Fueling Method for Small, Steady-State, Aneutronic FRC Fusion Reactors

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Fueling Method for Small, Steady-State, Aneutronic FRC Fusion Reactors

Princeton Docket # 14-2962


Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory at Princeton University have disclosed a method to efficiently supply controlled and accurately timed amounts of deuterium and the rare element, 3He, to the core of small field-reversed-configuration (FRC) fusion reactors. This method is an essential procedure for these fusion reactors, enabling steady power production and very low levels of radioactivity.

Conventional fueling methods, e.g., gas puffing or frozen-pellet or CT injection, used for the mainstream magnetic fusion device, the tokamak, are complex and inefficient because tokamaks are relatively large and dense. Additionally, intense recycling of the tokamak plasma makes those methods lossy. The disclosed technology avoids these problems and has the advantage of allowing the fuel to be supplied in a continuous stream with millisecond control over rate, hence fusion power.


·         Allows fuel to be supplied in a continuous stream to the desired location


·         Millisecond rate control


·         Steady power production


·         Allows steady-state operation of small, clean fusion reactor


·         FRC Fusion Reactors

Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL)


The U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is a Collaborative National Center for plasma and fusion science. Its primary mission is to develop the scientific understanding and the key innovations which will lead to an attractive fusion energy source. Associated missions include conducting world-class research along the broad frontier of plasma science and providing the highest quality of scientific education.




Samuel Cohen is Director of the Program in Plasma Science and Technology at Princeton University and a Principal Research Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). He received his BS and PhD degrees in Physics from MIT (1968, 1973) where he was awarded the Goodwin Medal for Distinguished Teaching. In 1973 he joined PPPL where he has since worked, except for a one-year (1984-5) assignment to the Joint European Torus (JET) in Culham, UK and extended periods of service (1988-1994) in Munich, Germany, on the ITER Conceptual Design. Professor Cohen’s honors include: Telluride Scholar, General Motors Scholar, Sigma Xi, and RLE Fellow. A fellow of the American Physical Society, Professor Cohen is expert in the surface physics of fusion devices, impurities in plasmas, plasma processing, and clean, small fusion-reactor theory, design and experiment. Between 1991 and 2004 he served as Resident Associate Editor of Physics of Plasmas.


Daren Stotler is a Principal Research Physicist in the Theory Department at Princeton Plasma Physics Lab. He joined PPPL in 1986 immediately upon completion of his PhD at University of Texas at Austin; his undergraduate degree was received from Rice University (1981). Dr. Stotler is primarily interested in the interactions between plasmas and their material surroundings and has worked with Dr. Charles Karney to develop the DEGAS 2 neutral gas transport code to study how the plasma-material interactions and the resulting particles affect current experiments and predict their impact on future devices. Dr. Stotler has used DEGAS 2 to simulate in detail the neutral particle transport in experiments carried out on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak at MIT and the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) at PPPL. As part of PPPL’s participation in the Center for Plasma Edge Simulation (2005 – 2011) and current Edge Physics Simulation (EPSI) projects, Stotler has developed a comprehensive neutral particle transport routine based on DEGAS 2 and integrated it into the CPES kinetic plasma transport code.


Michael Buttolph is a 4th year undergraduate at Cornell University studying Engineering Physics. His greatest interests are problems in computational plasma physics and related fields. Mr. Buttolph plans to pursue a doctoral degree in computational science upon receiving his undergraduate degree.

Intellectual Property Status

Patent protection is pending.

Princeton is seeking to identify appropriate partners for the further development and commercialization of this technology.



Michael Tyerech
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-6762•

Laurie Bagley
Princeton University Office of Technology Licensing • (609) 258-5579•

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Chris Wright
Licensing Associate
Princeton University
Samuel Cohen
Daren Stotler
Michael Buttolph
plasma physics