Lockheed Martin stirred the news energy pot yesterday with a YouTube video indicating its researchers have reached the stage where they think they’ve solved the fusion-energy puzzle — the dream of sun-type nuclear energy that is both extremely cheap and abundant. The purported solution: Patents pending on a new, smaller-scale reactor that could fit on a boat or airplane or (not stated directly in the video but implied), would result in an extreme makeover of a conventional building’s boiler room.
Now, I’ve heard fusion energy stories for years — they generally travel within he world of wild-eyed crazies or startups seeking to scam people out of their money. But this stuff comes from Lockheed Martin, undoubtedly a major cog within the U.S. military/industrial complex. So, it seems, should we take this stuff seriously?
The Guardian and a few other media outlets have poured some cold (hopefully not heavy) water on the fusion energy story, noting the clear lack of details and specifics within the Lockheed Martin video. And I find it strange that this video would be released without a press conference where Lockheed Martin staff would answer some obvious and important questions such as specifically what are the advances, how will they work, be tested, and validated. (Yes, there may be a need for trade secret secrecy while the patents are under-way — but why, if that is the case, do you need to release a video like this to the public?)
Still, it is exciting if true — and the story carries a significant brand name behind it, so maybe it is. If so, construction practices and building design in the mechanical/electrical space will, I expect, experience some astounding changes within the next couple of decades. We will see.