EDITOR’S NOTE: On October 16 2014, Forbes Magazine published the following article on Fusion Energy that I thought it would be of interest to the Business Thinker magazine visitors to have it reposted here.
Mr. Loren Thompson is a Contributor to Forbes Magazine. Writes about national security, especially its business dimensions.
When I interviewed Lockheed Martin Chairman & CEO Marillyn Hewson for Forbes.com in August, she stressed how pleased she was with her company’s current business mix. And well she might be. Many analysts say the world’s biggest defense contractor is also the best positioned in military markets for future success. Lockheed is replacing most of the joint force’s Cold War fighters, it dominates the military space business, it is the biggest provider of information services to the federal government, and its technology is found on every warship in the U.S. fleet.
(Disclosure: Lockheed Martin contributes to my think tank and is a consulting client.)
However, with little fanfare Hewson has been making a slew of investments in businesses beyond Lockheed Martin’s traditional military focus. The company has developed a filter that can remove salt from seawater a hundred times more efficiently than existing processes. It has secured a license to mine polymetallic nodules containing rare earths on the Pacific seabed. It has won awards for developing a revolutionary approach to farming millions of fish at sea in an environmentally friendly way. And this week, its storied Skunk Works — a secretive research site in California named after the moonshine factory in the hillbilly cartoon strip Li’L Abner – disclosed a breakthrough in fusion research that could transform the world’s energy future.
Briefly stated, the breakthrough would enable development of compact fusion reactors ten times more efficient than existing fusion designs. A 100 megawatt power source capable of generating enough electricity for 80,000 homes could be carried on a single truck, sustained by a mere 55 pounds of low-cost hydrogen fuel per year. Unlike in the case of fission reactors, there would be no risk of a meltdown and no long-term challenge in handling radioactive waste. Instead, the technology would exploit the same physics powering the Sun to deliver clean energy in unprecedented abundance. The company says it can have a working prototype in five years, and a saleable commercial product in ten.
What got missed by much of the initial coverage of this breakthrough is how extensive Lockheed Martin’s portfolio of renewable energy ventures has become. Senior management apparently decided some time ago that clean energy was the most attractive business development opportunity beyond its traditional military markets, so it now has over a dozen separate ventures in progress — often in partnership with other companies. Here is a sampling of what the company is doing energy-wise in addition to its fusion research.
To read the entire article please click on the this link: http://onforb.es/1nqxy9n