Non-Planar Capability HTS Magnet Coil with Additive-Manufactured Components
Controlled fusion has long been thought of as an ideal energy source—safe, clean, abundant, and dispatchable. Fusion is on the cusp of demonstrating net positive energy gain, spurring interest in both the public and private sectors to adopt a more aggressive development path toward a timely, grid-ready demonstration. A critical need today is to increase the performance levels and the number of lower-cost fusion approaches that might eventually lead to commercial fusion energy with competitive capital cost and levelized cost of energy. To address this need, the BETHE program supports (1) advancing the performance of earlier-stage, lower-cost concepts, (2) component-technology development to lower the cost of more-mature concepts, and (3) capability teams to assist multiple concept teams in theory, modeling, and diagnostic measurements.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
A stellarator is a fusion energy concept that uses magnetic fields to confine fusion fuel in the form of a plasma. International R&D is underway with a new class of stellarators setting performance records with the goal of generating stable and disruption-free power. Stellarators have been expensive and time consuming to build. Their large and complex electromagnets need to be shaped, supported, and positioned with precision. To overcome these challenges, two game-changing technologies hold great promise: advanced manufacturing (AM) to enable the complex shapes to be built accurately, rapidly, and economically; and high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets to reduce the size and weight of the reactor. This project will reduce the highest initial risks of building a non-planar HTS magnet by demonstrating whether HTS cable windings for an actual stellarator design maintain the needed tolerances and superconducting-current properties with three-dimensional bend radii as low as 10 cm. Success in this project will allow follow-on efforts to build a prototype non-planar HTS magnet coil to enable a stellarator development path to lower-cost fusion energy.
Accelerating and lowering the costs of fusion development and eventual deployment will enable fusion energy to contribute to:
Fusion energy will ensure the U.S.’s technological lead and energy security.
Fusion energy will improve the chances of getting to cost-effective, net-zero carbon emissions, while minimizing pollution and avoiding long-lived radioactive waste.
As a disruptive technology, fusion energy will likely create new markets, opportunities, and export advantages for the U.S.