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Europe’s largest laser research capability, the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI ERIC), this week declared their commitment to the mission of laser fusion at a dedicated two-day workshop in Prague.

This development came only days ahead of an ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>announcement by the White House concerning an initiative to co-ordinate fusion energy commercialisation internationally. It’s expected this announcement will be a topic of interest at COP28, given the potential benefits for global decarbonisation of energy production.

The European Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI ERIC) is a research infrastructure with the world’s largest and most advanced collection of high-power lasers. The ELI ERIC operates as a single multi-site organisation with complementary facilities in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, each specialised in different fields of research with extreme light.

The inaugural “Laser-Induced Fusion” planning workshop was well attended by members of the private fusion industry from Germany, the USA and Australia, all in pursuit of establishing fusion as an unlimited clean energy source.

The aim of the meeting was to identify common strategies to address the new scientific and technological challenges to advance laser-induced fusion towards the production of clean energy. It also aimed to identify the role that ELI will play in enabling the development of methods and technology relevant to laser-induced fusion.

Over the last two years there has been an explosion of interest in laser-induced fusion since it was established as a most viable approach to fusion energy generation, following the successful ignition of a fusion burn by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the USA.

Many national programs have been announced by governments to catalyse the establishment of this new industry. These include the US IFE S&T Hubs (IFE STAR) and the UK’s fusion energy roadmap, and Germany has published its Memorandum on Inertial Fusion Energy.

There has also been an exponential increase in the establishment of private laser fusion companies.

The initiative is jointly led by the ELI ERIC Director of Science, Andrew Harrison, in close cooperation with the scientific management of the ELI Facilities. The strategy on laser-induced fusion is co-ordinated by ELI ERIC’s Luca Volpe, a long-term collaborator of HB11 Energy.

HB11 Energy Lead Scientist Prof. Dimitri Batani was representing the greater European laser fusion research community at the event, describing a Roadmap for Inertial Fusion Energy


ELI Laser-Induced Fusion Kick-off Meeting attendees, 28 November 2023 – Photo courtesy of ELI ERIC