Companies aim to resolve ‘scientific and technological challenges’
The US Department of Energy has announced that eight private companies will receive a share of $46m (€42m) in funding as part of the Biden administration’s commitment to achieving a pilot-scale demonstration of fusion energy within the next 10 years.
The DOE said the companies were selected on the basis of their existing research and ability to contribute to the effort to commercialise the fusion process and create a “safe, abundant alternative to carbon-emitting power generation”.
The recipients of the funding are Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Focused Energy, Princeton Stellarators, Realta Fusion, Tokamak Energy, Type One Energy Group, Xcimer Energy and Zap Energy.
Under the terms of the funding agreement, these companies will aim to resolve scientific and technological challenges surrounding commercialised fusion and making a fusion pilot plant technically possible and commercially viable.
The funding, provided through the DOE’s fusion development programme, is expected to establish the US as a leader in fusion commercialisation and support the drive to achieve president Biden’s ambitious goal of attaining a net-zero economy by 2050.
US senator Joe Manchin, chairman of the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, highlighted the massive potential of fusion energy to ensure the country’s energy needs are met and enhance its national security.
“Today marks a pivotal point for advancing US commercial fusion technology,” he said. The funding will help “develop fusion technologies to become commercially deployable in the next 10 years.
“I am genuinely excited by the potential of fusion energy and technology to transform our future and contribute to our energy and national security.”
The DOE’s fusion development programme is modeled on a similar initiative created by Nasa for the development of commercial space launches.
The DOE said it is hoped that public funding of private organisations can help to solve scientific and technological challenges associated with fusion energy in much the same way that space exploration benefited from early contributions from for-profit firms.
Applications for the funding were subject to competitive peer review and were examined based on their scientific and technical merit and their potential for commercialisation and economic value.