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Institute of Energy and Climate Research

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The goal of nuclear fusion research is to exploit the fusion of light atomic nuclei as a new and virtually inexhaustible source of primary energy. Using the raw materials deuterium and lithium, which can be extracted from water and rock almost anywhere, fusion will play a crucial role in replacing oil, gas, and coal in the second half of this century. Fusion power plants will not produce any greenhouse gases. Severe incidents affecting areas other than the immediate vicinity of the power plant cannot occur. Fusion is sustainable and safe – and will thus help to achieve an environmentally friendly energy supply.

Forschungszentrum Jülich’s endeavours to realize fusion power plants – which are embedded in the long-term research strategies of the European Union and the Helmholtz Association – are geared towards making a decisive contribution to the construction and subsequent operation of the ITER international tokamak experiment at Cadarache in the south of France and the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator at Greifswald. In addition, Jülich is already involved in research for the generation of reactors that will succeed ITER – that is to say, for “DEMO”, the first real fusion power plant, which will feed energy into the grid in around 2040.

Jülich enjoys international recognition for its expertise in materials research for the first wall of fusion reactors, in the physics of plasma-wall interaction with respect to developing diagnostic methods for the plasma edge region, in the development of numerical models, and, not least, in the engineering of large-scale fusion experiments. To perform this wide range of tasks, a number of very different experimental facilities are operated at Jülich (such as the linear plasma generator PSI-2, the JUDITH and MARION thermal load experiments, as well as numerous laboratory devices). In addition, Jülich scientists are working at several European and international institutions, most notably at JET, the large-scale European experiment in the United Kingdom.