Clean Energy: HiPER a future energy source?

img HiPER plant After two years intensive work involving over 1000 top-level scientists, the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) has published on Thursday 19 October the roadmap outlining 35 opportunities for major science facilities over the next 20 years.

The HiPER laser project has been included in the list as a key opportunity to demonstrate a high technology solution for a long-term supply of environmentally clean energy.

…Fusion energy is an attractive, environmentally clean power source using sea water as its principal source of fuel. No greenhouse gases and long-lived radioactive waste are produced. …

To date, exploitation of inertial fusion energy has been limited to the defense sector due to the scale of the laser facilities needed to initiate the process, and because of the classified nature of the x-ray driven implosion. The advent of “Fast Ignition” – the approach used by HiPER – has completely changed the landscape.

To move towards a commercial energy source, parallel activities in high repetition rate laser systems, mass production of fusion capsules, viable designs for the power station, and optimization of the fusion energy production mechanism are required.

The HiPER project aims to bring all these activities together in a coordinated manner across Europe. A demonstration that energy can be produced from laser driven fusion is already due in the period 2010-2012.

A consortium of over 50 senior laser and plasma scientists from nine countries have worked over the past two years to prepare the conceptual design of HiPER. The consortium will now direct their efforts to preparing the case for obtaining preparatory design funding as part of the European Commission’s response to the ESFRI roadmap. The design stage is anticipated to last three years, preparing the case for construction of this €800M facility.

More information:
HiPER project web site
ESFRI web site

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