Neuron Dones: Industrial research in critical technologies to advance on the path to fusion

Fusion energy has been one of humanity’s greatest scientific challenges since the 1950s. It is a safe, sustainable and massive source of energy, based on an inexhaustible fuel and distributed throughout the planet, which could complete the energy mix in the second half of this century. This objective will materialize in the future European demonstrator power plant, DEMO (DEMOnstration power plant).

This plant will confirm the technological and economic feasibility of fusion energy, with continuous operation and injection of energy into the power grid. To do so, DEMO needs to draw on all the know-how acquired in ITER and the Fusion Program, but it also needs the most critical materials of its internal structure to be tested.

  • Full project title: Industrial research in critical technologies for the operation and maintenance of large scientific facilities applied to IFMIF-DONES to advance on the road to fusion.
  • Project file code: MIG-20221067
  • Project funding agencies: Ministry of Science and Innovation, CDTI Innovation, Next Generation Program of the European Union, and Recovery, Transformation, and Resilience Plan.


Project subsidized by CDTI – Centro de Desarrollo Tecnológico y la Innovación – through the call of the ‘Misiones CDTI’ Program of the year 2022 and by the European Union – NextGenerationEU – Recovery, transformation and resilience mechanism

Energy Research
Robotic, AI
Spot, Evergine
NEURON DONES proposes innovative solutions focused on 4 fundamental aspects for the industrialization of the scientific infrastructure that responds to this need: sustainability, security, intelligent management of the operation and optimization of the data flow.

The Challenge

Within the Fusion Program, IFMIF-DONES is the Large Science Infrastructure (GIC) that most resembles a fusion power plant, because it is a facility that could be useful for many years without a replacement as a reference facility. This is a great challenge and also an opportunity. IFMIF-DONES had to start developing technologies to support the operation of the plant, which means going beyond the design of the infrastructure itself as an experiment.

In addition, IFMIF-DONES faced the challenge of migrating to a higher level of industrialization. But the migration from an experimental, state-of-the-art system composed of prototypes and requiring continuous upgrades and improvements to an industrialized and stable system is a challenge that has not yet been addressed.



The following lines have been investigated to cover the 4 critical aspects for industrialization.
In terms of sustainability: intelligent management of the electrical system, integration of the H2 vector, renewables and novel storage systems, self-consumption with renewables, lithium purification, recycling of Ytrium getters and their post-processing and recycling.
In terms of security: redundant physical monitoring of safety-critical elements and comprehensive cybersecurity with rapid implementation, high capacity and reduced cost.
For intelligent operation management: advanced artificial intelligence for correlation and anomaly analysis, immersive robotic teleoperation, configuration control (BIM) and thermographic surveillance by robot, intelligent visualization and analysis assistant, quantum computing applied to AI for GICs.
Finally, for data flow optimization: deterministic and high-precision time synchronization, distributed and synchronized digitization of plant signals, digitization and control of radio frequency signals.


The development of the models and validation experiments associated with these lines of research will have a significant impact on the future of IFMIF-DONES and, in general, on that of the Fusion Program. This new approach opens the door for the Spanish industry to start preparing for an industrial fusion energy market, which due to its characteristics and the type of technologies it requires, cannot be approached without new developments such as those proposed here.

All these lines of research have a very large potential growth in the coming years, since the formulas used to achieve factors such as sustainability, safety, intelligent operation or new volumes and requirements for data flows, will not be able to be covered with the methodologies and technologies currently applied in the industry. NEURON DONES proposes the embryo of research programs that could place the Spanish Industry at the forefront of Fusion energy industrialization and in a very competitive position for this growing market.