Target Formation and Integrated Experiments for Plasma-Jet Driven Magneto-Inertial Fusion



Program:
BETHE
Award:
$4,618,000
Location:
Los Alamos,
New Mexico
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
06/29/2020 - 06/28/2023
Website:

Critical Need:

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:

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will lead a team that will test an innovative approach to controlled fusion energy production: plasma-jet driven magneto-inertial fusion (PJMIF). PJMIF uses a spherical array of plasma guns to produce an imploding supersonic plasma shell, or “liner,” which inertially compresses and heats a pre-injected magnetized plasma “target” in a bid to access the conditions for thermonuclear fusion. LANL will develop a magnetized target plasma for the approach at a smaller scale than would be needed for a reactor. The team will perform first integrated liner-on-target compression experiments at the LANL Plasma Liner Experiment facility. Compression and heating will be studied and compared with computer simulations. The experimental results will illuminate the viability and scaling behavior of this class of fusion devices with energy, plasma jet parameters, and reactor size, informing the prospects for future development and energy scaleup of this concept.

Potential Impact:

Accelerating and lowering the costs of fusion development and eventual deployment will enable fusion energy to contribute to:

Security:

Fusion energy will ensure the U.S.’s technological lead and energy security.

Environment:

Fusion energy will improve the chances of getting to cost-effective, net-zero carbon emissions, while minimizing pollution and avoiding long-lived radioactive waste.

Economy:

As a disruptive technology, fusion energy will likely create new markets, opportunities, and export advantages for the U.S.

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Robert Ledoux
Project Contact:
Samuel Langendorf
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
samuel.langendorf@lanl.gov

Partners

Hyperjet Fusion Corporation

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Release Date:
04/07/2020