DOE Announces $175 Million for Novel Clean Energy Technology Projects, Including Fusion

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $175 million for 68 research and development projects aimed at developing disruptive technologies to strengthen the nation's advanced energy enterprise. Led by DOE's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), the OPEN 2021 program prioritizes funding high-impact, high-risk technologies that support novel approaches to clean energy challenges. The selected projects — spanning 22 states and coordinated at universities, national laboratories, and private companies — will advance technologies for a wide range of areas, including electric vehicles, offshore wind, storage, and nuclear recycling. These investments support President Biden's climate goals to increase production of domestic clean energy technology, strengthen the nation's energy security, and uplift the economy by creating good-paying jobs.


There are four fusion energy projects among the funding recipients, and they include:

  • $3M for MIT's Liquid Immersion Blanket: Robust Accountancy (LIBRA) experiment to test tritium breeding.

  • $1.5M to Princeton Plasma Physics Lab to test ways enabling a pathway to economical pB11 fusion.

  • $3.1M to Los Alamos National Lab for materials research for tungsten alloys in fusion plasma-facing components.

  • $2M to Polymath Research for longer-wavelengthe lasers for inertial fusion energy.


“Universities, companies, and our national labs are doubling down on advancing clean energy technology innovation and manufacturing in America to deliver critical energy solutions from renewables to fusion energy to tackle the climate crisis,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE’s investments show our commitment to empowering innovators to develop bold plans to help America achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, create clean energy, good-paying jobs, and strengthen our energy independence.”


For the full selectee list and more detailed project descriptions, visit the ARPA-E OPEN 2021 webpage. Among the first of billions of dollars for research and development opportunities that DOE announced last year to address the climate crisis, OPEN 2021 is ARPA-E’s latest installment of the OPEN program. The first four iterations — 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 — awarded over $600 million in funding to 225 projects working to achieve breakthroughs in commercializing a variety of energy solutions, including in the development of transformative solar, geothermal, batteries, biofuels, and advanced surface coating technologies.


Since its founding in 2009, ARPA-E has provided $2.93 billion in R&D funding, and ARPA-E projects have attracted more than $7.6 billion in private sector follow-on funding to commercialize clean energy technologies and create sustainable clean energy jobs. Previous ARPA-E awardees have also gone on to achieve breakthroughs in commercializing a variety of energy solutions, including in the development of transformative solar, geothermal, batteries, biofuels and advanced surface coating technologies.


The original press release can be read here.