SEF Helps Fund Permanent Magnet Project

The Stellar Energy Foundation has been pleased to help support a potential breakthrough project, “Permanent Magnets for Stellarators,” carried out at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory with its sub-contractor SABR, LLC, and Auburn University. The project successfully demonstrated the use of permanent magnets in a Stellarator fusion reactor.   This will enable simpler, more robust, and less expensive designs for future fusion reactors.

The project funding included a grant from the Department of Energy ARPA-E BETHE program, complemented by funds from the Fusion Energy Sciences office of the DOE Office of Science. The grant from SEF to SABR filled a critical funding gap, without which the ARPA-E funding would not have been possible, and enabled this project to move forward. This public/private/philanthropic partnership, the first of its kind, provides valuable template for future projects.

The design, analysis, and initial prototype activity of the Permanent Magnet for Stellarators project showed the feasibility of using a large number of simple magnets to magnetic fields with a high degree of complexity and precision.   This notion is a conceptual breakthrough for design and engineering of stellarators,  and showed that all types of dipole magnets can be used, both permanent magnets and electromagnetic coil magnets including superconducting coil magnets.

This knowledge gained plus the intellectual property developed are at the heart of Princeton Stellarators, Inc., a spin-out from PPPL which will commercialize this IP and bring it to market.