Rollin' Like Sisyphus

That Fusion Thing

Posted in The Fail Pail by Huckleberry on October 17, 2014

Go ahead. Cram this into a bottle. See how that works out for you.

Go ahead. Cram this into a bottle. See how that works out for you.

So Lockheed Martin announced earlier this week that it wants to put a little sunshine in your back pocket with a “revolutionary” thermo-nuclear fusion reactor. They have created a rather impressive set of marketing materials designed to attract venture capital for the project, materials that are boastful and vague:

To mimic the energy created by the sun and control it here on earth, we’re creating a concept that can be contained using a magnetic bottle. The bottle is able to handle extremely hot temperatures, reaching hundreds of millions of degrees. By containing this reaction, we can release it in a controlled fashion to create energy we can use. The heat energy created using this compact fusion reactor will drive turbine generators by replacing the combustion chambers with simple heat exchangers. In turn, the turbines will then generate electricity or the propulsive power for a number of applications.

Could this work?
Would I want to be on a boat, a plane or in a building with, basically, the heat and fury of the fucking sun trapped in a bottle, trying desperately to get out, while the only thing holding a near-instantaneous incineration of everything I know and love at bay is a magnetic field – which is difficult to keep stable in even ideal environments — powered through a constant flow of electricity that can blink out at any time due to external circumstance or internal interference?
No, I think I’ll skip that altogether, if it’s all the same to you.
Besides, this makes it seem like the only thing keeping fusion reactors locked in the realm of pipe dreams is unwieldy size. In fact, if the reaction could be made 1) safe and 2) efficient, someone would have made a building-sized thermo-nuclear reactor workable. The fact is that this is one of the few instances where size truly doesn’t matter. We’ve had hot fusion reactors available for more than half a century.
To wit:

It’s been widely accepted – and I agree – that the only practical fusion reactor for power generation is one that uses a cold-fusion process, which would also theoretically be compact and efficient. However, that just may not be feasible either, because it’s been more than 50 years and we’re not there, so don’t put away your fossil fuels quite yet.


4 Responses

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  1. El Borak said, on October 17, 2014 at 10:26

    Why do you hate science so much?

  2. Doom said, on October 17, 2014 at 11:16

    I just tried to end the debate, on this topic, fairly recently. I doubt if what I said had any impact. Believers (in the insane) will believe, even though they have been fooled many times, and on this very topic, in the past. God doesn’t exist to them, pure fiction, but green energy, organic food, and extraterrestrial aliens are all perfectly acceptable, oh… and infinite numbers of unreachable, unknowable, dimensions, to balance out the improbabilities. Actually, the number of times (that could be remembered) about being fooled, was examined in the process. Oh, toss in using these little bouncing betties to power home and private industry, our ships, and throw in electric cars (which he priced at $25k, even if industry says they lose money with a $50k tag).

    With some people, there simply is no hope. Well, there is hope, but… not the kind you want to be near when it hits reality.

    El Borak,

    You ought to write books or something! I laughed, I cried, I made fun of an author! Never mind. Besides, I was just… funnin’ the author. No broken bones, no blood, no true bad intent, no foul?

    • El Borak said, on October 17, 2014 at 19:18

      You ought to write books or something

      Lol. Yeah, right. So you can make fun of me too?

  3. Giraffe said, on October 17, 2014 at 11:35

    I understand that fission reactors aren’t too bad if not designed to make fuel for the fusion reactors featured above.

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