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In order to bring fusion closer to commercial viability, the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $50 million to launch a new milestone-based fusion development programme.
The programme will support for-profit entities to meet major technical and commercialisation milestones toward the successful design of a fusion pilot plant (FPP).
The programme is informed by recent reports from the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; community workshops; and input from private industry.
“Fusion holds the promise of being an on-demand, safe, abundant source of carbon-free primary energy and electricity, with the potential to transform the way we generate and use energy,” said David Turk, DOE deputy secretary, who announced the launch of this programme.
“Today, there is nearly $5 billion of private capital invested into predominantly US-based fusion companies. This administration is eager to partner with these companies and work together to accelerate progress toward a future powered by fusion, offering energy abundance and energy security around the world.”
“Since the White House Fusion Summit in March 2022 and a DOE fusion workshop in June 2022, DOE has worked hard to establish this program, which makes use of DOE’s available contracting mechanisms to allow for milestone-based payments and other flexibilities to invite strong industry participation,” said Geraldine Richmond, DOE under secretary for science and innovation.
Total planned funding is up to $50 million for awardees to deliver FPP pre-conceptual designs and technology roadmaps by 18 months after award.
Funding for meeting subsequent milestones toward full conceptual FPP designs will be contingent upon meeting early milestones and future annual appropriations. Furthermore, project teams are to be led by for-profit entities, who must meet particular milestones before being awarded funds by the Department.