Total planned funding is up to $50 million for awardees to deliver Fusion Pilot Plant (FPP) pre-conceptual designs and technology roadmaps.
Project teams, which will be led by for-profit entities, must meet particular milestones before receiving awarded funds, and additionally, awardees are expected to make significant commitments of non-federal resources.
The program requires awardees to implement a community benefits plan in support of the DOE’s equity and justice priorities.

In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced it would provide up to $50 million to launch a new milestone-based fusion development program as authorized in the Energy Act of 2020. This program will support for-profit entities, who may team with national laboratories, universities and other organizations to meet major technical and commercialization milestones toward the successful design of a fusion pilot plant (FPP), which will help bring fusion toward technical and commercial viability. The program is informed by recent reports from the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, community workshops, and input from private industry.

This Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) invites applications to be submitted for applied R&D to resolve scientific and technological issues toward the successful design of an FPP. The proposed FPP should demonstrate a significant amount of net-fusion electricity (e.g., >50 MWe) for more than three continuous hours with a timely path to one full-power year, at a total capital cost that can attract private funding.

Applications should propose a series of milestones toward realizing an FPP. Within 18 months of award, the initial project deliverables are FPP preconceptual designs and technology roadmaps. A conceptual design of an FPP leading to preliminary and final engineering designs will be required. A preconceptual design would need to address the same issues as the conceptual design but at lower levels of fidelity and with greater uncertainties. A technology roadmap identifies in detail the required critical-path R&D, including any intermediate test facilities, and focuses on the advances required for a particular FPP conceptual design.

Each application should select one of two tiers as described below. Applicants may submit a single application to one of the tiers, or a separate application to each tier, with the understanding that at most, one application per lead entity may be selected for award negotiations.

Tier 1: Applications shall articulate a plausible path and proposed milestones leading to a successful preliminary design review (PDR), by the late 2020s, of an FPP that can begin operations by the early 2030s. Significant commitment of non-federal resources is expected for all Tier 1 applications, i.e., a majority of the total project cost.

Tier 2: Applications shall articulate a plausible path and proposed milestones leading to a significant improvement, as defined quantitatively by the applicant, in the fusion performance (including the physics basis and required enabling materials/technologies) of their proposed FPP concept by the mid/late 2020s. Applications shall further describe how the improved performance may lead to a successful PDR, by the early 2030s, of an FPP that can begin operations by the late 2030s. Significant commitment of non-federal resources is expected, i.e., a majority of the total project cost, although lower fractions greater than or equal to 20% may be considered for awards made under an expenditure-based Technology Investment Agreement (TIA). 

DOE anticipates awarding between three and five awards of between $5 million and $25 million as Other Transactions (OT) agreements via TIAs. Funding for subsequent milestones up to a total period of five years will be contingent upon meeting early milestones and the availability of appropriated funding to continue this program in FY 2024 and beyond.

A pre-application is required. The submission deadline for pre-applications is October 20, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. ET. The pre-application response date is November 3, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The submission deadline for applications is December 15, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

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