The Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) program has two goals: (1) expand the understanding of matter at very high temperatures and densities, and (2) build the knowledge needed to develop a fusion energy source. Providing energy from fusion is one of the 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century and FES is the largest federal government supporter of research that is addressing the remaining obstacles to overcoming this challenge.

Plasmas are very hot gases, so hot that electrons have been freed from atomic nuclei, forming a collection of ions and electrons that can be controlled by electric and magnetic fields. The known universe consists of over 99% plasma, which form stars such as the sun. Scientist study plasmas in space, like star explosions, to better understand plasma physics. Scientist also study plasmas that occur on Earth, like lightning. There are also plasmas that are manufactured and are seen everywhere, like light bulbs and a store’s neon sign. There are plasmas that have practical applications, such as advanced medical and sanitation procedures. However, there are challenges in creating and sustaining plasmas on Earth.  

The sun produces light and energy that everyone can see and feel. It does this by a process called fusion. Fusion occurs in a plasma where two nuclei are combined to form a new atom. This occurs many times in the sun generating an enormous amount of energy. Scientist now want to recreate the process here on Earth and collect the energy to make electricity. The promise and potential benefits to humankind from this carbon-free energy source are enormous. Achieving this goal would have far-reaching and significant effects on human civilization and its impact on the planet. 

Together with its partner science agencies, FES supports a devoted workforce that has made impressive progress since the first fusion experiments over sixty years ago. Progress is made each day by scientists and engineers at DOE national laboratories, universities, and in private industry. With public financial support for this fundamental research, fusion scientists are undertaking fundamental tests of fusion energy’s viability using some of the most ambitious energy projects, the most powerful supercomputers, and the fastest networks in the world today.

Learn more about the Fusion Energy Sciences Program here.

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In May 2018, the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego began an 11-month engineering upgrade to enable a new generation of experiments.
Video courtesy of the Department of Energy

FES Program Announcements

Department of Energy to Provide $9 Million for Research on High Energy Density Plasmas
Funding will support the exploration of the behavior of matter at extreme conditions.
Department of Energy Announces $8 Million for Plasma Science Research
Research Will Be Led by DOE National Laboratories
Department of Energy Announces $4.2 Million for Fusion Research on International Facilities
DOE will provide $4.2 million to support research by U.S. scientists at two major fusion energy facilities located in Germany and Japan.
Department of Energy Announces $5 Million for Lower-Cost Fusion Concepts
Projects Focus on Both Major Forms of Fusion Energy
Department of Energy Announces $18 Million to Support High-Intensity Laser Facilities
DOE gives $18 million to fund operations and user support at 10 high-intensity laser facilities at national labs and universities in the U.S. & Canada
U.S. Department of Energy Announces $17 Million for Research at Princeton Laboratory Fusion Facility
The initiative will support experiments, data analysis, and computer modeling and simulation of plasma behavior.
Department of Energy Announces $29 Million in Fusion Energy Technology Development
Funding for 14 projects as part of the Galvanizing Advances in Market-aligned fusion for an Overabundance of Watts program.
Department of Energy to Provide $21 Million for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Research on Fusion Energy
Today, DOE announced a plan to provide up to $21 million to support research in artificial intelligence and machine learning for fusion energy.
Department of Energy Announces $13.3 Million for Plasma Research
Research to Expand Understanding of the Fourth State of Matter

FES Science Highlights

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FES Program News

 

Contact Information

Fusion Energy Sciences
U.S. Department of Energy
SC-24/Germantown Building
1000 Independence Avenue., SW
Washington, DC 20585
P: (301) 903 - 4941
F: (301) 903 - 8584
E: Email Us