Fusion has been the holy grail of energy since the 50s, though it hasn’t yet been able to produce more power than it consumes to run. Many brilliant people have tried and have failed to make it work. In this Google Solve-for-X presentation, Charles Chase from Lockheed Martin announces a radical solution to the global problems of energy access and climate change: compact fusion reactors. The Advanced Development Program, better known as the original “Skunkworks“, is responsible for developing some of Lockheed’s most famous designs such as the SR-71 Blackbird and the F-22 Raptor. They take far out, ambitious ideas and engineer them into reality.
There are currently 1.3 billion people without energy access. For those who do have access, energy use is growing; Charles explains that energy demand will double by 2050. The roughly 1,200 new coal power plants required to meet such future demand would cost trillions and endanger our environment. Lockheed Martin thinks they have an “adjacent possibility” in which something new is created by combining different parts of things that already exist. Using a high beta method of plasma containment would allow the reaction to finally break fusion’s plagued history. (β = plasma pressure / magnetic pressure) Compact Fusion Reactors could become a mass-produced alternative to the large, expensive, and complex systems of the past. ”If we don’t try, nothing is going to happen”, Charles Chase concluded during his presentation on this incredible moonshot project, “it takes a persistence of vision.”
Could this become reality? Imagine what could we do with this abundant energy source…
Lori Cheek from the amazing NYC Startups talks Love, Passion and Startups!