Kinetic Simulation of FRC Stability and Transport

PI Name: 
Sean Dettrick
Institution: 
TAE Technologies, Inc.
Allocation Program: 
INCITE
Allocation Hours at ALCF: 
.75 Million
Year: 
2019
Research Domain: 
Physics

TAE Technologies’ ultimate goal is to develop the world’s first commercializable fusion-powered generator for carbon-free baseline electricity production. To this end, TAE has a large and active experimental, theoretical, and computational fusion plasma research program centered around the field-reversed configuration (FRC) magnetic topology. The main goals of the company’s FRC research program are to study the confinement of energy at high electron temperatures in its C-2W experiment, and to master the plasma control methods that will be needed to increase the plasma temperature to commercializable fusion conditions in a future device.

The current INCITE allocation enables two strategic computing initiatives that directly support TAE’s research program: (1) the development of the ANC kinetic micro-turbulence code to understand energy confinement in FRC plasmas, and (2) the development of the FPIC kinetic macro-stability code to model the global stability of FRC plasmas and to study plasma control methods that could be deployed on C-2W and future devices. These two initiatives are the most computationally demanding components of TAE’s overarching strategic computing goal to develop a Whole Device Model (WDM) of FRC plasmas. The WDM is a hierarchy of models covering multiple time and space scales that will eventually allow TAE researchers to perform high-fidelity predictive simulations of FRC fusion experiments. 

After making a number of physics model advances and numerical algorithm improvements in the first year of the INCITE allocation, the research team will continue their efforts to advance the scientific progress of the C-2W experimental program via simulation of both macroscopic plasma stability and micro-turbulent particle and energy transport. This includes using the FPIC and ANC codes to explore new experimental parameter regimes, to accelerate the optimization of experimental operating scenarios, and to predict stable and efficient operating points for future FRC reactor design concepts.