×

Fusion energy's front-runners

Fully harnessing fusion power—the ability to produce energy by combining atoms rather than splitting them—sounds like an elusive, science-fiction dream. But billions of dollars in investment are trying to make that fiction a reality, according to a recent article by OilPrice.com.

Tom McGuire is the head of the compact fusion research team at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works.
Eric Schulzinger | Lockheed Martin
Tom McGuire is the head of the compact fusion research team at Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works.

Scientists and engineers have made significant steps in fusion—such as creating the hydrogen bomb. But building a fusion reactor that can create massive amounts of energy without generating nuclear waste or greenhouse gases? That's something scientists and engineers have been working on for decades.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin claims that it will have a working fusion reactor prototype within a few years and a commercially viable one within the next decade, Oilprice said. And it's not the only company working on one: Tri-Alpha, based in California, Helion Energy in Washington, and Lawrenceville Plasma Physics in New Jersey are all working to develop prototype reactors.

Some are skeptical of Lockheed Martin's promises and think that a fully functioning prototype is farther in the future—if even scientifically possible.

For the full story, click here.