Bringing fusion electricity to the grid

Jan 16, 2013

The European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) has published a roadmap which outlines how to supply fusion electricity to the grid by 2050. The roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy breaks the quest for fusion energy down into eight missions. For each mission, it reviews the current status of research, identifies open issues, proposes a research and development programme and estimates the required resources. It points out the needs to intensify industrial involvement and to seek all opportunities for collaboration outside Europe.

The goal of fusion research is to make the energy of the stars available on Earth by fusing . is nearly unlimited as it draws on the abundant raw materials and lithium. It does not produce or long-lived . It is intrinsically safe, as chain reactions are impossible.

So far, fusion scientists have succeeded in generating fusion power, but the required energy input was greater than the output. The international experiment ITER, which starts operating in 2020, will be the first device to produce a net surplus of fusion power, namely 500 from a 50 megawatt input.

Europe holds a leading position in fusion research and hosts ITER. The fact that the ITER project is funded and run by six other nations besides Europe reflects the growing expectations on fusion energy. China, for instance, is launching an aggressive programme aimed at fusion electricity well before 2050. "Europe can keep pace only if it focusses its effort and pursues a pragmatic approach to fusion energy" states Dr Francesco Romanelli, EFDA Leader.

Focussing on the research and engineering activities needed to achieve fusion electricity, the roadmap shows that these can be carried out within a reasonable budget. The amount of resources proposed are of the same level as those originally recommended for the seventh European Research Framework Programme – outside the European investment in the ITER construction.

The roadmap covers three periods: The upcoming European Research Framework Programme, Horizon 2020, the years 2021-2030 and the time between 2031 and 2050.

ITER is the key facility of the roadmap as it is expected to achieve most of the important milestones on the path to fusion power. Thus, the vast majority of resources proposed for Horizon 2020 are dedicated to ITER and its accompanying experiments. The second period is focussed on maximising ITER exploitation and on preparing the construction of a demonstration power plant DEMO, which will for the first time supply fusion electricity to the grid. Building and operating DEMO is the subject of the last roadmap phase.

In the course of the roadmap implementation, the programme will move from being laboratory-based and science-driven towards an industry- and technology-driven venture. ITER construction already generates a turnover of about 6 billion euro. The design, construction and operation of DEMO requires full involvement of industry to ensure that, after a successful DEMO operation, industry can take responsibility for commercial .

Explore further: Are electric cars greener? Depends on where you live

More information: The roadmap document can be downloaded here: www.efda.org/wpcms/wp-content/… 2.356-web.pdf?91a98e

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New jet results tick all the boxes for ITER

Oct 08, 2012

Latest results from the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion device are giving researchers increasing confidence in prospects for the next-generation ITER project, the international experiment that is expected ...

World's largest fusion device goes back to work

Sep 05, 2011

September is commonly the month where things begin to gather pace again, and in the world of fusion energy research, things are no different. European scientists working on the Joint European Torus (JET), ...

ELISE investigating new type of heating for ITER

Nov 29, 2012

(Phys.org)—Tests for the heating that is to bring the plasma of the ITER international fusion test reactor to a temperature of many million degrees can go ahead from today: After three years of construction, ...

European fusion computer comes to Julich

Jan 30, 2009

A new supercomputer will help us to understand the complex physical effects taking place inside the ITER fusion reactor. The computer known as HPC-FF will deliver computing power of about 100 teraflop/s and is optimally suited ...

Recommended for you

Are electric cars greener? Depends on where you live

14 hours ago

Long thought a thing of the future, electric cars are becoming mainstream. Sales in the United States of plug-in, electric vehicles nearly doubled last year. Credible forecasts see the number rising within ...

Building a better battery

16 hours ago

Imagine an electric car with the range of a Tesla Model S - 265 miles - but at one-fifth the $70,000 price of the luxury sedan. Or a battery able to provide many times more energy than today's technology ...

Researchers find way to turn sawdust into gasoline

20 hours ago

Researchers at KU Leuven's Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis have successfully converted sawdust into building blocks for gasoline. Using a new chemical process, they were able to convert the cellulose ...

Nanodot team aims to charge phones in less than a minute

Nov 25, 2014

The world of smartphone users, which is a very large base indeed, is ripe for better battery solutions and an Israel-based company has an attractive solution in store, in the form of nanodot batteries that ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.