A Collaborative National Center for Fusion & Plasma Research

Business owners learn about PPPL research, buildings and infrastructure plans

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) welcomed more than 160 people to a virtual Industry Day when business owners learned about opportunities to partner with the national laboratory on major upcoming projects over the next decade, including a new research building – the Princeton Plasma Innovation Center (PPIC) – and a new utility project, the Critical Infrastructure  Recovery and Renewal (CIRR). 

Slides from the Industry Day presentations are available on the Industry Day website.

Steve Cowley, PPPL director, told attendees about PPPL’s expanding mission, which will continue to include research to develop fusion energy as a plentiful, inexpensive, and clean energy source, but is expanding to include new technologies. “We were the first place to do any serious amount of fusion energy as the energy of the future,” Cowley said. “We’re very interested in helping develop the next generation of microelectronics and beyond that the next generation of quantum industries. We have to do things based on the very best of cutting-edge technology.  To do that we have to rely on industry.”

Core capabilities

Jon Menard, deputy director for research, said the new building and other projects will support PPPL’s new core capabilities that build on the Lab’s world-leading knowledge in plasma physics.

In addition to developing plasma-based technologies  such as microelectronics and quantum computing,  PPPL will build on its computational science capabilities and will have a new research focus in computational physics for whole device modeling. PPIC will provide the specialized laboratory space necessary for such research, Menard explained.

Two largest projects

Industry Day focused on the two largest projects on PPPL’s horizon:

  • PPIC, a three-story, 84,800-square-foot building is the first new building to be constructed at PPPL in decades with construction costs of about $60 million. PPIC would be a sustainable building that would meet requirements for a LEED-gold certified building. It would include:
    • Laboratory space for microelectronics
    • New offices
    • Remote collaboration spaces
    • Conference rooms 
  • The Critical Infrastructure & Renewal project (CIRR): A $52-million utility project that will support the new research facilities by revitalizing PPPL’s utility and information technology infrastructure by upgrading and replacing electrical heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); chilled water generation, and underground utilities

Smaller capital projects:

PPPL also plans a number of smaller capital projects:  

  • Replacing the exterior of D Site buildings
  • Improving the site entrance
  • The Fusion Research Technology Hub (FuRTH) Collaboration Building, a two-story office building
  • The Science and Technology Interaction (STIX) academic collaboration center 

An emphasis on working with small businesses

PPPL is particularly interested in working with businesses that are owned by women, are disadvantaged, owned by veterans or owned by service-disabled businesses, said Hekima Qualls, head of Procurement said. Businesses interested in partnering with PPPL as a potential supplier must first register through PPPL’s Supplier Portal. More information is available on the Procurement webpage. PPPL has a good record working with small businesses with close to 59 percent of all subcontracts going to small businesses in Fiscal Year 2020, well above the DOE requirement of 45 percent, Qualls said. 

Kristen Fischer, PPPL’s chief financial officer, encouraged business owners to keep in touch with PPPL. “We look forward to working with you and want you to be successful in helping us to achieve our mission,” she said.

PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, N.J., is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which  is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit energy.gov/science.


U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

Website suggestions and feedback

Pinterest · Instagram · LinkedIn 

Princeton University Institutional Compliance Program

Privacy Policy · Sign In (for staff)

© 2021 Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. All rights reserved.

Princeton University
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
P.O. Box 451
Princeton, NJ 08543-0451
GPS: 100 Stellarator Road
Princeton, NJ, 08540
(609) 243-2000