The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $30 million in funding to support innovative R&D for a range of enabling technologies required for commercially attractive fusion energy. (DE-FOA-0002288) The funding effort, Galvanizing Advances in Market-aligned fusion for an Overabundance of Watts (GAMOW, pronounced gamma), is run jointly by the Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) and Office of Science’s Fusion Energy Sciences program (SC-FES).
ARPA-E will contribute up to $15 million in funding over a three-year program period, while the FES will contribute up to $5 million a year for three years for qualifying technologies.
GAMOW will prioritize R&D particularly in:
All the required technologies and subsystems between the fusion plasma and the balance of plant;
Cost-effective, high-efficiency, high-duty-cycle driver technologies; and
Cross-cutting areas such as novel fusion materials and advanced and additive manufacturing.
Schematic of a generic fusion energy system, showing several of the subsystems of interest to this FOA, including integrated first-wall and blanket technologies, plasma-facing components (PFC) and divertor (not shown explicitly), and intensified tritium processing. Physics of the fusion plasma and balance of plant are outside the scope of this FOA. Source: ARPA-E
Applicants for GAMOW funding should leverage and build on foundational SC-FES research programs in fusion materials, fusion nuclear science, plasma-materials interactions, and other enabling technologies, while ensuring that market-aware techno-economic analyses inform project goals. Awardees must work toward one or more of the following high-level program objectives:
Demonstrate substantial progress toward technical feasibility and/or increases in performance compared to the current state of the art in the priority R&D areas.
Enable significant device simplification or elimination of entire subsystems of commercially motivated fusion energy systems.
Reduce fusion energy system costs, including those of critical materials and component testing.
Improve the reliability, safety, and/or environmental attractiveness of fusion energy systems.
For more than 60 years, fusion research and development has focused on attaining the required fuel density, temperature, and energy confinement time required for a viable fusion energy system. Over time, investment into the basic enabling technologies and advanced materials that are needed to support successful fusion energy has grown, but there remains a significant need for progress in this space before a fusion energy system can become commercially attractive.
The GAMOW program seeks to address this need by funding projects that support innovative R&D for fusion energy subsystems and cross-cutting research.