TAE Technologies Furthers Fusion Research With National Labs

FOOTHILL RANCH, Calif., Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- TAE Technologies, one of the world's leading fusion energy companies, has been awarded additional government grants to accelerate fusion energy development in a collaboration with Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories.

TAE was recently awarded a 2020 grant from the Innovation Network for Fusion Energy (INFUSE) program for a second year in a row, being one of five successful applicants and one of 10 awardees granted through the DOE Office of Fusion Energy Science (FES).

The current private-public funding partnership, which was announced by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), is for research into the development of phased-array High Harmonic Fast Wave (HHFW) antenna and load-resilient matching network for the company's C-2W Field-Reversed Configuration (FRC) plasma device nicknamed "Norman". This HHFW antenna will be eventually used to heat electrons in the core of FRC plasma.

TAE Technologies also announced that in collaboration with UCLA and Infineon company, it will utilize an ARPA-E grant (received by UCLA) to build a prototype 100 kW solid-state RF amplifier for its HHFW antenna on an open-user facility Large Plasma Device (LAPD) machine at UCLA.

The HHFW antenna and the RF amplifier, being developed under both the INFUSE and ARPA-E grants, address critical challenges in the development of a fusion reactor: how to effectively launch, couple, and deposit RF power into a plasma core to achieve high plasma temperatures capable of harboring fusion conditions. Studying the behavior of RF wave coupling and propagation through these experiments not only addresses TAE's own technology pathway, but allows the broader scientific community new insights into RF physics and technology.

These awards signify ongoing federal support and discoveries that will not only assist in TAE's pursuit of clean, safe, cost-effective, scalable, commercial fusion energy, but also to allow the company to continue its ongoing efforts in contributing to meaningful scientific research.

TAE Technologies has already returned results from its 2019 INFUSE research project, when it was awarded three funding partnerships in collaboration with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and ORNL:

    --  Using the HYM 3D particle-in-cell code developed at PPPL to study the
        synergistic effects of neutral-beam injection and end biasing on the
        global stability of FRC plasmas in conditions relevant to Norman, and
        the planned next-step device, a net energy prototype called Copernicus;
    --  Examining the feasibility of implementing and the designing of Doppler
        Free Saturation Spectroscopy (DFSS) to measure the equilibrium profiles
        of magnetic and electric fields in Norman's FRC plasma;
    --  And performing the simulations of HHFW coupling and propagation in FRC
        plasma by using Petra-M full wave code and the 4-strap antenna geometry
        implemented in the LAPD under different plasma conditions.

The company's 2019 research helped determine optimal implementation of a DFSS diagnostic, needed to provide magnetic field equilibrium measurements and FRC formation validation on Norman. This work was conducted by incorporating results from a design study into a systematic error analysis for the magnetic field vector measurements. Using Norman's plasma parameters, TAE analysis indicated that the magnetic field magnitude and direction on the axis can be determined with an accuracy of <10 Gauss with a spatial resolution ranging from 1 to 30 mm.

TAE, in collaboration with ORNL, is working toward installing the DFSS diagnostic on Norman for testing in 2021.

"As a private company pursuing fusion, we appreciate these continuing opportunities to collaborate with our scientific peers in the public sector and further fusion research for all," said Michl Binderbauer, CEO of TAE Technologies. "Harnessing this ultimate sustainable energy source is not a matter of if, but when. Our public-private collaborations with esteemed National Labs helps bring fusion technology closer to a commercial reality every day."

TAE Technologies regularly participates in other joint research in fusion, accelerator physics, and related areas. An active contributor to scientific literature on fusion, the company has published and co-authored more than 110 peer-reviewed articles relating to its work.

INFUSE is a pilot program that addresses the nation's energy, environmental and security needs by resolving industrial-scale issues of technology, cost, and safety. INFUSE seeks to accelerate fusion energy development in the private sector by reducing impediments to collaboration and facilitating corporate partnership with the expertise and unique resources available at DOE laboratories.

ABOUT TAE TECHNOLOGIES: TAE Technologies develops breakthrough solutions to the most complex problems of our time. The company was founded in 1998 with the goal to develop and distribute safe, cost-effective commercial fusion energy with the cleanest environmental profile. With more than 1,400 patents and over $750 million in private capital, TAE Technologies is now on the cusp of delivering a transformational energy source capable of sustaining the planet for centuries. The company's revolutionary technology has launched a robust portfolio of spinoff opportunities in critical markets such as electric mobility, power management, life sciences and more. Multidisciplinary and mission-driven by nature, TAE Technologies is leveraging proprietary science and engineering to create a bright future for us all.

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