DOE to provide $4.6 million in public-private fusion R&D awards

July 28, 2023, 7:02AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy is providing $4.6 million in funding for 18 projects at national laboratories and U.S. universities to help address critical scientific and technological challenges in pursuing fusion energy systems.

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 Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) program office within DOE’s Office of Science and is focused on accelerating fusion energy development through public-private research partnerships.

The full list of planned awards can be found under “Latest Topical Funding Opportunity Awards” on the FES website. Full abstracts for each project are available on the INFUSE website.

The scope: Projects include enabling technologies, materials science, modeling and simulation, and plasma diagnostics. The funded projects will provide companies with access to the leading expertise and capabilities available at universities and national labs to conduct research and development of fusion systems.

The program solicited proposals from the fusion industry and selected projects for one- or two-year awards between $100,000 and $750,000 each, with a 20 percent (or greater) cost share from industry partners.

According to the DOE, the 18 projects for the 2023 INFUSE request for applications were selected via a competitive peer review process managed by the INFUSE leadership team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

They said it: “The latest round of INFUSE selections demonstrates the growing interest from private industry in partnering with national laboratories and U.S. universities,” said Jean Paul Allain, DOE associate director of science for FES. “INFUSE is attracting interest from both fusion developers and from companies seeking to serve as their suppliers or partners. We are seeing this program evolve and continue to encourage contributions to a vibrant fusion ecosystem in the U.S.”

Allain continued, “Six of these awards are to companies in the rising ‘fusion-adjacent industry.’ These companies won’t design fusion power plants on their own, but they will serve as domestic suppliers. By partnering with companies like those in the Milestone-Based Fusion Development Program, these suppliers enable technologies that advance fusion in the U.S.,” he said.

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