Lockheed-Martin’s Compact Fusion and E-cat Not Rivals or Competitors
Andrea Rossi’s E-cat is not the only experimental fusion technology making news. The giant American defense contractor and aerospace company Lockheed-Martin (NYSE: LMT) has come out of the closet and admitted that it is working on a compact hot fusion device.
The interesting thing is that Rossi’s e-cat low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) or cold fusion device and Lockheed-Martin’s technology could easily coexist. The two technologies seem to have very different purposes and potentials.
Lockheed-Martin’s website indicates that a team at its Skunk Works the secret research and development facility that created such iconic aircraft as the Stealth Bomber and the SR-Blackbird spy plane is trying to develop a large scale power source. It mentions a reactor about the size of a cargo container that would generate around 100 megawatts of electricity or enough to power a city of 100,000 people.
Lockheed-Martin wants to adapt hot fusion reactors as a power source for ships, spacecraft, and even aircraft as well. It also mentions desalination turning salt water into drinking water as another use for fusion. Lockheed-Martin’s engineers think the technology will be available for military applications (warships) within ten years.
Basically Lockheed-Martin is developing a for large scale industrial, commercial and military purposes. Its device would be more complex (and probably more expensive) than the Ecat but generate a lot more power. Rossi’s current ecat unit about the size of the compact fusion reactor would generate around one megawatt of heat. So the compact fusion device would have about 100 times the energy density of the ecat.
What this really means is that the Lockheed-Martin device is designed is a replacement for fission reactors and for large coal or gas fired turbines. That makes it more similar to Brillouin’s hot tube LENR device than Ecat. It is not designed as an onsite power source for homes or businesses as ecat seems to be.
Ecat’s real competitors are fuel cell systems like the Bloom Box and the Reddox Cube or solar panels which generate less than a megawatt of energy on site. The compact fusion device is designed to generate large amounts of electricity or heat.
It must noted here that both the ecat and compact fusion are basically theoretical devices right now. Lockheed-Martin admits that it does not have a prototype and won’t for around five years so we don’t even know if their process works or not. Rossi has tested his device and published test results about it but he hasn’t produced a practical energy source yet.
What is exciting though is the capability of the compact fusion device and the fact that a large corporation like Lockheed-Martin which has a TTM revenue of $44.6 billion and an enterprise value of $60.7 billion is working on it. Lockheed-Martin certainly has the resources to commercialize this technology and the capability to market it to the military and others.
The truth is that we have only scratched the surface of the capabilities of both cold fusion and hot fusion. We don’t know whether these technologies will work or what their limits are yet. It is entirely possible that the human race could have access to unlimited amounts of very cheap energy within 20 years. That makes both forms of fusion extremely disruptive technologies.
My guess is that a lot of giant corporations are spending a lot of money on both kinds of fusion. They just are not admitting it yet, although I have a feeling that and more of them will and one will probably unveil a working fusion device within ten years.
It is also highly likely that both hot fusion and cold fusion reactors will be operating in our cities within two decades. The energy crisis might be over and global warming will be simply a phrase in an old book by a second rate politician named Al Gore whom nobody remembers. One thing is certain we need to devote far money and resources to both cold and hot fusion research now.
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