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Lockheed claims breakthrough in fusion power

RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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10/17/2014 2:04:52 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
"Lockheed"s effort [is] to build a trailer-sized fusion power plant that turns cheap and plentiful hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) into helium plus enough energy to power a small city.

"It"s safe, it"s clean, and Lockheed is promising an operational unit by 2017 with assembly line production to follow, enabling everything from unlimited fresh water to engines that take spacecraft to Mars in one month instead of six," http://www.forbes.com...

Skepticism over the claim is appropriate, so we'll have to wait and see if it pans out. Still. Lockheed is a sober operation, not a garage shop or a dreamy university lab. Most projections were that practical fusion reactors are 50 years or more away.

In the Back to the Future movie, the De Lorean time machine ended up being powered by a small kitchen-appliance-like gadget called "Mr. Fusion." Maybe ...
9spaceking
Posts: 4,213
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10/17/2014 5:27:51 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/17/2014 2:04:52 AM, RoyLatham wrote:
"Lockheed"s effort [is] to build a trailer-sized fusion power plant that turns cheap and plentiful hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) into helium plus enough energy to power a small city.

"It"s safe, it"s clean, and Lockheed is promising an operational unit by 2017 with assembly line production to follow, enabling everything from unlimited fresh water to engines that take spacecraft to Mars in one month instead of six," http://www.forbes.com...

Skepticism over the claim is appropriate, so we'll have to wait and see if it pans out. Still. Lockheed is a sober operation, not a garage shop or a dreamy university lab. Most projections were that practical fusion reactors are 50 years or more away.

In the Back to the Future movie, the De Lorean time machine ended up being powered by a small kitchen-appliance-like gadget called "Mr. Fusion." Maybe ...
excellent. Fusion is much more efficient than fission.
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dhardage
Posts: 4,545
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11/21/2014 10:13:25 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
I have to be honest and say that I am very skeptical about this claim. The work on viable fusion power has been slow and impractical for a long time and it would seem very unlikely that anyone could just suddenly build a working fusion power system. I will be most interested to see how it pans out in then next few years.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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11/22/2014 6:39:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I learned yesterday that indeed there is good reason to be skeptical. The Lockheed press release let's one think that they are getting energy by fusing hydrogen into helium, which is what everybody has been trying to do for fusion power, and what the sun does. Not so. What they are doing is fusing two heavy isotopes prepared separately in a nuclear reactor. So what Lockheed is doing may have use in terms of conveniently locating a power source, but it isn't a basic source of power. There has to be a powerful nuclear reactor to prepare the fuel for the Lockheed fusion process.
Df0512
Posts: 966
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11/28/2014 2:13:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
About the Andrea Rossi"s E-Cat. It is supposedly an actual cold fusion reator. The article states that "six (reputable) researchers from Italy and Sweden" wrote up a report on it to explaining the research the did on it. The results are pretty amazing.

http://www.extremetech.com...
Idealist
Posts: 2,520
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12/5/2014 9:17:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 11/21/2014 10:13:25 AM, dhardage wrote:
I have to be honest and say that I am very skeptical about this claim. The work on viable fusion power has been slow and impractical for a long time and it would seem very unlikely that anyone could just suddenly build a working fusion power system. I will be most interested to see how it pans out in then next few years.

I guess it depends on how you look at it. If the work has been going-on for a very long time then it would exactly be a "sudden" breakthrough, no? A lot of new tech comes as the result of the fusion of many disparate ideas.
suttichart.denpruektham
Posts: 1,115
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12/13/2014 10:05:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/5/2014 9:17:16 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 11/21/2014 10:13:25 AM, dhardage wrote:
I have to be honest and say that I am very skeptical about this claim. The work on viable fusion power has been slow and impractical for a long time and it would seem very unlikely that anyone could just suddenly build a working fusion power system. I will be most interested to see how it pans out in then next few years.

I guess it depends on how you look at it. If the work has been going-on for a very long time then it would exactly be a "sudden" breakthrough, no? A lot of new tech comes as the result of the fusion of many disparate ideas.

... if you asked me, I would say "statistical significant" have little to tell us about anything. If it's feasible, then it's feasible because there are physical mechanism behind that make it's functional - not because it took us last experiments to archive breakthrough last time so it should took us around the same time to achieve the result now.

and, physically, I can understand why people are being sceptical about this technology.