The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced awards for eight projects with private industry that will allow for collaboration with DOE national laboratories on overcoming challenges in fusion energy development.

The awards are provided through the Innovation Network for Fusion Energy, or INFUSE, program, which was established in 2019. The program is sponsored by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences within DOE’s Office of Science and is focused on accelerating fusion energy development through public-private research partnerships.

“This series of selections marks the conclusion of the third year of the INFUSE program, which continues to draw in new applicants every call,” said James Van Dam, DOE Associate Director for Fusion Energy Sciences. “Support for INFUSE remains strong in the private fusion sector and we anticipate growing interest as the program continues to evolve moving forward.”

The funded projects will provide companies with access to the leading expertise and facilities of DOE’s national laboratories to assist in addressing critical scientific and technological challenges in pursuing fusion energy systems. The program solicited proposals from the fusion industry and selected projects for one- or two-year awards of between $50,000 and $500,000 each, with a 20% cost share for industry partners. The awards are subject to a successful negotiation of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between the companies and the partnering laboratories.

“Some of these recent awards are focused on technology development, material testing, and machine learning,” said Ahmed Diallo, deputy director of INFUSE and a fusion scientist at DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.  “This focus highlights the industry’s needs to accelerate the development of carbon-free fusion energy on the electricity grid – one of the main of objectives of COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference.”

The eight selected projects include representation from six private companies including new participants, Energy Driven Technology and Silver Fir Software. The projects will take advantage of INFUSE’s areas of focus: enabling fusion technologies; materials; diagnostics; modeling and simulation; and experimental capabilities.

The following list includes the title of each funded project and the awarded company.

  • Commonwealth Fusion Systems: Magnetic Pumps for Molten Salt Fusion Devices
  • Commonwealth Fusion Systems: Neutron Ion Handshake for Fusion Materials
  • Energy Driven Technology LLC: High Heat Flux Exposure of PFC Candidate Fine-Grain Dispersion-Strengthened Tungsten Materials
  • Energy Driven Technology LLC: Mechanical Characterization of PFC Candidate Fine-Grain Dispersion-Strengthened Tungsten Materials
  • General Atomics: In-Field Performance Testing of a Novel HTS CICC for Practical and Cost-Effective Fusion Magnet Systems
  • Magneto-Inertial Fusion Technologies, Inc.: Thermonuclear Fusion Verification of Staged Z-pinch Fusion on a 0.5 MA LTD Pulsed Power Generator
  • Renaissance Americas Inc.: Artificially Intelligent Optimization of Alpha Particle  Transport in Stellarators
  • Silver Fir Software, Inc.: Extension of MCNP® Mesh Based Weight Windows to Support Unstructured Mesh Topologies

Full abstracts for each project are available on the INFUSE website.

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