DOE-FES will provide fiscal year 2020 funds for business awards to assist applicants seeking access to the world class expertise and capabilities available across the U.S. DOE complex. This is one component of the Innovation Network for Fusion Energy (INFUSE), a DOE initiative to provide the fusion industrial community with access to the technical and financial support necessary to move new or advanced fusion technologies toward realization with the assistance of the national laboratories. The objective of INFUSE is to accelerate basic research to develop cost-effective, innovative fusion energy technologies in the private sector.

The FES program mission is to expand the fundamental understanding of matter at very high temperatures and densities and to build the scientific foundation needed to develop a fusion energy source. This is accomplished by studying plasma and its interactions with its surroundings across wide ranges of temperature and density, developing advanced diagnostics to make detailed measurements of its properties and dynamics, and creating theoretical and computational models to resolve essential physics principles.

FES partnership awards are not financial awards made directly to applicants. Awards provide funding to a laboratory within the DOE complex in order to help eligible private-sector companies overcome critical scientific and technological challenges in the pursuit of fusion energy. In majority of cases, DOE anticipates making single year awards with a value of between $50k – $250k and a duration of 12 months. However, DOE will entertain requests of up to $500k in total value and/or duration of 24 months for work deemed to be of critical value by the company. In all cases, a 20 percent cost share is required, calculated based on the full project cost (where the full project cost is defined as the sum of the government share and the partnership award recipient share).  A single institution may submit up to five RFA’s across any of the topics identified below. They may fall under one topical area or be spread across several.

DOE-FES will accept basic research applications focused on innovation that support production and utilization of fusion energy (e.g., for generation of electricity, supply of process heat, etc.) in the following general topic areas:

  • Enabling technologies including new and improved magnets
  • Materials science including engineered materials, testing, and qualification
  • Plasma diagnostic development
  • Modeling and simulation, high-performance computing, codes, and methods
  • Magnetic fusion experimental capabilities

It is now mandatory that prospective applicants contact the INFUSE office, or known contacts at DOE laboratories, to establish feasibility and identify a laboratory PI prior to submitting an application.  This can be very helpful in formulation of an acceptable application.

Note that applications applicable to isotope production or fission energy will not be considered for award unless there is a clear indication that the focus of the underlying technology supports nuclear fusion energy.  The INFUSE process interface between the private sector and government appears below and can be viewed in hi-resolution at https://infuse.ornl.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Flowchart.jpg