Decarbon Daily - Commercializing Fusion Energy
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How Much Funding is Required to Commercialize Fusion?
Commonwealth Fusion System announced a Series B round of $1.8 billion this week. The company aims to have a pilot reactor by 2025. To date, Commonwealth has raised nearly $2 billion since it was founded in 2018.
Energy researchers and entrepreneurs continue to chase the new energy source. The EU spent billions on fusion research through the 1990s. The Department of Energy (DOE) has funded fusion projects for the last decade.
In 2021, the DOE proposed $425 million for fusion research:
$425.1M for the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) for research to develop a fusion energy source and to understand matter at very high temperatures and densities. Fusion energy is a carbon-free energy source with enormous potential, such as combatting climate change, serving as a vast energy source, providing economic benefits, and promoting national security. The Budget continues to support research and facility operations, including research at international facilities with unique capabilities, research in QIS, and research in high-density laboratory plasma science.
The Race for Fusion Energy
Major energy companies like Eni, Equinor, and Chevron are investing in new fusion companies to aid the energy transition.
Helion Energy and General Fusion have also raised large sums in the past month as the companies chase fusion energy as the next big energy source. Helion Energy secured $2.2 billion last month to commercialize fusion. General Fusion raised $130 million from Bezos Expeditions to build out its demonstration plant.
Helion's co-founder and CEO is focused on industrial scale power:
“Some projects in the fusion space talk about heat, or energy, or other things. Helion is focused on electricity generation. Can we get it out fast, at a low cost? Can we get it to industrial-scale power?” asks David Kirtley, Helion’s co-founder and CEO. “We are building systems that are about the size of a shipping container and that can deliver industrial-scale power — say on the order of 50 megawatts of electricity.”
TAE Technologies and Zap Energy are other startups that raised funds this year to develop fusion energy.
So...what will it take to commercialize fusion as an energy source? With pilot and demonstration projects taking billions, it will likely take billions more to get to industrial scale for reliable fusion energy. Unfortunately, at this point, it is anyone's guess.
Inside this Issue
💸 Commonwealth Fusion Systems Raises $1.8 Billion in Funding to Commercialize Fusion Energy
💰 Eni ready to spend more on nuclear fusion in green drive
🚀 Five Startups Selected to Participate in Shell Gamechanger Accelerator™ Powered by NREL
☀️ Amazon to Invest in 18 New Renewable Energy Projects
💨 JERA Americas Acquires El Sauz Wind Project in Texas from Apex Clean Energy
🪨 U.S. Geological Survey and Department of Energy Partner to Explore Potential for Geologic Carbon Storage
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