TECH

This New Fusion Reactor Could Save The Planet

16/10/2014 11:16 BST | Updated 16/10/2014 11:59 BST

Lockheed Martin has shocked the world by revealing its very own 'mini' fusion reactor which it claims will provide infinite amounts of energy within just 10 years.

Called the 'Compact Fusion Reactor' the company claims that if it works, it'll be able to create a device the size of a truck that can power an entire town.

Developed by a team at Lockheed Martin's top-secret Skunkworks, the design is that of a bottle shape within which ultra hot plasma is then created and contained using two ring-shaped magnets.

compact fusion reactor

With the plasma safely suspended in the middle the team then claims they can safely harness the energy produced.

This startling claim comes at a time when both the US government and European countries are working to create their own fusion reactors, both of which are massive undertakings, physically and financially.

In the US the National Ignition Facility is attempting to create nuclear fusion by using a building-sized laser to kickstart the reaction.

In Europe a group of countries are working on an alternative method called the Tokamak reactor. This creates a ring of ultra-hot plasma, a giant ring of electromagnets then suspend the plasma allowing for a stable reaction.

Both of these techniques, although feasible, are hugely expensive.

Lockheed Martin believes that by starting small they're able to overcome many of the hurdles that these current engineers are facing.

Nuclear fusion is widely regarded as the holy grail for the energy crisis the planet is facing: it's relatively clean and when achieved can produce potentially limitless amounts of power at far greater yields than those found in todays fission reactors.

Scientists are reportedly remaining skeptical about Lockheed's claims however the company is confident that it can have a working prototype within five years and a finished product ready to ship in just ten.

Incredibly Lockheed Martin isn't planning on stopping there either, its secondary motives are that by building something so small they can eventually use it to power jet fighters and even spacecraft allowing man to fly to Mars.