Munich/Fort Collins, August 07, 2023 – Under an emerging partnership between Colorado State University (CSU) and Marvel Fusion, Fort Collins is poised to become home to one of the most powerful laser facilities in the world and an international epicenter for research into laser fusion energy and high energy density physics. The $150 million venture creates a public-private partnership to support construction of a next-generation, high-power laser and fusion research facility on the CSU Foothills Campus.
Marvel Fusion is a private company working to commercialize fusion energy through its laser technology. When completed, this state-of-the-art facility will serve as a platform to advance the company’s fusion approach. Developing laser fusion and its potential as a new source of power is critical because of its ability to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of how energy is supplied globally.
“This public-private partnership sets the global standard for laser-based fusion research, propelling the development of a safe, clean, and reliable energy source. It is an incredible step forward for Marvel Fusion and a testament to our success and vision,” says Moritz von der Linden, CEO of Marvel Fusion. “Working with the world-class team at CSU over the past two years has been invaluably productive. We are immensely grateful for the trust and support of CSU, the State of Colorado, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s ongoing support through the LaserNetUS program.”
Targeted for completion in 2026, the project would feature at least three laser systems, each with a multi-petawatt peak power and an ultra-fast repetition rate of ten flashes per second. Such a combination of lasers will make the facility unique in the world, and it would be designed to accommodate expansion and additional lasers in the future.
“CSU is at the cutting edge of laser research, and this new partnership will cement the university as an international leader in an area of laser science that has the potential to deliver profound benefits to our planet for generations,” CSU President Amy Parsons says. “The project also would drive meaningful, long-term economic and reputational benefits to Fort Collins and the state.”
CSU is a member of LaserNetUS, a program funded by the DOE’s Office of Fusion Energy Sciences. LaserNetUS works to ensure North America has a strong network of capable laser research facilities and provides access for research groups including U.S. National Laboratories, universities, and private industry. The DOE recently announced $12.5M in additional funding to CSU for laser upgrade prototyping and increased LaserNetUS support, helping create and maintain the caliber of equipment and expertise to make projects like the new facility possible.
CSU’s capacity to conduct high-power laser research and its applications would be vastly expanded under the partnership, including opportunities in clean fusion energy, semi-conductor chipmaking, materials science, high energy density science and high-energy physics. This unique facility would motivate and enable further collaboration with industry, other universities, and U.S. National Laboratories.
“This is an exciting opportunity for laser-based science, a dream facility for discovery and advanced technology development with great potential for societal impact” says Jorge Rocca, Director of CSU’s Laboratory for Advanced Lasers and Extreme Photonics and a University Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering and of Physics at CSU.
In parallel to the Colorado partnership program, Marvel Fusion is planning the construction of a prototype as the next step toward a commercial fusion power plant. The prototype will house hundreds of laser systems capable of achieving fusion ignition and proving the technology at scale.
While Marvel Fusion has established a subsidiary in Colorado to support this collaboration, the company’s headquarter remains in Munich, Germany. Ongoing scientific and technological initiatives in Europe, including experiments at Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich’s CALA laser and the ELI-NP laser in Romania, will continue to play a vital role in Marvel Fusion’s research and development endeavors.
Marvel Fusion, founded in Munich in 2019, pursues a new and fast-track route to commercialize fusion energy. Its unique technology concept is based on highly intense short-pulsed lasers and proprietary nano-structured fuel targets. The company has validated fundamental physics factors of the theoretical model in continuous experiments over four years and demonstrated significant fusion reactions using ultrashort pulse high-intensity lasers and nanostructured fuel targets. Under the scientific leadership of Georg Korn and Hartmut Ruhl, Marvel Fusion is scientifically supported by renowned scientists in the field of fusion research, including Gérard Mourou, Nobel laureate in physics, Siegfried Glenzer from Stanford, and Florian Metzler from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). The company currently has €105 million in private funding and public cooperation projects and a team of 70 employees.
Colorado State University is one of the nation’s top public Tier 1 Research universities, with more than $450 million in research expenditures annually. Among other recognition for research and creative scholarship, CSU was recognized in 2022 as one of 10 top research institutions in the world contributing to solving the COVID epidemic. CSU is home to more than 33,000 students, and offers 150 programs of study across eight colleges and more than 50 departments. Learn more about CSU at https://www.colostate.edu/
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