ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Discuss funding sources for polywell research, including the non-profit EMC2 Fusion Development Corporation, as well as any other relevant research efforts.

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Ivy Matt
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ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby Ivy Matt » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:38 am

Science writer Daniel Clery reports that ARPA-E is preparing to launch a new funding program for fusion research, called “Accelerating Low-cost Plasma Heating and Assembly (ALPHA)”. In preparation for the funding opportunity announcement, ARPA-E has issued a Request For Information seeking partners for the new program. The funding opportunity will focus on an “intermediate ion density regime of 1018-1023 ions/cm3 (at Lawson conditions)”:
Currently, ARPA-E anticipates that the FOA will focus on research in: (1) Targets, plasma formation technologies to produce plasmas with sufficient lifetime, transport properties, and geometry to pair with a driver and achieve Lawson conditions at a final density of 1018-1023 ions/cm3; and (2) Drivers, systems to deliver energy to plasma targets with sufficient power density, symmetry, and mitigation of instabilities to achieve Lawson conditions at a final density of 1018-1023 ions/cm3. There may be areas of overlap where a single system can both form a plasma target and drive it to fusion conditions, and such a system is also within the scope of this planned FOA.

ARPA-E is compiling a Team Partner List “to facilitate the formation of new project teams”, and encourages scientists and engineers with expertise in various areas to add their organization names to the list.

ARPA-E expects to issue the final Funding Opportunity Announcement in August or September this year.
Temperature, density, confinement time: pick any two.

Ivy Matt
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby Ivy Matt » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:38 am

ARPA-E has posted a Teaming Partner list here:

https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/TeamingPa ... 97f53f2c90

Some familiar names there, including General Fusion and LPP. Notably absent are Helion Energy and EMC2. Given Helion's participation in the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, I expected them to be there. Of course, the list isn't final, and inclusion on the list (or not) is no guarantee that an organization will (or will not) receive funding.
Temperature, density, confinement time: pick any two.

crowberry
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby crowberry » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:59 pm

The total amount of funds in this initiative is about 30 M USD. The initiative is of course very good, but more money available would be even better of course.

https://arpa-e-foa.energy.gov/FileContent.aspx?FileID=a04e1c05-0e41-4117-b4e1-b32b66469c05

Ivy Matt
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby Ivy Matt » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:17 pm

I see your point. A million or two would go a long way for LPP, not so much for EMC2 or Helion. Still, General Fusion applied, and I believe their funding needs are in the same ballpark as EMC2's and Helion's.
Temperature, density, confinement time: pick any two.


mattman
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby mattman » Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:21 pm

Hello,

I am doing a write up this. Looking for feedback. This is what I have so far:


August was historic. The government finally moved into alternative fusion. ARPA-E started a program named alpha. The budget of 30 million should fund about ten projects [13]. The FOA shows how behind the times the government is on this. From their point of view, there are only two paths to fusion power. Laser fusion makes a high density plasma, while tokomaks makes a low density plasma. They want a third, middle range, high repetition option. There are a couple of inherent biases. First, basic fusors can run for hours [XXX]. They do not run by shots - they run continuously. The polywell may give the same behavior; especially if the plasma is heated steadily [XXX]. Second, many schemes have no need for ‘drivers’ and ‘targets’ like laser fusion does. General Fusion and Tri Alpha are notable exceptions [XXXX]. But, the polywell, the dynomak, the


Working on a list of non target/driver devices. We got MAGLIF (Sandia, ?), Particle beams on target, Magnetized Target Fusion (LLE), ect...

Ivy Matt
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby Ivy Matt » Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:49 am

There's a FAQ here, if you haven't seen it:

http://arpa-e.energy.gov/sites/default/ ... 1184_0.pdf

Some relevant responses:

Q15. My idea does not exactly fit this FOA, but I still believe it is relevant. Should I submit a concept paper to this FOA or should i wait for a forthcoming FOA on other fusion topics?
ANSWER: Applicants should carefully review the FOA for all of the compliance and responsiveness criteria. See, e.g., Sections I.D (Technical Categories of Interest), I.E (Technical Performance Targets) , I.F (Applications Specifically Not of Interest), III.C.1 and III.C. 2 (Compliant Criteria and Responsiveness Criteria) to determine whether to submit the idea under this FOA. In addition, please see the answer to Question 8 above

Q16. Why is there a minimum ηG requirement of 5?
ANSWER: The ηG requirement is intended to enable a practical recirculating electrical power ratio after conversion of thermal energy to electricity. If a proposed concept can achieve higher efficiency conversion (for example, through direct conversion of charged products), or if energy recovery can reduce the required recirculating power, lower ηG systems may still be considered provided that no more than half of the generated electricity from a reactor must be recirculated. Teams proposing a relaxed ηG requirement must demonstrate quantitatively, with references where appropriate, that the proposed energy conversion or recovery systems are based on proven technologies.
FOA Modification 02 will be issued to reflect this clarification.


I know LPP asked question 16. The second (and final) modification to the FOA included the above text clarifying the ηG requirement. I'm not sure I see the point of making a list of concepts that don't fit the FOA if the related organizations did not respond to the FOA and/or are fully funded by other means. Anyway, ARPA-E seems to interpret "driver" and "target" reasonably broadly, though I'm not sure if the same can be said for "shot". George Miley seems not to have pressed them on that point.
Temperature, density, confinement time: pick any two.

crowberry
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby crowberry » Sat May 16, 2015 6:46 am

The ARPA-E Alpha decisions have been made:

California Institute of Technology – Pasadena, CA
Prototype Tools to Establish the Viability of the Adiabatic Heating and Compression Mechanisms Required for Magnetized Target Fusion - $800,000

Helion Energy, Inc. – Redmond, WA
Staged Magnetic Compression of FRC Targets to Fusion Conditions- $3,971,264

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory – Berkeley, CA
MEMS Based Ion Beam Drivers for Magnetized Target Fusion- $2,200,000

Los Alamos National Laboratory – Los Alamos, NM
Spherically Imploding Plasma Liners as a Standoff Magneto-Inertial-Fusion Driver- $5,500,000

Magneto-Inertial Fusion Technologies, Inc. – Santa Ana, CA
Staged Z-pinch Target for Fusion - $4,300,000

NumerEx, LLC – Albuquerque, NM
Stabilized Liner Compressor (SLC) for Low-Cost Fusion- $4,000,000

Sandia National Laboratories – Albuquerque, NM
Demonstrating Fuel Magnetization and Laser Heating Tools for Low-Cost Fusion Energy- $3,800,000

Swarthmore College – Swarthmore, PA
Plasma Accelerator on the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment- $493,238

University of Washington – Seattle, WA
Development of a Compact Fusion Device based on the Flow Z-Pinch- $4,800,000


See this PDF for a description of each project:
http://arpa-e.energy.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/ALPHA%20Project%20Descriptions_FINAL.pdf

crowberry
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby crowberry » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:21 am

Here is a press release by the University of Washington on their grant for their “Sheared Flow Stabilized Z-Pinch” device. The sum is $ 5.3 M which is different from the ARPA-E Alpha grant of $ 4,8 M, so I wonder if they have recently received two grants?

UW researchers scaling up fusion hopes with DOE grant

http://www.washington.edu/news/2015/06/02/uw-researchers-scaling-up-fusion-hopes-with-doe-grant/

Has anyone followed what this group is doing over the past few years?

crowberry
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby crowberry » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:18 am

Sandia has produced their own ARPA-E funding press release Sandia’s Z machine receives funding aimed at fusion energy at https://share.sandia.gov/news/resources/news_releases/z_rochester/.

“OMEGA can fire 12 times per day and can also provide better diagnostic access,” said Jonathan Davies, a research scientist and leader of the effort at LLE. “The ARPA-E project will bring together the resources of Sandia and LLE to work on the same project — the coupling of laser energy and fusion fuel — with completely different techniques.”

“These experiments allow us to study MagLIF on a much smaller size and at a faster rate than on Z,” said Davies. “If the small-scale MagLIF experiments are successful and accurately modeled, we will have demonstrated magneto-inertial fusion principles over a very broad range of energy, space and time scales.”

An advantage of laser heating is that ideas involving lasers can be tested on multiple facilities across the country, allowing a much larger number of tests per year than is possible on the unique Z facility.

“It should easily be possible to do more than 200 laser experiments a year split among the Z-Beamlet, OMEGA and OMEGA-EP facilities, in contrast to the two dozen or so integrated MagLIF experiments a year realistically possible on Z,” Sinars said.

crowberry
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby crowberry » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:48 pm

It sounds really bad that the ARPA-E program is planned to be decommissioned according to this article by Alan Boyle: http://www.geekwire.com/2017/research-trump-budget/.

Skipjack
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Re: ARPA-E to begin funding alternative fusion concepts

Postby Skipjack » Thu May 04, 2017 3:31 am

crowberry wrote:It sounds really bad that the ARPA-E program is planned to be decommissioned according to this article by Alan Boyle: http://www.geekwire.com/2017/research-trump-budget/.

Yeah, ARPA-E has been a lifeline for domestic fusion projects. Unless there is a new source of funding for fusion, this is just another stupid idea that the Drumpf can put on his cap.


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