drop in oil prices has anything to do with the E-Cat, but I do suspect that the *timing* of the Lockheed Martin announcement is a direct response to the E-Cat report. I think the scientific and engineering community do take the second report very seriously and are worried that it will undercut their competing technologies. MIT professors are probably concerned that they will all have to start apologizing soon. It is not a conspiracy, however; it is just the way things have worked out. You could call it “karma.”

        • Stephen Taylor

          I’ve been in the same camp on oil prices but I really am beginning to wonder. The relationship between WTI and the S&P has been too connected to ignore. Oil goes down and the market follows violently in recent days. There is probably some forced selling to cover leveraged positions. Too many things going on at the same time so we can only wonder what the real reasons are. I agree completely with the rest you have said especially the “karma”. Much more “karma balance” may be coming so it always pays to be nice and stay open to developments.

    • Stephen Taylor

      I think a lot of that sort of thing does happen. We’ve seen it in the past and it seems very intense this time around. Sort of proportional to the threat in my view. There are limited resources available in the private sector and competition is intense.