The by now infamous and fiendishly clever Lockheed Martin Skunkworks have recently gone public with a promise of a prototype 100MW Fusion power station within 4 years.
Although in this Solve for X talk Lockheed do not claim to have yet attained fusion I find it perplexing that such a high profile yet secretive company would publicly announce a target date without having some certainty of being able to back up its claims.
Has Human civilisation saved itself at the last minute yet again or is there another explanation for this announcement.
This might be bad news for Eddie O Connor
Until someone figures out a way to manufacture antimatter, fusion is by far the cleanest and most abundant source of power we can hope to harvest. We've known this for a long time, but fusion is hard, and it's expensive to build the giant lasers or toroidal plasma containment systems that are needed to get it to work. By most estimates, we're something like 40 years away from an operational fusion power plant.
"Most estimates" do not, apparently, include research being done at Lockheed Martin's secretive advanced development center, Skunk Works. At Google's Solve For X, Charles Chase describes what his team has been working on: a trailer-sized fusion power plant that turns cheap and plentiful hydrogen (deuterium and tritium) into helium plus enough energy to power a small city. It's safe, it's clean, and Lockheed is promising an operational unit by 2017 with assembly line production to follow, enabling everything from unlimited fresh water to engines that take spacecraft to Mars in one month instead of six.
Lockheed's Skunk Works promises fusion power in four years | DVICE