Dept. of Energy Launches Fusion Energy Strategy 2024

June 6, 2024: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today marked the two-year anniversary of the Biden-Harris Administration’s launch of the U.S. Bold Decadal Vision for Commercial Fusion Energy with the release of the DOE Fusion Energy Strategy 2024 and an event at the White House co-hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

At the inaugural event where the Bold Decadal Vision was unveiled, DOE launched a Department-wide initiative to develop a strategy for accelerating the viability of commercial fusion energy in partnership with the private sector. The newly released DOE Fusion Energy Strategy 2024 is organized around three pillars: closing the science and technology (S&T) gaps to a commercially relevant fusion pilot plant; preparing the path to sustainable, equitable commercial fusion deployment; and building and leveraging external partnerships.

Today’s White House event aimed to further build awareness and support for fusion energy development by recognizing the tangible progress that the Biden-Harris Administration has driven to help realize the ambitious goals of the U.S. Bold Decadal Vision, as well as the significant challenges and opportunities that remain for fusion commercialization.

“With today’s announcements, DOE has shown once again that we are ambitiously implementing our U.S. Bold Decadal Vision for Commercial Fusion Energy,” said DOE Deputy Secretary David Turk. “We will leverage the opportunities enabled by our world-leading public and private fusion leadership, including humanity’s first-ever demonstration of fusion ignition at our National Ignition Facility as well as major new advances in technologies such as high-temperature superconductors, advanced materials, and artificial intelligence to accelerate fusion energy. The development of fusion energy as a clean, safe, abundant energy source has become a global race, and the U.S. will stay in the lead.”

In support of DOE’s fusion energy strategy, DOE also announced a $180 million funding opportunity for Fusion Innovative Research Engine (FIRE) Collaboratives. The FIRE Collaboratives are aimed at supporting the further creation of a fusion innovation ecosystem by forming teams that will have a collective goal of bridging the Department’s Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) program’s foundational and enabling science research with the needs of the growing fusion industry, including the technology roadmaps of the awardees of the Milestone-Based Fusion Development Program. These Collaboratives are envisioned as dynamic hubs of innovation to help bolster US-based manufacturing and supply chains, driving advancements in fusion energy research in collaboration with both public and private entities.

The FIRE Collaboratives Funding Opportunity Announcement, sponsored by the FES program within the Department’s Office of Science, can be found on the Funding Opportunities webpage and is open to accredited U.S. colleges and universities, national laboratories, nonprofits, and private companies. Outyear funding for the FIRE Collaboratives is subject to congressional appropriations. FES will host a webinar on the FIRE FOA on June 7, 2024 at 12pm ET, registration is listed here. Pre-applications are due on July 9, 2024 at 5:00 PM ET.

n addition, DOE made a number of other announcements in moving toward implementation in support of the U.S. Bold Decadal Vision:

  • The Department released the agency-wide DOE Fusion Energy Strategy 2024 and a new FES vision entitled Building Bridges. These documents are closely coordinated and will guide future DOE investments in fusion energy research, development, and demonstration. As part of the Building Bridges vision, FES will develop a national fusion S&T roadmap to address the “how” and “when” of closing critical S&T gaps to commercially relevant fusion pilot plants. Find both the Strategy and the Vision at Energy.gov/fusion 
  • The Department announced that all eight selectees signed agreements to be participants in the Milestone-Based Fusion Development Program, which is designed to catalyze further private investments into fusion commercialization and helps companies resolve critical-path scientific, technological, and commercialization challenges on the path toward a pilot-scale demonstration of fusion energy.
  • DOE released a Request for Information (RFI) on a proposed Fusion Energy Public-Private Consortium Framework (PPCF). The PPCF aims to complement the Milestone Program and FIRE Collaboratives by catalyzing and bringing together state/local government, private, philanthropic funding, as well as new partnerships, to accelerate fusion commercialization. For example, a PPCF could potentially deliver and operate small-to-medium scale R&D test stands with the pace and required funding to meet the timelines of the Bold Decadal Vision. A webinar will be held July 11th at 3 pm ET. Register here.

 

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