On 4-7 October 2022, the top European Big Science research facilities will meet together with industry in Granada (Spain) in the Big Science Business Forum (BSBF) 2022 to present their business opportunities for the period 2022-2026 worth 37.100 million euros. At this event industry will have a unique opportunity to learn about the Big Science investments in the coming years in different technology areas and to network with key representatives from the Big Science organizations and other stakeholders.
In the preparation of this key event in 2021, the BSBF webinar miniseries “A look into the future of Big Science infrastructures” organized by CDTI (Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology in Spain) takes a leap to glimpse what the future might bring in terms of new facilities, experiments or upgrades and what challenges lie ahead in the future. In three episodes, representatives from different Big Science facilities lay out their research and development plans and future projects, providing industry a first picture of their technology needs and opportunities for collaboration which will drive the Big Science market in the decades to come.
On the 11th of November, it was the turn of the episode focused on fusion energy entitled “Strategies, roadmaps and development programmes of Fusion Energy Research Infrastructures”. It looked ahead to identify the technologies that will drive new developments and future projects as well as the strategies for the future research and development programmes as well as discussed how industry can get involved in early phases.
It is expected that fusion could meet humanity’s energy needs for millions of years. Fusion fuel is plentiful and easily accessible and will play a future climate change mitigating role as a low carbon energy source. How long it will take to recreate the process of the stars on the Earth? EUROfusion, represented at the webinar by Programme Manager Prof. Dr. Tony Donné, has developed a roadmap to align the priorities in fusion research and development towards the ultimate goal of achieving electricity from fusion energy; it recognizes fusion energy as a potential long-term solution and understands that Europe needs to remain at the forefront of developing fusion technologies.
In the short to medium term, the key research infrastructure is the ITER project, a worldwide tokamak, which will demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of magnetic fusion. While the design of a demonstration fusion power plant DEMO is already on-going, operation of ITER will give important input to fine tune the DEMO design. DEMO will demonstrate first electricity production to the grid by fusion. At the webinar, ITER and DEMO projects were represented by F4E Deputy Chief Financial Officer Mr Leonardo Biagioni and Head of Market Intelligence Group at Fusion for Energy Mr Victor Sáez.
A strong programme of accompanying research and innovation is needed alongside ITER and DEMO. An essential element in this respect is the realization of a test facility called IFMIF-DONES for validating materials to be used in the harsh conditions of a fusion power plant, represented by Consortium Director of IFMIF DONES – CIEMAT Dr. Ángel Ibarra. There are also challenging technologies being developed by innovative companies such as Tokamak Energy, represented by Executive Vice Chairman Dr. David Kingham, that could be paramount for the future of fusion energy.
After the presentations by the above key entities, the event finished a roundtable moderated by the Danish Industrial Liaison Officer (ILO) for ITER and Chair of the Fusion ILOs Network Dr Søren B Korsholm from DTU (Denmark) and the closing words by the local organizer Spanish ILO for ITER and fusion related projects at CDTI Ms Belén Del Cerro.