Australian researchers receive Deakin Uni. Grant to develop advanced fuels for generating clean, safe, fusion energy

  • The world’s first research project on advanced fuel development for hydrogen-boron fusion will be launched between HB11 Energy and Deakin University at the Institute for Frontier Materials in Geelong
  • Former CEO of ANSTO, Dr. Adi Paterson, joins the HB11 Scientific Advisory Board
  • The project will support a growing international consortium of researchers in developing laser hydrogen-boron fusion energy, one of the few means of producing clean energy at large scale
  • This project has the potential to re-establish Australia as a leader in fusion energy research and clean energy technology

ARC Linkage Grant awarded to HB11 Energy

Researchers at Deakin University and HB11 Energy Holdings have secured an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant to support a $2M project to develop new fuels for hydrogen-boron fusion.

The research team will be led by internationally renowned nanomaterials expert, Professor Ying (Ian) Chen and include chief investigators Dr. Srikanth MatetiDr Qiran Cai (Institute for Frontier Materials, Deakin University) and Dr Warren McKenzie (HB11 Energy Holdings Pty Ltd).

“Deakin’s Nanotechnology team is pleased to receive this ARC Linkage grant, which allows us to develop new hydrogen storage materials and technology required for clean fusion energy generation,” said Prof Chen. “The team has over 20 years’ research experience in nanomaterial discoveries, including those relating to hydrides with the highest hydrogen storage. 

“We have also produced different boron nitride nanomaterials for several decades.  This combined expertise gives us an advantage in the development of new fuel materials for hydrogen-boron fusion reactions.  We thank Dr Warren McKenzie and HB11 Energy Holding for the opportunity to collaborate in this very exciting new field.” 

Dr Warren McKenzie said, “It is a key project in HB11 Energy’s scientific roadmap towards unlimited and safe nuclear energy, using boron as a fuel. The fuels we develop will be tested on various petawatt laser facilities around the world, as there are no such facilities in Australia. Other collaborators come from the University of Rochester, University of Bordeaux, Queens University Belfast, University of Texas, UNSW and Macquarie University.”

Deakin University Research News – 30 July 2021

Deakin University team – From left to right: Prof Ian Chen, Dr. Srikanth Mateti, Dr. Qiran Cai
Dr. Adi Paterson appointed to Scientific Advisory Board

Dr McKenzie also announced the other important news, that former CEO of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organsation (ANSTO), Dr Adrian (Adi) Paterson, has joined HB11 Energy’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Speaking of his appointment, Dr Paterson said: “This project opens a new chapter in fusion energy research as we aim to realise the promise of fusion as a large-scale source of clean energy for the next generation.

“The distinctive hydrogen-boron fusion reaction is aneutronic, promising a safe and sustainable reaction with no intractable long-term waste.

“It was Australian Sir Mark Oliphant who first discovered nuclear fusion and dreamed of the peaceful use of this energy source for the whole world. The research and development surrounding this program has been championed by an Australian – HB11 Energy founder Prof Heinrich Hora – and the technology has the potential to re-establish Australia as a leader in clean energy technology.

“In this context, the ARC Linkage Grant announced this week has special resonance and importance for this globally important Australian project. I’m very happy to be involved in a project that aims to make major developments in next-generation laser technology to optimise the specialised fuels that are being developed.”

DETAILS OF THE GRANT: Novel Fuel Materials for Radiation-Free Proton-Boron Fusion Power Source

Laser proton-boron fusion reactions are a radiation-free nuclear energy source, but have been limited by a low reaction rate due to a lack of efficient fuel materials. This project aims to develop new fuel materials by synthesising isotope boron 11 enriched hydrogen borides and hydrogen adsorbed boron nitride nanosheets using our research experience in hydrogen storage and nanomateials synthesis. The expected outcomes include two new hydrogen storage nanomaterials, the associated new synthesis technologies and a clean and safe nuclear power source, which helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.


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