Energy Department Launches Fusion Energy Hubs

Illustration of using the power of a star as energy.
Illustration of using the power of a star as energy. | Image by STARFIRE/Department of Energy

Scientists across the nation are looking to attempt to harness the power of a star using fusion energy.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced that millions in taxpayer money will soon be spent on fusion energy hubs across the United States. Officials hope to have fusion plants operational within a decade.

Scientists have long been trying to find ways to reliably use fusion reactions as a clean form of energy. U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced last December that the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) had achieved the first net gain from a fusion ignition in history, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Just over a year after this success, the Energy Department announced on December 7 that a total of $42 million of taxpayer money would be used to develop inertial fusion energy (IFE) science and technology hubs. These hubs will be led by scientists from Colorado State University, the University of Rochester, as well as LLNL.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) said he is confident that fusion energy will meet the nation’s energy and climate goals.

“I have no doubt that Colorado State University will play a key role in advancing important fusion energy breakthroughs and help Colorado continue to lead the country in clean energy innovation,” Bennet said a press release.

Each of the hubs will see multiple institutions of higher education working with private industry entities.

“I am thrilled that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) — a cutting-edge nuclear research facility located within my district — was selected to receive $16 million to advance fusion energy technologies,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), per the release. “The Inertial Fusion Energy Science and Technology Accelerated Research (IFE-STAR) program will enhance global energy security while highlighting the scientific advancements already made at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.”

“I’m incredibly grateful to Secretary Granholm and the Department of Energy for recognizing the University of Rochester’s potential in the emerging field of Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE) research,” said Rep. Joe Morelle (D-NY). “For generations, Rochester has been synonymous with innovation, and it has long been my priority in Congress to launch our next chapter of regional growth and prosperity. This federal investment in our community’s scientific excellence will encourage our legendary innovation and unlock the next level of clean, safe, and carbon-free energy for the entire world.”

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