DEVENS, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an awardee in its $46 million milestone-based commercial fusion energy development program, a program designed to solidify U.S. leadership in commercial fusion energy. CFS is among one of eight companies to be selected and the only one pursuing the conventional tokamak approach to commercial fusion.
“CFS is honored to be selected for the DOE’s milestone-based fusion development program,” said Bob Mumgaard, CFS CEO and co-founder. “This program is part of the bold commitment from the Biden-Harris Administration to bring clean fusion energy to the grid within the next decade. It leverages the strengths of the private and public sectors and encourages collaboration to accelerate progress. Participating companies only get paid if they deliver results and the public program verifies the science is sound, sending a powerful signal for fundamental progress in this important endeavor.”
Companies submitted proposals detailing their paths to bring commercial fusion energy to market and those selected will receive reimbursement funding only after pre-established commercialization milestones are achieved and verified by the DOE. The total awarded funding is $46 million for the first 18-month budget period of a five-year program. Congress established the program and authorized $415 million for it in the Energy Act of 2020 and the CHIPS and Science Act, however, only a portion has been funded to date.
“When I first put pen to paper drafting the Milestone-Based Fusion Development Program three years ago, I had today’s announcement in mind,” said U.S. Representative Lori Trahan (MA-03), Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Fusion Caucus. “Eight companies, including Commonwealth Fusion Systems right here in Massachusetts, are leading the cutting-edge work being done across the United States to win the race to finally commercialize fusion energy. I’m proud to see this funding being deployed to bolster those efforts, and I look forward to working with Secretary Granholm, members of the bipartisan Congressional Fusion Caucus, and our remarkable researchers to ensure this federal support continues until we unlock this limitless source of clean energy.”
The DOE fusion milestone program is modeled on a highly successful NASA program, Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS), which leveraged public-private partnerships (SpaceX and Orbital) to significantly reduce the cost of space flight, leading to an entirely new commercial space industry. For the first 18 months of DOE’s program, CFS milestones focus on its commercially relevant net energy fusion device, called SPARC. SPARC uses groundbreaking high-temperature superconducting magnet technology to demonstrate that fusion can work as a commercial power source for the first time in history at a compact and cost-effective scale. SPARC will demonstrate net energy (Q>1) and pave the way for power plant design readiness. It will show both the plasma physics and many of the technologies and data required for the company’s fusion power plant, called ARC.
CFS milestones include manufacturing and testing its first fusion magnet for SPARC, launching a fusion community benefits program that includes strong commitments to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) and energy justice (EJ) as part of that process, developing the design and technology roadmap for CFS’ first commercial fusion power plant, and submitting its ARC physics basis papers.
“There is a growing global race for commercial fusion energy and this DOE program will serve as a clear, data-driven and transparent way to measure private sector progress and ensure that the U.S. is playing a leading role. We hope this milestone program continues to grow in ambition and funding, which will be incredibly important as we work to bring this fundamentally new clean technology to the world,” said Mumgaard.
CFS has assembled a world class team who will execute this program, including physicists, design and manufacturing engineers, commercial developers, and community affairs specialists as well as a broad and deep team of collaborators hailing from multiple U.S. National Labs and universities.