DOE announces USD 32M for BETHE projects

22 April 2020

The U.S. Department of Energy announced the winners of USD 32M in funding for 15 projects as part of the Breakthroughs Enabling THermonuclear-fusion Energy (BETHE) program. These projects will work to develop timely, commercially viable fusion energy, with the goal to increase the number and performance levels of lower-cost fusion concepts. 

BETHE projects will work to deliver higher-maturity, lower-cost fusion options via three research categories: (1) Concept Development to advance the performance of inherently lower-cost but less-mature fusion concepts; (2) Component Technology Development that could significantly reduce the capital cost of higher-cost, more-mature fusion concepts; and (3) Capability Teams to improve/adapt and apply existing capabilities (including theory/modeling, machine learning, and diagnostics) to accelerate the development of multiple concepts.

BETHE projects address these needs by building on Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy’s (ARPA-E) first focused fusion program, ALPHA, to grow the number of privately funded fusion companies. BETHE teams will pursue additional approaches that reduce cost, unit size, and complexity of fusion systems, while also smoothing the path to fusion commercialization to include public, private, and philanthropic partnerships with the BETHE teams.