Physical sciences, Earth sciences

Fusion technology boosting European industry

Under an EU-funded initiative, a network of brokers worked together to identify novel uses of technology that were developed as part of the European fusion energy programme.

The goal of EUROfusion is to make the energy of stars available on Earth by fusing hydrogen nuclei. To date, European laboratories have succeeded in generating fusion power from abundant materials such as deuterium and hold a leading position in fusion research.

Europe also hosts the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) whose construction is fostering innovation in technologies enabling to produce fusion power greater than the input. These technologies include materials, sensors and measuring techniques, precision engineering and optics.

The EU-funded project FUTTA (Fusion technology transfer action) was launched to promote the transfer of technologies developed through EUROfusion to various industry sectors. The Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO) of the European Space Agency (ESA) undertook the challenge of facilitating and expediting the process.

Technologies attuned to industry's needs were identified during meetings held at five research facilities: the Forschungszentrum Jülich, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany, the Culham Center for Fusion Energy and the Joint European Torus in United Kingdom. Links established between space and fusion communities is anticipated to assist the commercialisation of products based on scientific discoveries.

The ESA Technology Transfer portal was extended to provide information on technologies that can resolve manufacturing problems as well as aid in timely and cost-effective production. For instance, the technique of protective layering on martensitic steel can also be used in turbine blade production as well as solar energy storage.

The FUTTA project used the collective capabilities and expertise of the EIROFORUM members to transfer new technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace with some dispatch.

last modification: 2015-12-29 10:32:48

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