How the Lockheed Martin Fusion Reactor could Forever Change the Energy Landscape
Aerospace company Lockheed Martin claims it has made a major technological breakthrough in its development of fusion energy, widely believed to be the next step in energy. Of course, this technology would change the energy industry, and even the world, as we know it.
The project is part of Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works and has been under development for around 4 years. So, what makes this project different from others and why is it so important?
The reactor can fit in the back of a truck.
Size matters. Fusion energy requires big, massive reactors and a ton of space. Lockheed’s reactors are small enough to fit in the bed of a pickup, allowing for incredible deployment capabilities. According to the company, this is about 10 times smaller than a normal reactor.
The applications are endless.
Lockheed is the Pentagon’s largest supplier, meaning the tech could be used for military purposes. There’s also the transportation aspect, though that’s admittedly quite a ways off still. With fusion energy, the possible would open up greatly, especially when used in a practical capacity.
It’s a comprehensive solution to the global energy crisis.
Fusion energy is clean, efficient, and if readily available, could completely shift the energy landscape away from fossil fuels. It would help eliminate radioactive waste and produces far less waste than coal fired power plants.
It might be coming sooner than you think.
While it may seem fusion energy is a long way off, Lockheed believes they can have an operational reactor within 10 years.
“We would like to get to a prototype in five generations,” Dr. Thomas McGuire, leader of Skunk Work’s Revolutionary Technology division, said. “If we can meet our plan of doing a design-build-test generation every year, that will put us at about five years, and we've already shown we can do that in the lab. So it wouldn't be at full power, like a working concept reactor, but basically just showing that all the physics works.”
Even if it’s just a prototype, it’s one step closer to a future of cleaner, more efficient energy.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.