US invests $30m in fusion energy research and development

The programme will support the development of timely, commercially viable fusion energy, aiming to increase the number and performance levels of lower cost fusion concepts

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced funding worth up to $30 million (£23m) for a new programme aimed at supporting research and development into fusion energy.

The Breakthroughs Enabling THermonuclear-fusion Energy (BETHE) projects will support the development of timely, commercially viable fusion energy, aiming to increase the number and performance levels of lower cost fusion concepts.

The DOE says controlled fusion has long been seen as an ideal energy source but the development of the technology has been hindered by technical challenges and costs.

The BETHE programme seeks to address these challenges in three research areas: new, lower cost concept development; component technology development to lower the cost of more mature fusion concepts; and improvements to and application of existing fusion research and development capabilities to accelerate the development of multiple concepts.

Lane Genatowski, Programme Director at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) said: “Successfully developing lower-cost fusion energy concepts would ensure US leadership in this potentially game-changing energy technology. Deployable, commercially viable fusion would offer reliable, low carbon power.”

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