Lockheed Martin is on its way to bringing a 'world changing' fusion reactor to market, possibly as early as 2019. The compact reactor will be capable of powering tens of thousands of homes to air craft carriers, and anything in between
The Maryland-based defense contractor recently received a patent for the compact fusion reactor (CFR) after filing plans for the device in 2014. According to reports, one generator would be as small as a shipping container but produce the energy to power 80,000 homes or one of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers.
Lockheed division Skunk Works reportedly has been working on the project since 2014.
“I started looking at all the ideas that had been published. I basically took those ideas and melded them into something new by taking the problems in one and trying to replace them with the benefits of others,” Dr. Thomas McGuire of Skunk Works said during a 2014 interview.
Whereas nuclear fission generates energy by splitting atoms, nuclear fusion accomplishes the task by forcing atoms together. Fusion releases vast amounts of energy compared to fission, and scientists have been working on a viable method for decades.
“The nice thing about a fusion reaction is that if somehow it would go out of control, it would just stop itself automatically,” William & Mary’s Saskia Mordijck told Phys.org in 2012. “If a fission reaction goes out of control, it can really go out of control. You can’t stop it and it actually might go into a nuclear meltdown.”
In the video above, Dr. Thomas McGuire explains some of the potential applications of nuclear fusion technology.