Data-Enabled Fusion Technology

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Austin, Texas
Project Term:
10/01/2020 - 03/31/2024

Critical Need:

Controlled fusion has long been thought of as an ideal energy source—safe, clean, abundant, and dispatchable. Fusion is on the cusp of demonstrating net positive energy gain, spurring interest in both the public and private sectors to adopt a more aggressive development path toward a timely, grid-ready demonstration. A critical need today is to increase the performance levels and the number of lower-cost fusion approaches that might eventually lead to commercial fusion energy with competitive capital cost and levelized cost of energy. To address this need, the BETHE program supports (1) advancing the performance of earlier-stage, lower-cost concepts, (2) component-technology development to lower the cost of more-mature concepts, and (3) capability teams to assist multiple concept teams in theory, modeling, and diagnostic measurements.

Project Innovation + Advantages:

Sapientai, LLC will form a team under the Data-enabled Fusion Technology (DeFT) project to provide state-of-the-art data-enabled modeling and simulation capabilities to accelerate the development and evaluation of lower-cost fusion concepts. The team will leverage machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to better understand and use the results of existing experimental data and models to accelerate the development of lower-cost fusion concepts toward higher fusion performance. The DeFT team includes not only experts in ML/AI but also fusion and plasma physics, uncertainty quantification, applied mathematics, and scientific computing. This combined experience is critical for enabling effective deployment of ADA/ML/AI methods in such physically complex systems. By project end, the DeFT team will have applied their ML/AI capabilities to at least three fusion concepts, helping accelerate each team’s progress toward lower-cost fusion energy.

Potential Impact:

Accelerating and lowering the costs of fusion development and eventual deployment will enable fusion energy to contribute to:


Fusion energy will ensure the U.S.’s technological lead and energy security.


Fusion energy will improve our chances of meeting growing global clean-energy demand and realizing cost-effective, net-zero carbon emissions, while minimizing pollution and avoiding long-lived radioactive waste.


As a disruptive technology, fusion energy will likely create new markets, opportunities, and export advantages for the U.S.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Robert Ledoux
Project Contact:
Dr. Craig Michoski
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


General Fusion
University of Texas, Austin

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