EM-Enhanced HyPOR Loop for Fast Fusion Fuel Cycles

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Aiken, South Carolina
Project Term:
03/01/2021 - 02/29/2024

Critical Need:

For more than 60 years, fusion research and development (R&D) has focused on attaining the required fuel density, temperature, and energy confinement time of the plasma fuel of a viable fusion energy system. Currently, relatively modest investments have been made in the required and equally critical enabling technologies and advanced materials surrounding the plasma fuel. The GAMOW program supports innovative R&D that will help establish both the technical and commercial viability of (i) all the required technologies and subsystems between the fusion plasma and the balance of plant, (ii) cost-effective, high-efficiency, high-duty-cycle driver technologies, and (iii) novel fusion materials and advanced manufacturing of these materials.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Fusion power cannot be realized without vacuum pumps. The vacuum technology needed to operate a commercial fusion power plant does not currently exist, however. Although existing vacuum technology could be adapted to meet the challenges posed by fusion energy, a radically new pump oil treatment and recycling system may be necessary to handle tritium removal and radiation damage. Savannah River National Laboratory will demonstrate a hydrocarbon pump oil-recycling loop process that can selectively remove heavier hydrogen isotopes from pump oil (target of 99.5 % removal, with an uptake of 0.01% of tritium throughput), while also purifying the oil of radiation-induced damage. The recycled oil will retain its pumping characteristics, and hydrogen isotopes and impurities will be extracted in gaseous form for further processing in the tritium plant. The project’s successful execution would potentially enable fusion pumping solutions capable of reducing pump operational costs >100X, pump electric-power consumption by 10X, and tritium inventory by more than 4X.

Potential Impact:

Successful development of fusion energy science and technology could lead to a safe, carbon-free, abundant energy source for developed and emerging economies.


The GAMOW program will advance American leadership in fusion energy science and technology.


If successfully developed and commercialized, fusion energy can provide abundant, zero-carbon energy.


Advances in GAMOW’s technical areas will help accelerate progress toward commercial fusion energy and a new zero-carbon energy economy.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Ahmed Diallo
Project Contact:
Dr. George Larsen
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


University of South Carolina
Clemson University

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