We are pleased to present our portfolio investments for our first two years. Nucleation fund subscribers participate pro-rata in the investments that we make for the quarters to which they have subscribed. We accept new subscribers on a rolling basis, so new subscribers participate in deals going forward, not in the deals that have closed in past quarters. Please view the below list as illustriative of the types of ventures we invest in. Fund investors get a pro rata allocation into each of our deals. Investors who have joined our pro-nuclear investor network will be notified about occasional opportunities to participate in our syndicated offerings.
Q2 2023 Investment #2: Blykalla (Formerly LeadCold)
We are pleased to announce our investment into Blykalla (formerly called LeadCold), a Swedish developer of the Sealer series of lead-cooled advanced small modular reactors (SMRs). Blykalla’s team comes out of Sweden’s university system and its design is based on 25+ years of deep research and development, which they are now taking to market. Blykalla’s Sealer design is expected to work in tandem with and complement intermittent energy sources, providing the baseload energy necessary to effect a full transition to a fossil free future while retaining access to reliable power.
Commencing in October of last year, Sweden’s newly elected coalition government set the stage for accelerating Blykalla’s ability to commercialize its design by adopting a pronuclear policy and switching from a focus on “100% renewables” to a “100% fossil-free” stance, while recognizing that decarbonization would increase electricity demand by at least two times. The new coalition government further decided to create the conditions to accelerate the permitting and construction of new nuclear power plants, including for SMRs, and remove former restrictions on the total number and siting of new plants.
All of which improve the prospects for Blykalla, Sweden’s only advanced nuclear venture and one that will benefit from these policy and regulatory changes. Recently, in the lead up to COP 28 at the end of November, Sweden announced plans for a “massive” expansion of nuclear energy, envisioning building as many of 12 new large-scale reactors by 2045 and authorizing supportive financing through government credit guarantees for nuclear construction.
Sweden has also emerged as a leading nation working to increase the share of energy it gets from nuclear power and joining the US as part of President Biden’s push to build a coalition of nations committing to tripling the world’s nuclear power. Sweden joins the US, the United Kingdom, France, Romania, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, South Korea, Poland, Ghana and Morocco in making this pledge at COP 28 in Dubai. More members are expected to join.
Nucleation has followed Blykalla’s progress since before we were Nucleation and we have been extremely impressed with the expertise and progress this team has made. Blykalla has chosen to create a breeder reactor, which will produce more fissile material than is used in the reactor, reduce fuel costs and capex and prove that, in fact, nuclear power is a “renewable” energy source. This power plant will also be well-suited for use with a wide range of climate-critical industrial applications, such as the production of green hydrogen or biofuels, as it will generate high-quality, industrial grade steam of 530 degrees C, which makes hydrogen production cost-effective.
Q1 2023 Investment #1: NuclearN
We are pleased to announce our investment into NuclearN.ai, a leading provider of AI process automation solutions for the nuclear industry. NuclearN has already made a splash in the nuclear industry, having developed and licensed cost-saving AI products that have been tested and deployed to 33 operating reactors.
News of NuclearN’s seed round of $2.5M was announced on August 9th at the Utility Working Conference and Vendor Technology Expo (UWC 2023) where NuclearN was exhibiting and meeting with prospective customers. The financing round was led by AZ-VC, Arizona’s largest venture fund, founded by former PayPal executive, Jack Selby, which is focused on funding innovative, growing ventures working in Arizona. Nucleation Capital, the only other investor in the round, is focused on innovation in the nuclear sector, so together these two investors provide excellent alignment with NuclearN’s mission.
NuclearN is pioneering the use of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the nuclear industry, as the first fully independent venture that is building a nuclear utility-specific AI capability using machine learning trained specifically for nuclear power by an industry team. NuclearN’s founders, Jerrold Vincent and Bradley Fox, were both working at the Arizona Public Service (APS) Palo Verde (PV) Nuclear Power Plant, when they realized that much of the technical tracking and reporting work they were engaged in could be done much more easily using AI. By the time they were ready to launch Nuclearn, they had signed multiple deals including a 3-year commercial contract. Shortly afterwards they established pilot & demonstration partnerships with several utilities, including APS/PV.
Nuclear power is one of the most stringently regulated industries and nuclear power plants must track and report on nearly everything, from routine operations to emergency issues, with a degree of thoroughness, expertise and accuracy that is unparalleled anywhere else. Operating and maintaining the existing fleet of nuclear power plants (NPPs) requires thousands of workers, all of which require extensive training. Every year, there are thousands of routine inspections performed, many of which require repetitive decisions and boilerplate responses. Then, if and when an inspection finds a part defect or damage, addressing that requires accessing infrequently used but very detailed corrective action work plans. The NRC reviews and inspects each plant every year and requires annual reports of different kinds. There is a considerable body of prior work and experience that can be deployed with the proper tools to make future planning and corrective processes more efficient, streamlined and cost-effective. These types of domain-specific issues are ideal for the application of generative artificial intelligence as a way to reduce costs and improve performance.
While selling to nuclear utilities is extremely difficult and requires conformance with extraordinary security restrictions, including not connecting to Internet or cloud services, once in the door with a single viable product, the ability to add to the existing service with additional product modules, add user seats and deploy to additional plants becomes easier. Nuclearn’s deep expertise with nuclear terminology, protocols, safety and workflows is already automating and accelerating knowledge-based processes, including training, rapid issue definition and task prioritization of nuclear-specific jargon (i.e. a phrase like “a CNSC Type II inspection noted that an AIM-A section 4 impairment (under TPAR 21249) introduced the shutdown cooling system condition for ROH 63310-T1S/R, T2S/R, T3S/R or T4S/R.”) NuclearN’s initial issue screening AI module has, according to early reports, enabled knowledge workers performing issue screening to be 300% more productive.
We believe NuclearN is well positioned to leverage its new injection of seed capital to address a broadening set of operational needs that exist within the nuclear industry, add new nuclear utility customers and prepare to provide AI support for the needs of new Gen III and Gen IV power plants, both domestic and international. We are extremely excited about their growth potential, the benefits that they can provide to a growing industry aiming to decrease costs while improving performance, and the future support that their experience can lend to the rapid deployment of cost-reduced advanced designs.
Q1 2023 Investment: Planetary Technologies
We are pleased to announce our investment into Planetary Technolologies, our first investment in the growing carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) space. CCUS is the other side of our deep decarbonization climate thesis and refers to a broad range of technologies and approaches which aim to remove the excess carbon that has already been emitted and prevent it, by treating it in various ways, from acting as the primary driver of global warming.
Planetary Technologies (Planetary) is one of 15 initial Musk Foundation XPRIZE Carbon Removal Milestone Award winners and is developing an effective carbon removal technology that utilizes ocean alkalinity enhancement (OAE). Their innovative solution uses treated mine waste to extract and source a special alkaline material (think antacid), that can then be used to safely and effectively bind with dissolved CO2 in the ocean and mineralize it, allowing it to settle to the bottom of the ocean.
Because their process binds with dissolved CO2, they are de-acidifying the ocean, which makes it healthier for local marine life, and they are remediating, reducing and bringing value to mining waste.
Planetary was one of only fifteen ventures (out of more than 1,100 applicants) awarded a $1 million prize by the XPRIZE’s panel of over 70 expert judges. This means they also have a shot at the $50M first prize award, which will be determined and awarded in 2024.
Nucleation’s investment in Planetary marks our first foray into the carbon capture market. While capturing and sequestering carbon is widely believed to be a necessary component of restoring the climate and preventing excess emissions from heating the planet beyond recognition, the question is, who will pay for this? Most approaches have just a broader “commons” value, so must rely on carbon credits to be viable. Planetary is an exception to this rule, as their process generates value in itself, both through their recovery of valuable minerals, the production of hydrogen as a by-product and in their supply of their antacid, which is in growing demand.
At this time, fortunately, a consortium of corporate tech funders are incentivizing development of better, more effective CCUS solutions by offering to purchase captured carbon at very large premiums (what Bill Gates has called the “green premium.) Planetary and other developers are paid to reduce carbon in early stages of their development process through a carbon purchase agreement, which is effectively non-dilutive funding in the form of revenue to Planetary.
Planetary is benefiting from the availability of this exceptional funding source to develop its technologies and mature its capabilities. It is anticipated that Planetary will eventually be able to generate revenues that can offset its costs and future declines in carbon prices through its mining enterprises, and its ability to separate out trace metals such as nickel, cobalt, copper, uranium, gold, and other materials as by-products of its extraction of its antacid, magnesium hydroxide. Note: Because this chemical processing approach will require large amounts of energy, we see Planetary (and its partner mining sites) as potential customers for the types of micro-reactors that we are separately funding.
See this NBC Today Show video titled How Scientists Harness The Ocean’s Power To Fight Climate Change showcasing Planetary’s approach (5:00 mins).
Planetary’s technology is able to use chemistry to capture carbon from ocean water, completely avoiding the need to utilize expensive capital equipment to capture CO2 and filter it out of the air. Additionally, they have developed a methodology to deliver their antacid to the ocean using existing infrastructure, such as waste treatment and power plants, which already have built circulation assets that will serve the purpose. Their method of “storage” for the CO2 they capture is the vast depths of the ocean, where nature has long sent such mineralized molecules, if on a vastly slower timescale. This smartly limits Planetary’s costs to just a few areas of activity, which may end up making them one of the most efficient and cost-effective CCUS solutions being developed.
Planetary’s alkaline material chemically combines with CO2 already in the ocean to neutralize it. The process reduces the ocean CO2 concentration, which mitigates ocean acidification. The lowered ocean CO2 level then draws more CO2 out of the atmosphere in a natural equilibrium-seeking process between oceanic and atmospheric CO2 levels. Thus, the benefits of the Planetary process will work continuously in direct proportion to the addition of material.
Planetary is developing its own proprietary electrochemical treatment of the “raw materials” found in mine waste techology together with a set of very sophisticated but easy-to-use methodologies and digital tools that will enable the monitoring and measuring of results. As an early-stage company, these pieces are still in development and the final processes and methods may still take a few years to perfect. Ultimately, they will be able to scale their process through both direct deployments and through licensing activities to regions around the world, to support a rapid expansion of this carbon dioxide removal and storage process at the gigaton scale. Thus, anywhere with existing waste treatment or power plants located near the ocean which discharge effluents or using ocean water circulation (including nuclear power plants) can then be engaged to add the antacid to their outflow pipes, at negligible additional costs, delivering the antacid into the ocean and monitoring their results.
Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement (OAE) is already viewed as a leader in the category of marine carbon dioxide removal (mCDR). The U.S. Government recently released its first Ocean Climate Action Plan, announcing its intention to support a substantial ramp in investments directly related to OAE and other forms of marine CDR.
On its current trajectory, Planetary plans to have cumulatively removed approximately 2 million metric tons of CO2 by 2030 and will continue to scale. Successfully licensing other installations will offer the potential to dramatically generate revenues and increase that carbon removal rate. Key competitive features include;
- Aiming to achieve carbon capture AND sequestration for a cost of $94 per ton without considering the value of any co-products. (For comparison, leading direct air capture technologies current cost over $600/ton and have a target cost of ~$150 / ton for CO2 capture and storage.
- Low cost, robust and proprietary methodology for Measuring, Reporting and Verification (MRV), which enables credible sales of CO2 removal credits. Version 1.0 has been accepted by a catalytic technology purchaser (Shopify) in consultation with Carbon Direct. The MRV continues to be refined with expanded and will be automated with the use of marine sensors.
- Has regulatory approval for its current planned tests and has been engaging in outreach and proactive community engagement at sites in Nova Scotia and the UK. Proactive community engagement is a strong value of the company, which seeks to initiate and engage in dialogue with all community stakeholders. The company is cutting its teeth in the development and refinement of this process.
- Enables cooperative partnering and revenue sharing with owners of existing facilities that continuously discharge large volumes of water into the ocean. Planetary has existing partnerships and is expanding them.
- Enables partnering with mining sites to help remediate sites, neutralize toxic materials and recover valuable materials that otherwise would be wasted.
- Has been awarded $6M in grants with a near term pipeline of $7M additional grants. Its research partners, such as Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, have received $12M in grants directly associated with Planetary’s projects.
Planetary Technologies has a world class, multidisciplinary leadership team that includes:
Mike Kelland (CEO and founder) – 20-year entrepreneur with successful exits. Software engineering leader who sold his previous company, BoldRadius, a top Oracle partner in Canada, to Lightbend. Consulted with Fortune 100 companies and is a trusted advisor to a number of startups in the Ottawa community.
Dr. Greg Rau, PhD (Chief Technical Officer and founder) – Renowned ocean carbon researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences at U.C. Santa Cruz, and one of the world’s experts on ocean carbon cycles and biogeochemistry.
Alex Mezei, PEng (Director of Metallurgy) has had a 40 year long career as a hydro metallurgist.
We are very excited about this extremely strategically-smart, efficient and leverable approach to CCUS and believe that this team has both the technical and managerial capabilities to succeed on a very large scale.
Planetary has approached their work with scientific rigor, deep technical expertise, and a commitment to community engagement. Their approach will actually de-acidify the water and improve its health for organisms in the vicinity of the process. Nevertheless, carbon capture technology is not well-understood by the public and, like many advanced technologies, can be misconstrued. Thus, it was not surprising to us when Planetary has found itself and their planned summer test in Cornwall, UK suddenly receiving negative local press and protests.
Those of us with knowledge of nuclear’s history, recognize the importance of community engagement and not under-estimating the challenge of explaining advanced technologies to the public. Before our deal had closed, we received a message from CEO Mike Kelland with a candid message and recognition of both their missteps and the lessons to take forward. We believe Kelland has the experience to address the concerns posed by this community and become a stronger team as a result, whether or not they ultimately can proceed with their planned test at this specific location.
Samples of recent press
Q4 2022 Investment: Copenhagen Atomics
We are pleased to announce our Q4-2022 investment in Copenhagen Atomics (CA), an innovative Danish company that is designing the “Waste Burner,” a passively safe, molten salt reactor heat source that generates power from a combination of nuclear waste and thorium. Thorium (Th) is a highly-energetic, slightly radioactive, fertile but non-fissile metallic element that has long been deemed a useless waste material. It is about four times as abundant as uranium and frequently mixed in with uranium and other valuable minerals, that then must be separated out as a waste by-product of mining with special handling and storage requirements due to its radioactivity.
About Copenhagen Atomics
Copenhagen Atomics is creating a simple, flexible power source that, because of its ability to use thorium and other types of nuclear waste, has a virtually unlimited source of fuel and nuclear “breeder” process that produces 100x less waste. The 100 megawatt-thermal (MWth) fission heat source will be factory-built and fit into a standard 40-ft shipping container or containers to be transported to destinations via ships, trains, or trucks. Led by a team of visionary founders—Thomas Jam Petersen, Thomas Steenberg, Peter Szabo and Aslak Stubsgaard—CA sees its Waste Burner as a modular building block that can be used singly or combined to create a larger power plant.
Several factors separate CA’s product from other advanced reactor designs:
- Thermal breeding Using fissile isotopes, including plutonium, sourced from spent nuclear fuel or retired weapons as the starter material, CA’s thorium molten salt reactors can breed more fissile fuel than they consume. Unlike most other breeder reactor concepts, CA’s reactors operate in a thermal neutron spectrum, substantially reducing the initial amount of fissile material needed to create a critical mass.
- Heavy water moderation CA’s reactors use low-pressure heavy water as the neutron moderator, a key differentiator with other thermal molten salt reactors. This increases the life of the reactor by avoiding damage from neutrons that, for example, can impact graphite.
- Mass production Copenhagen Atomics plans to mass produce thorium molten salt reactors in shipping container-sized units. They will use assembly line production to reduce costs and schedules and make emission-free nuclear energy competitive. The mid-term production goal is one heat source unit manufactured per day.
- Intrinsically safe CA’s Waste Burner is designed to be safe with fuel that is already liquid and therefore cannot “melt down.” Its systems operate near atmospheric pressure; there are no pressurized forces that could distribute hazardous substances in the event of a leak. If fuel leaks, it cools, solidifies, and retains radioactive materials.
- Building and testing Using their strategy of building and testing, Copenhagen Atomics has been able to manage past challenges regarding corrosion, durability, components, and materials. In parallel, they are also developing reactor simulations that are shared within the industry as open-source software.
Copenhagen Atomics’ Waste Burners will be able to meet the diverse needs of a range of customers and markets:
- Clean Energy The need for reliable, affordable, abundant, and clean energy in the form of useful heat is enormous. Products in the market today are deficient in at least one of the listed characteristics. The Waste Burner is designed to achieve all characteristics.
- Plutonium Disposal CA’s system is especially well-suited for beneficial use of plutonium, a highly energetic material widely considered to be a costly burden. For example, the UK’s current inventory of 140 tons of recovered Pu from fuel recycling could be used to create 30 GWh of electricity with a wholesale value of £780B.
- Used fuel recycling CA’s heat sources take full advantage of the remaining energy content of used fuel while more completely converting transuranic isotopes into energy and short-lived fission products. They help close the fuel cycle.
- Thorium use Thorium is a slightly radioactive by-product of rare earth metal production that is conventionally treated as a waste product requiring expensive, specialized disposal. Copenhagen turns this waste product into a valuable source of clean energy
- Clean transportation fuels Aviation, long-distance trucking, and small ships are considered “hard to decarbonize.” Copenhagen Atomics heat sources are well suited to be deployed at industrial sites for the heat to be used for low-cost and “green” synthetic hydrocarbon, hydrogen or ammonia production.
- A growing portfolio of issued patents that protect key aspects of the design with more under review.
- Completed construction of an electrically heated prototype using an early version of target salt. This electrically heated device operates at the temperature and pressure of the commercial unit and will allow thorough testing of materials and components.
- Continuous testing of materials, heat exchangers, and sealed pumps to improve component reliability.
- Actively selling a range of molten salt parts and components into the growing molten salt market, which includes both other reactor developers and molten salt battery/energy storage developers.
- Copenhagen Atomics applied to enter into the UK’s Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process in late 2022.
Copenhagen Atomics has demonstrated the ability to creatively address many of the fundamental material and chemical challenges that have slowed the adoption of molten salt reactor technologies. Their Waste Burner can make important, differentiated contributions towards the solution to some of humanity’s most wicked problems.
In a Jan. 6, 2023 article in Silicon Canals entitled “Copenhagen Secures €20M to advance thorium nuclear plant: Know more,” Vishal Singh reports that Copenhagen Atomics secured a financing round of €20M to advance its thorium nuclear plant.
Copenhagen Atomics puts forward SMR design for UK appraisal, January 5, 2023
Copenhagen’s UK subsidiary, UK Atomics, submitted a Generic Design Assessment (GDA) application for its small modular thorium molten salt reactor. As reported by World Nuclear News, the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and the Environment Agency (EA) assess the safety, security and environmental protection of any nuclear power design that seeks to be deployed in Great Britain. In May, 2021, this process was first opened up to advanced nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors.
UK Atomics has now applied to be allowed to be put through the GDA process for its “Waste Burner” SMR, a thorium-based thermal breeder design with an output of 100 MW thermal, following Rolls-Royce, which submitted a GDA application for its SMR in March 2022 and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, which submitted a GDA application for its BWRX-300 in December.
El Salvador Sets Sights on Joining the “Nuclear Power Club” March 20, 2023
As reported by Power Magazine, El Salvador is taking steps not only to build nuclear power but to leapfrog directly to one of the most promising advanced technologies, that of a thorium-based molten salt reactor. The government recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Thorium Energy Alliance, a US-based non-profit, to develop a strategic plan for the deployment of thorium-powered energy generation and storage systems. While this announcement and agreement does not reference Copenhagen, it does show that there is interest developing for these advanced, cutting-edge technologies.
As reported by Indian Chemical News, Topsoe plans to set up an ammonia production facility in Indonesia, to produce fertilizer. The project will combine Topsoe’s ammonia synthesis technology, using its advanced electrolysis cells, and power systems from Copenhagen Atomics, to generate reliable carbon-free energy. It is estimated the the plant will save as much as 1.7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, compared to a standard natural gas-powered fertilizer production plant.
Copenhagen’s Co-founder takes the Tech-stage at TechBBQ in Copenhagen, Denmark to deliver a keynote speech September 22, 2023
Thomas gives a brief introduction to the Copenhagen Atomics thorium molten salt reactor, the “Waste Burner,” and he shares technical details on how they are able to achieve a low price point on delivering abundant and affordable clean energy from thorium and nuclear waste.
Nucleation Capital will invest in Focused Energy’s Seed Round
[The following is a pre-close announcement summary.]
Focused Energy’s fusion strategy is based on the same approach taken by the National Ignition Facility (NIF), which has just achieved the first-ever reported 2.5MJ – 3.15MJ reading, a 120-154% net-positive energy result in a test conducted in early December 2022. This same NIF group achieved a fusion record yield of 1.3MJ, a 70% fusion energy gain factor, in a demonstration of burning plasma in August 2021 which was called the NIF shot “heard around the world.”
NIF’s achievements have brought the high-water mark for laser-driven fusion above those achieved by magnetic fusion, which firmly establishes laser-driven fusion as one of two potentially viable fusion paths. This recent achievement was the result of nearly $5 billion in government funding over the last several decade, first to build the National Ignition Facility and then to conduct tests for the last decade. Focused Energy, whose team includes many experts who have participated in the NIF work, is leap-frogging and extending NIF’s achievements with a plan to boost that performance with an improved fuel target and far more powerful and proprietary lasers.
Focused Energy’s “secret weapon” is the team’s unparalleled commercial laser expertise. Their development plan focuses on a development pathway and expanded production of advanced, high-powered diode lasers that sequentially boost the power and frequency with which they hit their improved targets, to achieve net energy. Meanwhile, the advanced lasers, which the team will commercialize, will provide revenue opportunities in the non-destructive imaging marketplace.
Focused Energy was founded by Todd Ditmire and Markus Roth, both physics professors who are experts in extremely high-powered lasers.
Dr. Todd Ditmire is a Professor of Physics at the University of Texas at Austin, who holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics and is a director of the Center for High Intensity Laser Science and a member of the DOE’s LaserNetUS network, who serves as Chief Technology Officer. He is also the CEO and founder of National Energetics Inc., a 13-year old company that designs and builds custom high-powered lasers for research and defense. He has spent his career specializing in research on ultra-high peak power lasers and high-energy density plasmas.
Dr. Marcus Roth is a professor in laser and plasma physics in Germany at TU Darmstadt, who did his postdoc work at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab and has a thirty-year career working in laser/plasma interaction. He is serving as Focused Energy’s Chief Science Officer.
Pravesh Patel, who serves as Scientific Director for Focused Energy, earned his doctoral in Physics from the University of Oxford and brings 23 years of experience as a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Lab working on the National Ignition Facility.
- Successor to NIF: Focused Energy’s fusion technology builds on the success of the US National Ignition Facility (NIF), which produced a burning plasma in Aug 2021,* and benefits from having recruited key talent from the NIF team.
- Blends leading laser + fusion experts. Focused Energy has assembled a rockstar technical team (including key scientists from NIF), in Austin, TX and Darmstadt, Germany, in addition to partnerships with leading industry players and research labs.
- Development pathway will produce commercially-valuable lasers. Focused Energy founders bring decades of experience developing, commercializing and selling state-of-the-art lasers into a wide range of commercial applications. They have a signed MOU with Leonardo Electronics US for collaboration on design and supply of highly advanced diode pumped lasers, for use in fusion and LDRSs.
- Interim revenues will help fund future development. Unlike other fusion ventures, Focused Energy’s laser development will produce a highly desirable laser-driven radiation source (LDRS) that can be marketed into multi-B markets to provide non-destructive material testing, which will enable them generate serious revenue within 3 to 5 years, to help support their continued fusion development.
- The NDT market is enormous. Focused is already in discussion with potential customers for its advanced proton lasers. This laser will be able to provide identification of the contents and condition of materials in sealed containers or enclosed objects, whether locked shipping containers, dry casks containing nuclear waste, reactors containing molten salts, or the interior of structural components like bridge spans or pre-fabricated construction materials.
Press Related to the Milestone Set by NIF
Scientists Achieve Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough with Blast of 192 Lasers New York Times, by Kenneth Chang, Dec. 13, 2022.
Nuclear fusion lab achieves ‘ignition’: What does it mean? Nature, by Jeff Tollefson and Elizabeth Gibney, Dec. 13, 2022.
We have ‘ignition’: Fusion breakthrough draws energy gain, NBC News, by Evan Bush and Josh Lederman, Dec. 13, 2022
U.S. to announce fusion energy “breakthrough” The Washington Post., by Evan Halper and Pranshu Verma, Dec. 11, 2022,
US scientists boost clean power hopes with fusion energy breakthrough, by Tom Wilson, Financial Times, Dec. 11, 2022.
Focused Energy Awarded Two DOE Grants
DOE Grants Funding to 10 Private-Public Fusion Energy Research Projects, January 18, 2023.
The Department of Energy (DOE) is funding 10 private-public partnership projects to help push fusion energy development forward. These grants, issued through the DOE Office of Science’s Innovation Network for Fusion Energy program, are one or two-year awards worth between $50,000 and $500,000, and Focused Energy will receive $400,000 total across two projects. They will team up with Scandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories on these projects. Other fusion companies receiving awards include General Atomics, Tokamak, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Energy Driven Technologies, Princeton Stellarators, and Type One Energy.
The initiative comes a month after researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory achieved the first fusion ignition in a laboratory setting.
“We were elated when the team at Livermore delivered the news that they had achieved fusion ignition, and we knew that was just the beginning,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said. “The companies and DOE scientists will build on advances from the National Labs with the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector to advance our understanding of fusion.”
Focused Energy to receive large risk reduction grant from SPRIN-D
The supervisory board of SPRIN-D, the German Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovations, self-described as the “home for radical new thinkers,” approved EUR 90 million to develop the infrastructure for energy generation through laser-driven fusion. To achieve this goal, they authorized the creation of a vehicle called Pulsed Light Technologies which will allocate the funds. Focused Energy R&D, based in Darmstadt, Germany and Marvel Fusion, based in Munich, were selected to split the award, with each receiving EUR 45 million in non-dilutive funding over the next five years.
Pulsed Light Technologies will fund work on topics that are imperative for fusion but are not core development and core IP of those start-ups aiming at a fusion power plant. The planned infrastructure topics primarily include the laser systems, but also necessary diagnostics, optics and central robotic and mechatronic elements, such as aspects of a target injector. Additionally the provision of quantum or other advanced computing solutions for complex and expensive plasma simulations may be further developed.
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To learn more about this award, see: SPRIND schafft Infrastruktur für lasergetriebene Fusion, which is in German or our English Google translation of this article here.
Focused Energy and Oxford Sigma accelerate power station designs for fusion energy with long-term strategic collaboration
August 7, 2023
Oxford Sigma and Focused Energy have signed a long-term strategic collaboration focused on accelerating the design and development of their inertial-confinement fusion power station device for commercial, carbon-free, energy production.
Focused Energy has developed a revolutionary direct-drive proton fast ignition technology for inertial confinement fusion energy. As a fusion technology company, Oxford Sigma works on the development of fusion materials and in-vessel component design to ensure long-term and safe operation of fusion power plants. Oxford Sigma will be developing the power station design and management schemes with Focused Energy in order to accelerate the deployment of this world-changing technology.
Focused Energy is a fusion energy company based in the USA and Germany with strong academic background, underpinning the simple, yet flexible approach to inertial fusion energy. Their technology builds on the same principles as the breakthroughs discovered at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), where the world’s first fusion energy multiplication was achieved through laser driven D-T fusion. Focused Energy’s novel direct-drive proton fast-ignition technology takes this technology to commercially relevant regimes, with the ability to effectively inject huge amounts of laser energy directly into a fusion target, combined with an extensive research program on the laser technology and pulsed power technology development.
Oxford Sigma is a fusion technology company, founded by fusion materials and engineering experts, with the mission to deliver materials technology and design solutions to accelerate the commercialisation of fusion energy. Based in Oxfordshire, UK, the company’s team are world experts in fusion materials and fusion design, with access to experimental faculties to accelerate fusion power station technology.
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To learn more about this collaboration, see the August 7, 2023 press announcement here.