- Daily Zen
With Commonwealth Fusion Systems, nuclear fusion is about five years away.
U.S. clean energy startup, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), bagged an additional $84 million from investors in Europe and Asia. This money would help the Cambridge-based spin off deliver the fastest path to commercial fusion energy.
Singapore-based Temasek Holding PTE and Norway’s Equinor ASA were among the equity investors in CFS’s latest funding round.
According to Chief Executive Officer Bob Mumgaard, the now rich coffers would help build a headquarters and manufacturing facility. “We’re entering the next phase,” Mumgaard said. “It’s time to put down some roots, get us all under one roof, and build some hardware for the future fusion business line.”
Commonwealth Fusion Systems has a long list of competitors to bury. Most fusion energy companies are operating out of New York, the State of Washington, southern California, and elsewhere. It’s a new market but a tough one to crack.
More than $1.2 billion has poured into fusion energy startups, including U.K’s Tokamak Energy Ltd, TAE Technologies Inc. outside Los Angeles, and Canada’s General Fusion Inc.
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in the south of France is being build using public funding of $22 billion from over 35 countries. It expects to begin testing by 2025.
The world is moving towards a clean energy future. More investment is being poured into renewable energy companies and startups that make technologies like long-duration energy storage.
It’s not just private and public investors that are backing the fusion revolution. In October 2019, the U.K. announced its plans to develop a fusion power plant by 2024. It aims to be the first country to make commercially viable machine.
A significant development is pushed by government in Germany, Japan, Russia, and South Korea. With the help of resources, we’ll see an advanced fusion reactor pop up within the next five years in one of these countries.
As for the United States, it aims to develop fusion power plants for military purposes. Lockheed Martin is hard at work to create “compact fusion energy” capable of powering space vehicles, ships and aircrafts.
A nuclear fusion power plant could also help us power colonies on Mars and the Moon. NASA is developing a lightweight nuclear reactor that would one day advance space colonization. All in all, nuclear fusion is going to play a pivotal role in mankind’s transition to clean energy.
Commonwealth Fusion Systems was founded by researchers at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center in 2018. The initial monetary support came from MIT, including a $50 million investment from Italian energy company ENI. In the following years, CFS raised an additional $115 million investors including Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Khosla Ventures. It’s the only fusion startup to have the financial support of oil companies.