Japanese laser fusion tech to help power South Australia

Rendered image of a nuclear fusion reactor (laser fusion)
Image: Shutterstock

A Japanese laser fusion technology company with plans to produce a revolutionary source of green energy will establish its international presence in South Australia, fuelling the state’s position as a global hydrogen leader.

EX-Fusion is developing cutting-edge laser fusion technology, fusing hydrogen isotopes to produce safe, sustainable, and reliable energy for power generation.

Related article: Japanese firm raises ¥1.8B to advance laser fusion R&D

Laser fusion energy is being touted as a gamechanger to achieving Australia’s target of carbon neutrality by 2050, helping to respond to load fluctuations and meet market demands, while decarbonising existing energy sources.

By commercialising fusion energy and working with industry, EX-Fusion aims to reduce carbon emissions by approximately 14.49 billion tonnes—equivalent to two per cent of the world’s total emissions by 2050.

EX-Fusion, led by Dr Kazuki Matsuo, draws on more than 50 years of research at Osaka University to develop the technology, which is increasingly sought after.

The laser fusion technology made international news late last year, with scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory overcoming a major barrier in nuclear fusion when, for the first time, they were able to produce more energy from a fusion experiment than was put in.

Invest SA has been working closely with EX-Fusion who was attracted to South Australia through its first mover advantage, backed by the state government’s $593 million Hydrogen Jobs Plan along with legislative framework and significant industry development and opportunities in the space.

EX-Fusion will set up a wholly owned subsidiary, expected to be operational in South Australia by the end of the year.

To help prepare for the move, in December 2022 EX-Fusion signed a memorandum of understanding with laser fusion firm HB-11 Energy and the University of Adelaide to assist and expedite laser and photonic research through shared facilities.

Related article: HB11’s research celebrated in global laser fusion journal

EX-Fusion CEO Dr Kazuki Matsuo said, “EX-Fusion has chosen South Australia to head up its operations in Australia for its proximity to innovative high-tech industries, its agile market access capabilities and the ability to work closely with government and research in a dedicated incubator environment.

“We look forward to seeing South Australia grow further as the green energy and space capital of Australia.”

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