Drivers for Economical Fusion Technologies Workshop

ARPA-E hosted a workshop entitled “Drivers for Economical Fusion Technologies” on October 29-30, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. The primary objective of the workshop was to identify innovative approaches in high-efficiency, low-cost drivers to enable new approaches in fusion energy. ARPA-E is interested in driver technologies and associated fusion approaches that will significantly reduce the “cost of entry” into fusion R&D and offer a path to economical fusion power. The outcomes from this workshop will help ARPA-E assess the opportunities for a potential program in this area. 

Targeted outcomes include:

  • Identify and explore promising approaches/opportunities for fusion energy, understand their driver requirements (pressure, energy, flux, limitations on pulse width, etc.) and the associated challenges; 
  • Identify and explore promising approaches to low cost drivers (e.g., ion or macron accelerators, plasma guns, masers/lasers, pulse power, table-top/MEMS accelerators, or others) and assess applicability of new driver technologies to various regions of fusion parameter space;
  • Assess current state of understanding for proposed fusion approaches across the range of fusion parameter space, and the needs for modeling or experimental validation to address key challenges;
  • Understand challenges in development and demonstration of driver technologies for the requirements of fusion power; and
  • Propose appropriate performance metrics to govern a potential Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in this area. 

View the full agenda (pdf). 

Proceedings from the meeting are summarized below:

Day 1 - Tuesday, October 29


Welcome and Introduction to ARPA-E

Eric Rohlfing  (ARPA-E)

Introduction to Workshop

Pat McGrath (ARPA-E)

Presentations: Overview of Fusion Parameter Space and The Parameter Space of Magnetized Targets

Speakers, Richard Siemon and Irvin Lindemuth (University of Nevada, Reno)

Presentation: MagLIF and Prospects for a Breakeven Experiment 

Speaker, Dan Sinars (Sandia)

Presentation: Liquid Liner Implosions

Speaker, Peter Turchi (Santa Fe, NM)

Presentation: Plasma Liners and Potential for Standoff Fusion Reactor

Speaker,Scott Hsu (LANL)

Presentation: Formation of Plasma Targets Using Compact Toroids

Speaker, John Slough (University of Washington)

Presentation: Alternatives to CT Merging for Forming/Magnetizing a Plasma Target

Speaker, Dale Welch (Voss Scientific, Inc.)

Breakout 1: New Opportunities to Reach Scientific Breakeven

Breakout 1: Report Back

Breakout 2: Path to Economical Fusion Power Part I: 
Promising regimes in fusion parameter space, reactor concepts, and development needs

Day 2 - Wednesday, October 30


Day 1 Review/Report Backs and Day 2 Introduction

Pat McGrath, ARPA-E

Presentation: Pulse Power Drivers

Speaker, Mike Cuneo (Sandia)

Presentation: Rail Guns as a Fusion Driver - Requirements and Challenges

Speaker, Francis Thio (US Department of Energy)

Presentation: Plasma Gun Driver

Speaker, Doug Witherspoon (Hyper V)

Presentation: MEMS Accelerator

Speaker, Amit Lal (Cornell University)

Presentation: Laser Acceleration of Ions

Speaker, Wim Leemans (LBNL)

Presentation: Small Devices for Fusion Research

Speaker,Seth Putterman (UCLA)

Breakout: Path to Economical Fusion Power Part II
Driver and target development for new reactor concepts

Breakout: Report Back

Introduction to Final Exercise

Pat McGrath, ARPA-E

Final Exercise (small groups)

 *Addendum: Selected fusion parameter space plots at 8 keV and 10 keV for spherical and cylindrical geometries