Wide-Bandgap Semiconductor Amplifiers for Plasma Heating and Control

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Program:
GAMOW
Award:
$1,070,000
Location:
Plainsboro,
New Jersey
Status:
ACTIVE
Project Term:
02/01/2021 - 10/25/2023

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 plants will need efficient, high-power electrical drivers for plasma heating, compression, and control. Wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductor devices and innovative amplifiers may speed up the development of high-power fusion systems and reduce their eventual levelized cost of electricity. Princeton Fusion Systems will develop integrated, power-dense, reliable, and scalable power amplifier boards for plasma heating and control applications using WBG silicon carbide devices and employ advanced cooling. Individual boards will be capable of delivering more than 10 kW of power. The boards will be designed so that multiple boards of this power level can replace less-efficient devices currently in use to reduce the overall cost and make the machines more reliable. The project will design, test, and qualify individual circuit boards as the building blocks for various short-pulse, long-pulse, and continuous-wave electrical-driver power supplies for fusion-energy systems.

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.

Security:

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

Environment:

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

Economy:

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

Contact

ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Scott Hsu
Project Contact:
Mr. Michael Paluszek
Press and General Inquiries Email:
ARPA-E-Comms@hq.doe.gov
Project Contact Email:
map@psatellite.com

Partners

National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Princeton University
United Silicon Carbide, Inc.

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Release Date:
09/02/2020