Science for
future energy

Science for future energy

DIFFER, the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research, works on a future in which clean energy will be available to everybody, anywhere in the world. DIFFER’s mission is to perform leading fundamental research on materials, processes, and systems for a global sustainable energy infrastructure, in close partnership with (inter)national academia and industry. In short, DIFFER performs science for future energy.

DIFFER is a NWO research institute located in Eindhoven. Our research focuses on two themes: Solar Fuels and Fusion Energy. We host user facilities for energy and materials research. The two research departments are backed by Facilities & Instrumentation, and Support Facilities.   

Text continues below organizational chart (July 2023). DIFFER organizational chart

Solar Fuels

Solar Fuels are a way of converting sustainable energy cleanly and efficiently into fuels for storage and transport. An example is the production of green kerosene from carbon dioxide and water. The Solar Fuels department focuses on three main fields: materials science, electrochemistry, and plasma chemistry. The researchers investigate the materials, interfaces and underlying processes through experiments, modelling, and simulations. They cover all length scales: from atomistic up to device level. The department collaborates with research groups around the globe and is involved in national and European programs, agenda-setting, and networks.

Fusion Energy

The Fusion Energy department does research to unlock the enormous potential of hydrogen fusion as a clean, compact and almost inexhaustible energy source. The department develops techniques, control algorithms and numerical tools for nuclear fusion reactors. Besides that, the researchers investigate the complex processes at the edge of fusion plasmas, try to solve the problem of heat and particles that strike the reactor wall, and get to understand the physics of plasma instability and turbulence. Through the EUROfusion consortium, DIFFER researchers have access to and perform experiments on a range of large-scale fusion research. Furthermore, the department collaborates with fusion research facilities worldwide.

Facilities & Instrumentation

The Facilities & Instrumentation department focuses on designing, realizing, operating, and upgrading the research facilities. The group is running Magnum-PSI, the Upgraded Pilot-PSI, the Ion Beam Facility, and future facilities such as the Pulsed Laser Deposition Facility.

Support Facilities

The Support Facilities department aims to ensure a smooth operation of the DIFFER organization so that the scientific groups can focus on their research activities. Support Facilities consists of seven support groups: Facility Management, Finance, Human Resource Management, ICT Services, Management Support, Occupational Health & Safety, and Strategic Support. 

Keep in touch

We would like to keep in touch. The DIFFER newsletter EXPLORE updates you on research, events and other news. We would also like to invite you to our LinkedIn-page. On Twitter, we are @DIFFERenergy. Welcome to our network! Want to know even more? Check our Strategy 2023 – 2028.


In 1959, the FOM Institute for Plasma Physics Rijnhuizen was established. In 2012, the institute expanded into a multidisciplinary national institute for fundamental energy research. The transformation was marked by a new name: DIFFER, the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research. In 2015, DIFFER moved from a castle in Nieuwegein to the campus of the Technical University Eindhoven, to strengthen our relationship with academia and our viability. DIFFER is part of NWO-I, an umbrella organization for nine national research institutes.