Laser-driven fusion

An international collaboration has launched a research project aimed at sourcing safe, clean and abundant energy.


An international collaboration has launched a research project aimed at sourcing safe, clean and abundant energy for the ScienceMuseum in London.


The European High-Power Energy Research Facility (HiPER) project hopes to provide the scientific and technological advances necessary to demonstrate the feasibility of laser-driven fusion as a future power source.


Scientists, engineers and ministers from across Europe gathered at the event to mark the start of the project’s three-year preparatory phase. HiPER will involve partners from across 10 European Community countries and over 20 organisations.


Building on more than 50 years of research, the HiPER project hopes to generate energy by focusing high-power laser beams onto atoms to create enormous pressures and temperatures.


The technology makes use of atoms that are readily available in sea water with no subsequent long-lived radioactive waste materials or greenhouse gases.


Scientists are confident that this process has the potential to provide the planet with a long-term energy source that does not rely on fossil fuels.


The demonstration of net energy from laser fusion is scheduled to take place at the turn of the decade on two large-scale lasers being constructed in California and Bordeaux.


The technology will also benefit fundamental science, with the laser energy source allowing measurements to be made on universal matter that were not previously possible.