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Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by TEG, Oct 15, 2014.
Lockheed Martin Pursuing Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Concept Lockheed Martin
It's been said that Fusion (non-solar) is the energy source of the future and it always will be; I would be awesome if that future is finally here.
Wind Turbines, Solar Panels and grid storage aren't as sexy as fusion reactors but they work and they're cost effective. Not saying we shouldn't keep working on Fusion but at the same time we need to accept the fact that we don't have time to wait for miracles. It's ok to buy a lottery ticket once a week.... so long as you keep contributing to your 401k.
It's very unlikely that ANY power plant will have a Capacity Factor >70% in 10 years. In 20 years 40% will probably be seen as good. Utilities rarely add generation to displace existing generation so they are unlikely to invest in nuclear power except to replace retiring plants which doesn't occur very ofter AND with the expansion of wind/solar many plants are retiring due to lack of demand... it would be insane to replace a plant that was retired because it wasn't used enough to be profitable.
Absent any fusion miracles (Which I AM praying for) or $2/w fission (Which I am also praying for) the future belongs to wind/solar and grid storage (Which I am PLANNING for)
BLah blah TEG was first:
Lockheed Martin Pursuing Compact Nuclear Fusion Reactor Concept
"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."
I so hope this works out!
If they can produce a market ready unit in 10 years, it means we are 25 years away from almost free, clean energy. EVs for everyone.
Here Some info about the Reactor geometry :
Wow... they can take technology that doesn't seem to work and make it smaller and cheaper!
Don't take me wrong, I'd love to see it work. I'm just very skeptical. :-(
Where are all our TMC physicist to give some feedback?
It's the new and much improved Tokamak. "Coming soon!". I believe it when I see it. At least LHM has an unlimited budget it would seem...
The key word is "concept". It a design idea, not a working reactor.
I have been waiting my entire life for fusion to become a reality. I'm still waiting. But I believe it is worth continuing to invest serious money into because the upside is so enormous.
I'd just like to point out that decades ago before computers were common they said atomic power (fission) would be too cheap to bother metering and calculating a bill for. (yeah, like the power company wouldn't charge at least an all you can use connection fee, if they couldn't charge per kwh) oh yeah, Too cheap to meter - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Now with computers willing to accrue those millionths of a cent even if it gets that cheap there will still be a bill per unit on top of the flat fee.
In 1975, one of my friends at university changed his school to go to Europe and work on a tokamak. That's very close to 40 years ago! Scary. He explained (way back then...) that you needed a torus because otherwise the plasma escapes from the ends, you just can't make a magnetic/electric field strong enough to prevent that. The video has some handwaving around that area. I'd like to understand it better.
One problem that I just recently became aware of is that spare neutron from the Deuterium-Tritium reaction. Over time the equipment itself absorbs those neutrons and becomes radioactive. So such a reactor definitely has a limited lifetime. That doesn't matter if they're cheap and easy to build, and certainly isn't anything like the nuclear waste from a fission reactor, but is still a bit of a problem.
Cue aneutronic fusion... I don't want to bring up LPP too much since it seems, for some reason, to draw bad blood on this forum. But now I mentioned it at least. I say look to nature and imitate a star or a supernova (dense plasma focus fusion) rather than these tokamaks that probably will never work in reality.
All those magnetic confinement devices are breeders: Lithium 6 absorbs the neutrons and turns to tritium (tritium is used as fuel with the deuterium which is extracted from heavy water). The extra heat is used to power the stem turbines. e.g. whole idea is turn neutron flux to heat.
Also Tokomaks are only devices that work for sure. (Burning plasmas over decade) Problem is that tokamaks need to huge and that's why are extremely expensive...
There seems to be a lot of press floating around putting positive spin on handing $1T to Lockheed for the F-35 program. The Navy is out in the Pacific spending billions tooling around convincing everyone that China's precisely one aircraft carrier requires us to buy 2,300 F-35s.
This fusion story is an old one and until something is actually shown to me in reality I'm gonna take this as simply more PR for Lockheed. It has the side benefit of likely attracting more billions in military spend to support this project. I guess it's better spent on this anyhow.
Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project
Link: Lockheed says makes breakthrough on fusion energy project - Chicago Tribune
This is game-changing, history-making news. While the article alludes to putting the reactors directly into cars and powering them, the truth is that it's much more practical to have an all-electric, battery-powered car in a world that is not dependent on fossil fuels.
Anyone know a car company making those?
Here comes Mr. Fusion.
But I believe that they have not yet even made the Semi sized (that's what they mean by truck) version.
Isn't this what powers the Ford Fusion?
Will it fit in the frunk? :biggrin:
My mistake for posting this in the wrong place. Thanks for moving and merging.
It wouldn't need to fit in the frunk, as long as it fits in your garage. Ideally, there would be a ton of these powering our grid at an extremely low cost and you'd be able to recharge almost anywhere.
Ymh... Although I am all for the fusion power, an idea of a high neutron flux device (with high speed neutrons) which contains good amount of tritium, in some ones garage, is not necessary a good idea...