ImpactAlpha, April 19 – Well-funded startups around the globe are racing to commercialize nuclear fusion, which has the potential to generate large-scale, safe, emission-free energy using a process that mimics the sun.
EX-Fusion, founded by a trio of scientists, is hoping to put Japan on the fusion map. The Osaka-based startup will use the pre-seed funding of 130 million Japanese yen to develop crucial technology to generate a fusion reaction using high-powered lasers.
Japan lags in the fusion race, acknowledged Masahiro Sameshima of ANRI, a Tokyo-based venture firm that invested in EX-Fusion out of a new ESG fund. “We are determined to help refine EX-Fusion’s original technology and prove that we can compete on the world stage,” he added. Osaka University Venture Capital also invested.
A test by the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory last year employing lasers demonstrated the viability of the approach. Other fusion startups are using high-powered magnets, “sheared flow” technology and other approaches to sparking a fusion reaction.
The goal: to generate more power than the energy required to start the reaction, what’s known as ‘net-energy.’
Achieving that will requires huge sums of money. M.I.T. spin-off Commonwealth Fusion Systems hauled in $1.8 billion in December. Redmond, Wash.-based Helion raised $500 million in November.