UKAEA Grants £11.6M for Fusion Energy Tech Advancement

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Nine organisations have secured contracts worth £11.6m in total with United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to develop innovative technologies for fusion energy, which promises to be a safe, low carbon and sustainable part of the world’s future energy supply.

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The nine organisations have been awarded a total of ten contracts and are a mix of start-ups, small-medium enterprises, established companies, and academia.

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The contracts range between £500,000 and £1.4m, and are funded by the Fusion Industry Programme which was launched in 2021. This Programme forms part of the Government’s support for the UK’s fusion industry by developing the necessary technology and skills for the future global fusion powerplant market.

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The contracts address prototypes for novel fusion materials, manufacturing and technologies; and developing heating and cooling systems for fusion machines.

The eight organisations focusing on manufacturing and materials are 3-Sci, Alloyed, Duality Quantum Photonics, Full Matrix, Jacobs, Oxford Sigma, TWI (Coldspray technology), and University of Birmingham. The two organisations focused on heating and cooling technologies are Cal Gavin and TWI (Coreflow technology).

Tim Bestwick, UKAEA’s Chief Development Officer, said: “Delivering fusion energy is one of the great scientific and engineering challenges of our time. The Fusion Industry Programme is supporting businesses to overcome these challenges and help make fusion a commercial reality.

“These organisations have been awarded contracts after successfully demonstrating the feasibility of their concepts through earlier stages of the Fusion Industry Programme and will now develop their technologies to the ‘proof of concept’ stage.”

This latest announcement follows the award of Fusion Industry Programme contracts earlier this year for organisations which had successfully demonstrated feasibility of technologies focused on digital engineering and fusion fuel requirements.

Full list of organisations awarded contracts under Cycle Two, Phase Two, of the Fusion Industry Programme

Developing fusion materials, manufacturing and technology

Organisation Project title Project summary
3-Sci UHTEDS Develop and prototype high-temperature sensors capable of withstanding extreme conditions, including temperatures approaching 4000 Celsius and neutron radiation damage, to advance diagnostics and monitoring of future fusion machines.
Alloyed RAMP-UP Advance the additive manufacturing technology for Reduced-Activation Ferritic-Martensitic Steels (RAFMS) and Oxide Dispersion Strengthened RAFMS (ODS RAFMS).
Duality Quantum Photonics TRONN Design and fabricate ONNs in photonic chips to rapidly process data for the detection of hotspots.
Full Matrix Prototype for remote in situ monitoring of complex fusion supply pipe Develop a prototype device and software using guided wave technology with electromagnetic acoustic transducers to enable remote in situ health monitoring of various pipe features and geometries in fusion power plants
Jacobs Liquid Lithium Test Facility Expand and enhance a liquid lithium test facility to generate reliable, high-quality data on the corrosion performance and chemical compatibility of fusion-relevant materials in high-purity liquid lithium
Oxford Sigma Lithium Testing Facility by Oxford Sigma for Fusion Develop a liquid lithium testing loop to evaluate the impact of liquid lithium exposure on materials used in breeder blanket components, critical for the design and commercialisation of fusion power devices.
TWI Coldspray Additive Manufacture Advance cold spray additive manufacture (CSAM) technology to create large-scale components from fusion-grade materials.
University of Birmingham FATHOM2 Scale up additive manufacturing and powder hot isostatic pressing (HIPping) technologies to produce complex, cooled tungsten components for fusion applications, utilizing computational design, material assessment.

Developing heating and cooling systems

Organisation Project title Project summary
Cal Gavin Critical heat flux shifter and wall temperature reduction device Address the critical heat flux challenges in fusion machines by developing passive heat transfer enhancement devices to improve heat transfer efficiency, increase the operating range, and enhance the safety of fusion machine designs
TWI Coreflow Further development of CoreFlow™ technology to directly help industry address fusion machine manufacturing challenges by focusing on the design and manufacture of the first wall of plasma facing components.

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