Department of Energy

Department of Energy to Provide $50 Million for Fusion Energy and Plasma Science Research

August 28, 2019

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Funding Will Go to Universities and National Laboratories

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced it will provide $50 million to U.S. universities, private industry and national laboratories for a range of research projects in fusion energy and plasma science.

“Research in the important fields of fusion energy and plasma science promises both short-term and long-term benefits to industry and society at large,” said Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar. “These initiatives ensure that America continues to lead in these critical fields.”

A total of $30 million will go to 10 U.S. multi-institutional research teams to support fusion energy research at international facilities.

The main focus of the fusion energy research is sustaining high-temperature plasmas for long durations within superconducting tokamak facilities—donut-shaped devices that confine the plasma by means of powerful magnetic fields. The long-term goal is to help lay the foundation for fusion as a clean, abundant energy source for the world. 

A total of $20.2 million will fund the creation of new centers and facilities supporting research on low-temperature plasmas.

Low-temperature plasmas have multiple applications in areas ranging from the manufacture of microelectronics, to the synthesis of novel industrial materials, to medicine, where they are used to sterilize, perform surgery, and even treat cancer.  The funding will establish two new multi-institutional plasma science research centers and two new collaborative facilities, which will provide access to specialized diagnostic tools, instruments and equipment for the nation’s plasma research community.

Awards were selected based on competitive peer review under two separate DOE Funding Opportunity Announcements (and companion announcements for DOE laboratories) titled “Collaborative Research in Magnetic Fusion Energy Sciences on International Tokamaks,” and “Low Temperature Plasma Science Centers and Facilities,” both sponsored by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences within the Department’s Office of Science.

Funding for the fusion energy efforts totals $30 million for projects lasting up to three years in duration, with $12 million in FY 2019 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations. 

Funding for the plasma science projects totals $20.2 million in Fiscal Year 2019 dollars for projects lasting five years in duration. 

Lists of the projects can be found here under the heading, “What’s New.”

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