New UK partnership seeks to accelerate fusion energy research

The collaboration will apply the latest computing systems, supercomputing and data science expertise to fast-track the development of efficient fusion energy

Big Zero Report 2022

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) have joined forces to accelerate research into fusion energy using advanced computing technologies.

The partnership will see the launch of a Centre of Excellence in Extreme Scale Computing in Fusion, located at STFC’s Hartree Centre at its Daresbury Laboratory in the North West of England.

The Centre is home to some of the most advanced computing, data and AI technologies in the UK.

Fusion energy is seen as crucial towards low carbon energy supply, however, technical challenges still need to be overcome, including producing and managing the ‘plasma’ – the ultra-hot gas where the fusion process happens – as well as challenges in materials and engineering design.

The collaboration will apply the latest computing systems, supercomputing and data science expertise at STFC to address some of the challenges, such as understanding and modelling plasma and producing the innovation required to develop the so called ‘Digital Twins’ of future fusion power plants.

These models, running on supercomputers, are a key element for helping scientists and engineers to develop viable reactor technologies “in-silico” (in the virtual world), rather than via expansive, real world prototyping.

Alison Kennedy, Director at STFC’s Hartree Centre said: “This new centre will allow fusion specialists to work shoulder to shoulder with our own scientists and engineers to co-design tools and methods for accelerating the UK fusion programme. Our relationship will further enhance our current collaborations with ATOS, Nvidia, IBM and other vendors.

“We are as excited as UKAEA about the UK Government’s prioritisation of fusion energy in their Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. Our own roadmap is strongly aligned with this document and we believe strongly that Hartree Centre has unique, world-class expertise that will be essential for the timely delivery of commercial fusion energy.”

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast