Tom Keighley

Member Article

York research facility to fuel fusion energy quest

The University of York will open a £6m plasma research facility, where the ionised gas will be explored for use in technologies.

Plasma is in abundance in the Universe, as stars, solar wind, the Northern Lights, and lightning are in “plasma states.”

The facility is part of the Department of Physics, and represents a capital investment of £3.7m, providing space for research and training in fusion energy; technological and biomedical applications and laser-plasma interaction.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of York, Professor Brian Cantor, said: “Our vision is to establish a world-leading interdisciplinary plasma physics research and training institute. We want to inspire partnerships between industry and universities and encourage start-up companies, maximising the value of the research and its impact on society.”

Plasma is of particular interest in the quest for fusion energy, and if technological and scientific challenges can be overcome, fusion offers the potential for an effectively limitless supply of safe, environmentally friendly energy.

Researchers at the York Plasma Institute will collaborate closely with the national fusion programme at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford, as well as other international fusion laboratories.

Institute Director, Professor Howard Wilson, said: “With the construction of the international fusion facility ITER, the largest international science project on Earth, fusion is entering an exciting new era.

“It takes fusion beyond a scientific study, requiring closer collaboration between scientists, engineers and industry to address the remaining scientific and technological questions and deliver energy to the grid. The philosophy of the York Plasma Institute embraces this collaborative approach: it is a really exciting time for us.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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