14 Dec National research leaders back fusion energy research and development in Canada
Fusion 2030 aims to make energy of the future a national priority
Ottawa, On. (December 14, 2016) – A national consortium of academic, industry and non-profit organizations has come together to make fusion energy, which holds the promise of being an ideal energy source for the future, a national priority.
Current participants in the field in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec have drafted the report Fusion 2030: Roadmap for Canada, outlining a research program designed to accelerate fusion energy research and development in Canada, and submitted it to the Government of Canada’s consultations on innovation and science.
“Fusion has the potential to be a clean, safe and available on-demand form of energy, and its development will create high tech jobs, boost manufacturing, and contribute to long-term energy sustainability and security for Canada,” said Allan Offenberger, a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and a spokesperson for the group. “The aim of the Fusion 2030 Roadmap is to position Canada to support the development of fusion energy as a commercially viable power source.”
The initiative will provide a starting point for Canada to engage in research and development leading to a commercial fusion power plant, along the way creating jobs ranging from construction to plasma physics. Still in the experimental stage, fusion will fuse atoms of hydrogen to create energy. Fusion is considered to be an ideal energy source: carbon-free, safe and abundant, with one kilogram of fusion fuel producing the same energy as 10 million kilograms of coal.
The promise of fusion has been recognized at the federal level, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau describing it at the GLOBE 2016 Leadership Summit held in Vancouver in March as one of the most exciting technologies he has seen. In November, General Fusion presented the Fusion 2030 proposal in Ottawa during company vice-president Michael Delage’s address to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources.
“Energy demand is expected to double over the next 30 years, and more than 17 per cent of the world’s population still have no access to electricity and the quality of life that it brings,” said Delage. “Generating enough energy to supply this demand while tackling climate change will require sustainable, low-emission sources of electricity that aren’t currently commercially available. We need to invest in R&D.”
A recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme called for a “dramatic” step up in efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and the commercialization of new energy technologies such as fusion will play a crucial role in tackling climate change. Canada is ideally situated to become a world leader in clean energy technology development and had an active fusion research program until the mid-1990s.
Fusion 2030 will foster collaboration among all of Canada’s fusion projects, including research leaders such as the University of Alberta, University of Saskatchewan, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, General Fusion (Burnaby, B.C.), and other private sector companies, academic institutions and government laboratories. The Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan and the Alberta-Canada Fusion Technology Alliance are also active partners in the initiative.
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