How Capital Is Flowing To The New Boundary of Nuclear Technology?
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How Capital Is Flowing To The New Boundary of Nuclear Technology?

By Energy CIO Insights | Thursday, October 15, 2020

Fusion requires heavy capital investment to develop the technology and infrastructure needed to deploy it, due to high technical requirements.

FREMONT, CA: Nuclear fusion could be considered the opposite of what nuclear power plants use today. Nowadays, fusion is done in experimental settings but still researchers are unsuccessful in creating positive energy from the whole process. They are coming up with different ideas, like the idea of Q to measure whether fusion energy can produce net-positive energy or not. Still fusion is going through technological and economic barriers.

Fusion requires capital and patience

Sun is powered by fusion, and it is considered as the fundamental source of all power in the solar system. It is necessary to create an equal high temperature and density to emulate the fusion process on Earth. It will also enable to confine plasma at 100 million to 150 million degrees Celsius for long-term reactions to occur. Confinement is especially crucial in keeping the system hot and dense for long enough to undergo the reaction. Due to heavy technical requirements, fusion requires massive capital investment to develop the technology and infrastructure needed to deploy it.

Fusion energy startups necessitate immense financial support to invest in equipment because machines for fusion research and experiments cost billions of dollars. According to reports, since 2002, nearly one billion dollars in total from venture capital has been invested in fusion, and every year new private fusion ventures are launching. The government is also supporting and investing in academic fusion research activities and private startups. Now, with greater brainpower and capital, the development of commercial fusion energy is expected to speed up.

Research continues

Researchers are still on their way to advance the technology. One of the large-scale projects is ITER; it is the world’s largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment and also an international research initiative on nuclear fusion. It is expected that the ITER reactor will obtain a tenfold return on energy that is 50 megawatts of input heating power will generate 500 megawatts of thermal output power. The first experiment is scheduled to take place in 2025.

Several startups are planning to partner with educational institutions and industry partners early to form long-term coalitions. The work together strategy will help in accelerating through the valley of death.

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