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Department of Energy announces $28.5 million for LaserNetUS

03 Aug 2023

LaserNetUS is North America's high intensity laser research network – for scientists from U.S. and abroad.

This week, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science announced $28.5 million in new funding for LaserNetUS to advance discovery science and inertial fusion energy.

The LaserNetUS facilities are located at universities and national laboratories distributed geographically throughout the U.S. and Canada. The network currently has more than 1200 members.

“LaserNetUS has been extremely successful in providing opportunities and capabilities that were largely unavailable to the broad community prior to the formation of this network,” said Jean Paul Allain, Associate Director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences (FES). “In this new phase, the network will play an important role in advancing inertial fusion energy in addition to discovery plasma science.”

Projects funded under this announcement will explore astrophysics and planetary science, laser-produced plasmas, laser Wakefield acceleration, EUV lithography, cancer radiotherapy with laser-driven radiation, radiography and tomography, materials science, and inertial confinement fusion.

LaserNetUS was established by the FES program in response to a recommendation from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, “Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers: Reaching for the Brightest Light.”

The projects were selected by competitive peer review under the DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement for LaserNetUS for Discovery Science and Inertial Fusion Energy. They are scheduled to last up to three years, with total funding of $28.5 million: $11.4 million in FY23 and $17.1 million in outyear funding – contingent on congressional appropriations.

DoE pledges $450M for solar power in Puerto Rico

The DOE has also announced up to $453.5 million [investment] from the Puerto Rico Energy Resilience Fund (PR-ERF), which is aimed at increasing residential rooftop solar PV and battery storage installations across the region, “with a focus to reach and support Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable residents.”

This round of funding is intended provide consumer protection and education initiatives to support residents’ long-term use of solar systems as well as a Solar Ambassador Prize for community groups to help the DOE identify and connect with eligible households – “helping achieve Puerto Rico and President Biden’s goal of lowering energy costs with a resilient grid powered by 100% renewable energy,” as the DOE statement said.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm commented, “A future powered by renewables will offer the residents of Puerto Rico more energy security and more reliability—all while leaving households with cheaper bills. DOE is using every tool at our disposal to expand access to clean energy, especially for the communities most at risk, giving families the peace of mind knowing that their communities are resilient in the face of the climate crisis.”

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