While the budget planning process in Germany for 2024 is still ongoing (to be finalized in December), Federal Minister Stark-Watzinger (Secretary for Research and Education) announced today in an official press statement the intention to "invest massively and openly in fusion technology". This includes the launch of a new fusion research program (till today fusion was mainly supported through institutional funding streams). She said: "With our new funding program, we want to invest massively in fusion in a technology-neutral way - a total of more than one billion euros over the next five years. And we want to create a fusion ecosystem with industry so that a fusion power plant can become a reality in Germany as soon as possible. The question is no longer whether fusion will come. The question is whether Germany will be part of it. That's my goal."
Background: In fall of 2022, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) convened an International Committee of Fusion Experts, led by Professor Constantin Haefner from Fraunhofer ILT. The committee's primary objective was to assess the potential of Inertial Fusion Energy in Germany and formulate a set of recommendations to propel the field toward an IFE Fusion Power Plant (FPP) realization (Inertial Fusion Memo, English language). This memorandum was officially presented to the sponsoring entity in May. Subsequently, in response to the memorandum, the BMBF crafted its position paper on fusion research in June including both, IFE and MFE. It serves as the foundation for the forthcoming funding program in this domain.
In her statement, she alludes to the memorandum issued by the Fusion Expert Commission, emphasizing Germany's potential as a key industrial and research hub for laser fusion. The memorandum clearly articulates the imperative of continued research efforts in the journey towards establishing the first fusion power plant. Factoring in the current funding allocation for fusion in Germany (all magnetic), this entails an additional investment of approximately $400 million earmarked for the period spanning 2024 to 2028 and supporting Laser Inertial Fusion Energy and Magnetic Fusion Energy. Hence for the first time, there will now be an integrated program that supports both IFE and MFE.
While the actual allocation of funds is still being planned, this announcement represents a major step towards positioning Germany as a capable partner on the path towards a fusion power plant (FPP).
Video of the press conference:
Constantin Haefner can be contacted at