Australian & Chinese Universities Collaborate On Fusion Energy Research

Australian and Chinese researchers will embark on a joint research on the Holy Grail of energy research—nuclear fusion.

AsianScientist (Apr. 24, 2017) – The University of South China (USC) and the Australian National University (ANU) have signed a memorandum of understanding on fusion energy research, with the prospect of Australia providing China with its first plasma stellarator device.

Energy pundits see nuclear fusion—which powers our sun and all stars in the Universe—as the Holy Grail; it has the potential to provide sustainable, zero-emission and relatively cheap power to grids.

The MoU was signed by Professor Wang Hanqing, Chairman of the Council of USC and Professor Gong Xueyu, leader of the fusion program at USC. Dr. Cormac Corr, Director of the Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility at ANU, said the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with USC was an important step towards developing a future energy source for the world.

After years of funding support from the Australian Government, ANU has developed strong technical expertise in a type of plasma fusion device called a stellarator, one of the two fusion devices that are most likely to be viable power sources.

“We’re working towards making fusion a viable baseload power source by 2050, and Australia working closer with China on this technology will help to make this a reality,” Corr said. “Australia will benefit from enhanced national investment, and for China the relationship will form the core of China’s first stellarator program.”

“The agreement will be finalized in the next few months and will start with significant exchange of technical and academic personnel between the two institutions,” he added.

China, the European Union, India, Korea, Russia, Japan and the United States are jointly funding the construction of the US$30 billion International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) nuclear fusion demonstration facility in France that will start producing 500 megawatts of power by the late 2020s.

In September 2016, Australia became the first non-member state to enter a formal collaborative agreement with ITER.


Source: Australian National University.
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