16 companies in Japan, including Mitsubishi Corp., Kansai Electric Power Co. and one government affiliated fund, are readying a $73.6 million investment in a startup working to commercialize fusion power.
Tokyo-based Kyoto Fusioneering was founded in 2019 by researchers from Kyoto University, according to Nikkei, who calls the company “the most successful startup in Japan working with fusion-related technology.”
The ultimate goal is to move toward implementing and developing fusion, which makes heat by combining hydrogen atoms to make helium. Fuels that can be used for fusion can be drawn from seawater and are “practically inexhaustible”, the report says.
This means that if fusion can be perfected, it could be a large step to moving the planet to a carbon-free future. The startup uses “plasma-heating equipment called gyrotrons” which help create nuclear fusion reactions.
Kyoto Fusioneering is seen as the world leader in the development of gyrotrons.
Nikkei notes that Mitsui & Co., J-Power, Inpex and 10 other companies, including MUFG Bank and JIC Venture Growth Investments, a government-affiliated fund have also all invested with the company.
Funds from the investment are going to be put toward “enabling stable operation of a fusion reactor”, with goals of having a small scale reactor built in Japan by 2024. The company also plans on bolstering its engineers and furthering testing on its gyrotrons to see if they can perform over extended periods.
The company hopes to be the first to commercialize such a process, the report says. Recall, the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in the U.S. said in 2022 that they had also succeeded in creating a fusion reaction that produced more energy than it consumed, the report says.
Even U.S. companies like Microsoft are already starting to secure contracts with fusion energy companies for power. Microsoft’s contract is with a company called Helion Energy and starts in 2028.
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