Blog Posts
At ARPA-E, we’re constantly thinking about what new white spaces we can explore in our mission to change how Americans get, use, and store energy. One key tool that we use to help design exciting focused programs is to issue periodic Requests for Information, or RFIs, which ask the research community to submit to us their best ideas for how we can have maximum impact on a specific technical space. RFIs help our Program Directors’ (PDs) build out their ideas.

Publications
In support of T2M for the ALPHA program, Bechtel National, Woodruff Scientific, and Decysive Systems developed a costing model to estimate the overnight capital cost (OCC) of four fusion concepts supported by the ALPHA program.  In 2019–2020, WSI updated the costing model and the estimated OCC for the same four concepts, and added levelized-cost-of-electricity (LCOE) estimates as well.  The final report of the updated study can be downloaded here.  The report contains links to the earlier report and other references.

Blog Posts
Update: July 2022 After raising $27.5 million in their Series B fundraising round in May 2021, Zap Energy recently announced they raised an additional $160 million in follow-on funding. Lowercarbon Capital led their Series C funding round, with additional investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Shell Ventures, DCVC, and Valor Equity Partners. The Zap Energy team also announced a major technical milestone last month. Zap Energy created the first plasma in their FuZE-Q prototype.

Publications
During the ALPHA program, ARPA-E commissioned a report on the fusion intellectual-property (IP) landscape.  Some key takeaways from the report are: Magnetic and inertial confinement dominate existing IP landscape Magneto-inertial or other approaches are a ripe area for creating new IP Over 50% of fusion IP is expired, primarily due to non-payment of fees Be judicious in timing of filing, given the 20-year protection time frame.

Publications
This paper provides a retrospective of the Accelerating Low-cost Plasma Heating and Assembly (ALPHA) fusion program of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) of the U.S. Department of Energy. ALPHA’s objective was to catalyze research and development efforts to enable substantially lower-cost pathways to economical fusion power. 

Publications
In the study described in this paper, the authors represent the entire U.S. power generation fleet with an agent-based model that incorporates projections for future need as well as historical data on types and typical lifetimes of existing power plants.  This model was used to examine various scenarios for fusion market entry that included variations in entry date, uptake/transition rate, and final market capture fraction.

Blog Posts
Dr. Scott Hsu served as the Principal Investigator for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s ALPHA project from 2015-2018, where he led a team that designed and built a new, non-destructive driver technology that could enable more rapid experimentation and progress toward cost-effective fusion power. Now an ARPA-­E Program Director overseeing the ALPHA program’s conclusion and the development of new fusion programs, Dr. Hsu focuses on potentially transformative R&D to enable timely commercial fusion energy.

Publications
This document reports on an ARPA-E-sponsored JASON assessment of the “Prospects for Low Cost Fusion Development.” Specifically, the question is whether magneto-inertial fusion (MIF) is a promising approach toward achieving controlled thermonuclear fusion at dramatically lower costs than other approaches.

Press Releases
The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) today announced $60 million in funding for 23 groundbreaking new projects aimed at creating highly efficient and scalable dry-cooling technologies for thermoelectric power plants and developing prototype technologies to explore new pathways for fusion power.

Events
The primary objective of the workshop was to identify innovative approaches in high-efficiency, low-cost drivers to enable new approaches in fusion energy.