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EUROfusion awards eleven Engineering Grants

The EUROfusion Engineering Grants (EEGs) aim to attract top early-career engineering talent to work on key technological challenges and develop skills that are essential to the European fusion programme.

Fusion energy holds the promise of providing safe, sustainable and low-carbon baseload energy that complements other clean energy sources like solar and wind. Realising fusion means solving many science, engineering and technology challenges in a comprehensive research programme.

In Europe, the EUROfusion research consortium takes up the fusion challenge with its strongly goal-oriented Roadmap to Fusion Energy. By involving talented young engineers in its research, EUROfusion accelerates its progress towards the scientific exploitation of ITER and developing the European demonstration fusion power plant DEMO.

EUROfusion’s governing body, the General Assembly, approved eleven EUROfusion Engineering Grants (EEGs) based on the recommendations of the experts in the EEG evaluation panels. EEG recipients will dive into topics such as studies of the plasma and materials in the exhaust region, predicting the behaviour and retention of tritium, and developing control techniques for fusion power plants.

Attracting and developing excellent fusion engineers

As Europe’s fusion research community, EUROfusion is highly committed to developing a workforce capable of solving the physics and engineering challenges towards a fusion power plant. The EUROfusion Engineering Grants support excellent early-career engineers as they hone their skills on key technological questions for the development of fusion energy.

The EEGs are awarded at a post-master and post-doctoral level and cover the salaries of recipients and part of the cost of their research activities and missions for up to three years. Two out of the fourteen (14%) eligible applicants are female, as are two out of the eleven (18%) grantees. Recipients will participate in the Joint Training Programme to develop skills and competences, increase their visibility and build up their fusion networks.

About EUROfusion

The EUROfusion consortium coordinates experts, students and facilities from across Europe to realise fusion energy in accordance with the EUROfusion Roadmap to Fusion Energy. EUROfusion is co-funded via the Euratom Research and Training Programme.

The EUROfusion programme is preparing for experiments at the international ITER project and develops concepts for the European demonstration fusion power plant DEMO. The programme supports fusion education and training, and works with companies to develop the European fusion industry.

EEG recipients awarded to start in 2023

Aline Dressler
Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA), France

Ageing of ITER-grade tungsten divertor components under tokamak plasma loading related to engineering of plasma-facing materials and components manufacturing
The design and manufacturing of the divertor, the most heavily loaded component in the tokamak vessel, is an engineering challenge. The proposal aims at investigating the impact of materials and manufacturing parameters on the ageing response of divertor targets under plasma exposure. It will provide feedback for the ITER divertor series production and the expected ITER divertor lifetime.

Andrea Belpane
Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA), Italy

EU enhancement projects for JT-60SA: Divertor VUV Spectrometer
The project encompasses installing, commissioning and operating the JT-60SA VUV (Vacuum Ultra Violet) spectrometer, designed to monitor the impurity line radiation emitted in the divertor region, where the hot confined plasma interacts with the surrounding structures.

Ciro Alberghi
Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA), Italy

Tritium permeation and retention in DEMO in-Vessel Components
In future fusion machines, tritium behaviour must be correctly predicted both from design and safety point of views. The grant will help to define important tritium parameters of the structural materials, enhancing the reliability of tritium transport calculations.

Daniel Birlan
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

EC System Mechanical Design
The research will be integrated in the DEMO ECH System (Electron Cyclotron Heating) design team to acquire a deep knowledge in the multidisciplinary domains related to the launcher design, develop a global overview of the project and consolidate the links between the Heating and Current Drive DEMO community and the related work packages.

Dinesh Krishnamoorthy
Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER), the Netherlands

Control engineering grant for supporting the implementation of tokamak controllers on multiple devices
Real-time control is crucial for safe and efficient operation of tokamaks. Advanced model-based control systems have several parameters that needs to be tuned for satisfactory performance across various scenarios and machines. This project aims to develop standardized auto-tuning framework for safe and efficient development of control algorithms for fusion reactors.

Francesca Papa
Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA), Italy

Minimisation and Control of tritium in DEMO from Safety Standpoint
Untying the tritium knot. This grant proposes to advance the knowledge in the field of tritium transport with the double goal of making fusion reactors even safer and with a sound fuel cycle design. Cutting-edge experimental facilities and qualified numerical tools are used to achieve this ambitious goal.

Gunnar Schmidtmann
Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), Germany

Qualification of low-pressure plasma spraying for fusion application and design of an in-situ application usable within a fusion-relevant device
Future reactors will use fusion – the energy source of the stars. Reactor walls made of tungsten will contain magnetically confined fusion plasmas. Yet even tungsten can be sputtered or melted. Within the “Plasma‐Spray Project”, tungsten will be sprayed on the reactor walls “daring” their in‐situ repair for instance, using a robotic arm.

Luigi Di Grazia
Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA), Italy

Development of control and simulation tools for the design and optimization of DEMO and DTT scenarios
The activity is aimed at evaluating the capabilities of advanced control techniques designed in collaboration with CREATE to manage actuator redundancy in the presence of operating limits with reference to DEMO and DTT scenarios both for magnetic and kinetic control, exploiting the capabilities of the Flight Simulator developed at IPP for numerical validations.

Nicolò Badodi
Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA), Italy

Breeding Blanket Engineer to aid component experimental testing and qualification
The research will focus its efforts on the experimental testing of key components of future fusion reactors’ (tritium) Breeding Blankets. These activities will be crucial to ensure the safe and efficient operability of such systems, which are responsible for power production and stable fuel supplying.

Simone Noce
Agenzia nazionale per le nuove tecnologie, l’energia e lo sviluppo economico sostenibile (ENEA), Italy

Impact of Activated Corrosion Products on ITER Occupational Radiation Exposure
Activated Corrosion Products (ACP) represent a significant source of radiological hazard in ITER and in future nuclear fusion reactors. This research aims to enhance the reliability of the predictions of ACP contribution to ITER Occupational Radiation Exposure and to develop multi-disciplinary and advanced skills in ACP assessment for fusion applications.

Thierry Kremeyer
Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP), Germany

Integral component design for W (tungsten) divertor in Wendelstein 7-X using novel technologies
In a nuclear fusion reactor, a divertor is the exhaust interface with the plasma. For the stellarator there are no reactor-relevant divertor target geometries. This research has the goal to radically improve particle exhaust and investigate options to decrease divertor prototype cycles and achieving more design iterations by de-coupling problems and reducing complexity.

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