New innovations have the potential to dramatically change particle accelerators in size, cost, efficiency and environmental impact. Launched in 2021, the EU-funded I.FAST project has the objective of preparing for the next step of particle physics research, improving the sustainability of accelerator-based science and meeting the specific needs of societal applications.
One tool to stimulate the innovation environment has been the I.FAST Internal Innovation Fund (IIF). Aimed at encouraging the project’s beneficiaries to identify innovative solutions with viable industrial or commercial potential, this fast-track, competitive process finances emerging technologies, processes, research, business models and other innovative solutions, at both development and prototype stages. All the projects, belonging to the I.FAST technology areas of interest, need to show a potential impact on environment and sustainability.
In November 2022, the proper appointed committee announced the selection of eight projects. Each one of them will receive a contribution of up to 200 kEUR to provide innovative solutions to improve the sustainability of accelerator technologies. All the presented projects were interesting, and the committee considers that even some of the those that did not reach the final step of selection deserve proper support by the I.FAST community.
All starting in January, the awarded projects range from permanent magnet solenoid to reduce the carbon footprint, to high-temperature superconductors to optimize energy savings. In particular, two projects will explore the use of additive manufacturing for ion sources and for vacuum chambers. These innovations increment the efforts performed by I.FAST in over the last two years in this field which led to the recent print of a full copper radio frequency quadrupole module.
“The selected projects meet many specific criteria of technology readiness, potential applications, environmental impact and of course technical implementation and commercialisation”, says Marcello Losasso (CERN), manager of the IIF. “Over 10 beneficiaries answered this call. We are happy to welcome four new external entities as partner organisations, enlarging the I.FAST collaborative community”.