The Front-Runners In Fusion Energy

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael McDonald via OilPrice.com,

Fusion power has been something of a holy grail in the energy field for decades. The idea of harnessing the same energy that powers the sun naturally excites many. At the same time, despite decades of research, fusion energy has yet to come close to being a reality. The only significant practical advance in fusion reactions has been the development of thermonuclear weapons like the hydrogen bomb which, for all intents and purposes, serve the same purpose as conventional nuclear weapons.

Still, even today billions of dollars continues to be poured into fusion research at research labs around the world. And in the last decade, there has been a proliferation of interest in fusion power from commercial sources. The largest company doing work in fusion power is probably Lockheed Martin. Lockheed claims that it will have a prototype reactor in a just a few years’ time and that a commercial product could be coming within a decade.

If that occurs it would be enormously exciting – fusion power offers the potential for vastly more energy production than traditional nuclear energy with virtually no nuclear waste and no greenhouse gases. It is also practically limitless, as its fuel source comes from materials already found abundantly around the world.

But, many have rightly expressed skepticism about Lockheed’s claims, given fusion’s long history of near-breakthroughs that don’t come to pass. Thus the onus is very much on the company to show that it has a working product.

Lockheed’s not the only one in the space though. There are several start-ups, backed in many cases by vast investments, which are working toward the goal of commercially viable fusion power. Tri-Alpha, based near Irvine CA, Helion Energy in Redmond, WA, and Lawrenceville Plasma Physics of Middlesex, NJ are all taking serious runs at developing prototype reactors. If one of the firms does manage to come up with a breakthrough design, then the implication would be enormous.

The problem with fusion power is one of engineering, not science. The main hold up is the struggle to contain the plasma and keep it suspended in mid-air away from the sides of the reactor vessel, then heat that matter up to the point that the reaction takes place in earnest. This all requires an enormous amount of energy.

In fact, in 60 years of trying, no one has been able to consistently demonstrate a process that would let a fusion reactor create more energy than it consumes. All previous fusion reactors have used more energy than they produce. Unfortunately, this is a problem which has stumped many of the greatest minds of the twentieth century, and the problem may prove insurmountable.

There is some hope for the technology though. Tri-Alpha, in particular, has done some innovative things with its reactor designs, which have resulted in much longer-lived fusion reactions than others have previously demonstrated. Tri-Alpha is backed by a massive pile of cash but has been secretive about its work to date.

From an investors point of view though, fusion power remains very far from being an investable technology. The work required to make a commercially viable product at this stage is just too great for the vast majority of investors. Add to that the lack of good pure-play investing vehicles, and fusion power for now looks like it is still more science fiction than investment opportunity.

For small investors who are truly excited about the space, Lockheed Martin is a reasonable investment though. The company may or may not have gotten ahead of itself in its recent claims about prototype reactors, but given the size and scale of the firm, there is more than enough diversification to offset any set-backs on the fusion front.

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knukles's picture

Lockheed also "hinted" some time ago when they mused about their fusion (reasonably compact, too) power units, that they were on the cusp of a time warp drive system to bend the time-space fabric, etc....
Exciting stuff ito fight off the Grays, Annanuki, Tall Blondes, Reptilains, etc.   Screw the war on terror, this will be HUGE!

Cynicles's picture

How is Mr Noory these days?

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris is love Coast-to-Coast-AM! Is frequent tune in by Shortwave radio. Boris is remember 1989 when is Cold Fusion by Ponns-Fleishman. Amazing is Russia scientist is repeat experiment in one week with better result! French scientist is also repeat! Then when methodological flaw is spot, everyone is just to go away... Cold Fusion R.I.P.

... so sad!

Headbanger's picture

WTF!!    FUSION!!??

What about a much more viable and proven technology like oh say..

THORIUM MOLTEN SALT REACTORS YOU MOOKS!

DUHHH!!

 

SickDollar's picture

MUST WATCH VIDEO; watch how cops operate in a legit business . the new norm in AMRIKA

Santa Ana pot shop raid sparks investigation:watch cops destroying cams , they forgot one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTKTfUHfeKM

 


NoDebt's picture

Solar panel makers claim they have already perfected fusion energy.  It's just the damned clouds and this stupid spinning planet that's the problem.

 

SWRichmond's picture

I am old enough to remember Elmo Bumpy Torus.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Fusion power is only 10 years away, and has been for 50 years. Hello? Is this thing on?

Publicus's picture

Fusion power as we know it will never happen, as all fusion in nature is electrically powered from it's surroundings.

 

The sun is an anode, the temperature is actually higher on the outside than on the inside. Fusion is but a side effect of the energy transfer from the surroundings into the sun.

Kenbridgeguy's picture

Perhaps you could descibe what fails. I believe the comment to be accurate, as do a couple hundered thousand other followers of the Electric Sun model.

Publicus's picture

Not just the electric sun, but the whole of the electric universe.

 

While we now realize that fusion will never be an energy source, we gain something even better, the ability to derive energy from the enviroment, without fusion.

Ginsengbull's picture

Empty space does not conduct electricity.

Ginsengbull's picture

I thought they actually did get over unity with that.

 

The only way to keep the plasma from leaking out of the magnetic bottle, was to bend the ends around so they meet, like a donut.

 

Pure genius.

 

Maybe putting one at the north pole, and one at the south pole, would give it a little boost from the natural magnetism present.

SWRichmond's picture

The only way to keep the plasma from leaking out of the magnetic bottle, was to bend the ends around so they meet, like a donut.

Pure genius.

I always thought so too.

PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Solar energy delivered on site, everyday, for free. You gellin?

The Delicate Genius's picture
The Delicate Genius (not verified) SickDollar Jun 12, 2015 4:46 PM

amazing, huh - saw an article on it at reason

http://reason.com/blog/2015/06/12/cops-raid-marijuana-dispensary-destroy-s

Will they be prosecuted for property damage and theft? How about ingesting a controlled substance? Where's the DOJ?

PeeramidIdeologies's picture

Well that's akward. Kinda like wearing the same suit to the same party...

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris is small stockpile of ThCl4. You are wishing for small purchase?

(Warning: Do no store ThCl4 in refrigeration unit on balcony of apartment. Risk of melenoma, sterilization, and hair loss. Do not transporting in family vehicle with child present.)

mkkby's picture

Fuck, fusion is easy.  You just need the equivalent gravity of a star.  I'm surprised no company has the nerve to patend this.  We all could be paying them a royalty every time we go outside.

blueRidgeBoy's picture

I love you Boris, please post more often.

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

Boris is love you! (but not in pansy way, but is manly Russia way, like is give kiss on both side of face, but not is kiss lip of male counterpart). Neighbor wi-fi is very slow and how are you saying, "spotty"? But Boris is try very frequent visit of Zero Hedge more often.

Max Steel's picture

lockheed has benn claiming breakthrough in fusion tech for past many years . But this is bullish !

Crash Overide's picture

Some interesting projects here:

http://peswiki.com/index.php/Main_Page

 

Not so much big companies but hobby guys and smaller entrepreneurs.

Smartie37's picture

Pretty funny, Boris, but the problem with cold fusion was actually that the terminology was wrong and there was was a misunderstanding of the science----it turns out the cold fusion phenomenon was really LENR--Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.  

Here's a link to a slideset that explains it clearly and completely:

http://www.slideshare.net/lewisglarsen?utm_campaign=profiletracking&utm_...

Lattice Energy LLC - US Government Labs Reported Clear-cut Neutron Capture Data from P&F Cells in Oct 1989 - May 13 2015

 

 

Demdere's picture

What methodological flaw?

The experiment has been repeated many times by many teams of researchers.

https://thinkpatriot.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/straight-from-the-horses-ass/

NoDebt's picture

Nothing's too cheap to tax.  Take carbon, for instance.

Consuelo's picture

Never the same since Art Bell hung it up.   Noory's guests are the same, but he just never struck me as being anywhere near as convincing as Bell.

0b1knob's picture

There is a law attributed to an expert in fusion power.   I can't remember his name.  It goes something like:

 

 

20 years ago commercial fusion power generation was 20 years in the future.

Right now commercail fusion power generation is still 20 years in the future.

At any given time commercail fusion power generation will ALWAYS be 20 years in the future.

AGuy's picture

I can simplify that for you:    Fusion: Power of the Future!

Joking aside, Fusion is already here, and in most neighborhoods. You can buy fusion just about everywhere and its commerical sucess. I am sure by now you think I am crazy. But the truth is that you buy fusion at your local Ford dealer. It even comes with power windows and A/C (optional) :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

SHRAGS's picture

The future isn't what it used to be.

MonetaryApostate's picture

What if I could give you unlimited free energy?

 

I've seen a lot of false scientific statements in my days, like:
"Pertual Motion Machines are impossible." - Machio Kaku

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43kB20bHsTU

 

I've found a better way & it's incredibly cheap & infinitely more powerful!!

http://galeinnes.blogspot.com/2015/06/asking-for-help.html

(Being a programmer helped me find it, along with having over 90 jobs in my days. :)

HolyfieldsOtherEar's picture

What about thorium-salt nuclear power? It's been around since the 40s. Probably canned because it can't be used to build weapons.

Bunghole's picture

I've often dreamed of a backyard fusion reactor to power my home, but TPTB will never allow widespread independance from the grid.

Cynicles's picture

Yes, if the grid is a metaphore for the gov.

MonetaryApostate's picture

They've outlawed living off the grid in some states already... (Smelling like a Fascist Corporatocracy to me!)

Anyway, I have the answer, self running smaller products...

(Fuck the titanic, let it sink, we'll defeat it with pure GENIUS!)

Bush Baby's picture

Let the Japanese give it a shot

Schaublin's picture

There is a big, free to use fusion reactor about 93 million miles away - near enough to enable and  to provide for life on Earth yet far enough away to be safe. 

In a million years time The Sun will still be there and so will the Earth but men and their delusions of God like powers will all be dust.

Depression is Coming's picture

Harness the ionosphere and power the earth longer than humans will exist on it. The sun recharges our ionosphere. The population needed to actually start draining all that energy would not fit on our planet.

Ah shit I forgot, you can't charge people monthly bill if we have a wireless global system of electricity..

SUN TAX?!

Depression is Coming's picture

FUSION ROFL!!

What a fucking joke. Good thing JP Morgan defunded Nikola Tesla. We wouldn't want to give the plebs free access to worldwide wireless electricity.

ebworthen's picture

It will create a black hole that will swallow the galaxy, or create some comic book mutant heroes.

Or, make a bunch of scientists a good living for decades, and the corporations rich.

What good is a fusion reactor if Back to the Future is Biff's World?

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

You nailed it in your 2nd paragraph. 

These institutional careerists and funding scammers have been 10 years away for at least 30 years, cause I remember visiting one such facility at the U of Rochester in the early 80s.

What this world needs, is not more people and sheeple, moar Debt or more Tech, but more Wisdom.  Desperately.  Now.

Citxmech's picture

I'm still waiting for my damn Moller flying car.  That POS has been "almost" ready since the 60s!