Nov. 26, 2010
NewsScientific News

European Spallation Source (ESS) Project

Germany Announced Large Financial Contribution

  • Photo credit: ESS ABPhoto credit: ESS AB

The announcement was made by the federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF). The contribution by the federal German government will mean an injection of € 15 mio into the ESS project, currently underway in Lund in southern Sweden. This will be supplemented by a further € 6 mio from individual laboratories within and associated to the German Helmholtz Association. This € 21 mio funding will support the ESS Pre-Construction Phase and Design Update. The ESS project planning is being led by the Swedish public company ESS AB, but involves a large number of scientists and institutes from all over Europe and the world. The current Pre-Construction Phase contains within it the Design Update, the Preparation to Build program, and the work to deliver all licences and permits to operate, as well as acting as the Swedish secretariat coordinating activities with the 15 other national Partner countries. All of the current 16 ESS partner countries contribute to the ESS Pre-Construction Phase and Design update, mainly through in-kind contributions. The host country Sweden is contributing with € 30 mio to this phase of the project.

The German bid has been coordinated by the Forschungszentrum Jülich near Aachen and includes the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht für Material- und Küstenforschung. Associated Laboratories include the Forschungs-Neutronenquelle Heinz Maier-Leibnitz in Munich (FRM II), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. ESS already has fruitful agreements with the big European free-electron laser project XFEL being built on the DESY site in Hamburg.
The Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest research organisation, and includes 16 research centres.

The Forschungszentrum Jülich carries multidisciplinary research within health, energy, environment and ICT. The Forschungszentrum Jülich is the home institution of Prof Peter Grünberg, who received the 2007 Nobel prize in physics for the discovery of giant magnetoresistance, which paved the way for the breakthrough in producing gigabyte hard disks, and which was understood using neutron and synchrotron radiation techniques such as will be available on the Lund site.

The European Spallation Source (ESS) will be a multi-disciplinary research laboratory based on the world's most powerful neutron source. ESS can be likened to a large microscope, where neutrons are used instead of light to study materials - ranging from polymers and pharmaceuticals to membranes and molecules - to gain knowledge about their structure and function. ESS will be up to 100 times better than existing facilities, opening up new possibilities for researchers in for example health, environment, climate, energy, transport sciences and cultural heritage.

ESS is an intergovernmental project resembling CERN in Geneva, and it will be built in Lund in southern Scandinavia. At least sixteen European countries will take part in the construction, financing and operation of the ESS. Sweden and Denmark will co-host the ESS and cover 50 percent of the 1,4 B€ investment costs and 20 percent of the operating costs together with the Nordic and Baltic states.

The European Spallation Source ESS AB is a public limited company, today owned by the Swedish State. ESS AB is planning the future international ESS organisation. Building is expected to start around 2013, the first neutrons to be produced in 2019 and the facility to be fully operational around 2025.

ESS will support a user community of 5000 researchers and will have great strategic importance for the development of the European Research Area. Near by there will be complementary laboratories, such as the synchrotron MAX IV in Lund and XFEL and PETRAIII in Hamburg.


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