Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Helion Raises $500M to generate zero-carbon electricity from fusion

Helion Energy, an American fusion research company, has announced the close of its Series E raise of $500 million. The clean energy company is committed to creating a new era of plentiful, zero-carbon electricity from fusion.

The round funding was led by long-term investor Sam Altman, former president of Y Combinator and current CEO of OpenAI, who also serves as an executive chairman. Other investors include co-founder of Facebook Dustin Moskovitz, Peter Thiel’s Mithril Capital, and notable sustainable tech investor Capricorn Investment Group also participated in the round. The funding includes the opportunity for an additional $1.7 billion dollars tied to Helion reaching key performance milestones.

The raised funds will be used to complete the construction of Polaris, Helion’s seventh-generation fusion generator. Building on the achievements of Helion’s pulsed non-ignition fusion technology and the performance of its six predecessors, Polaris is expected to be the first fusion device capable of demonstrating net electricity production. Helion plans to reach this milestone in 2024, paving the way for future fusion power plants.

Polaris expands on the impressive achievements of the sixth-generation Trenta prototype, built-in 2020. The Trenta has recently completed more than 10,000 high-power pulses and has run almost every day for more than 16 months. It has become the first private fusion company to heat a fusion plasma to 100 million degrees Celsius, a critical milestone on the path to commercial electricity from fusion.

The current generation of the company’s tech wouldn’t be able to replace your Tesla Powerwall and solar panels, but at 50 megawatts, the generators could power around 40,000 homes. The technology could also open some really interesting opportunities for distributed power grids.

“This funding ensures that Helion will be the first organization to generate electricity from fusion,” said Dr. David Kirtley, Founder, and CEO of Helion Energy. “Our 6th prototype demonstrated that we can reach this pivotal milestone. In just a few years, we will show that the world can count on fusion to be the zero-carbon energy source that we desperately need.”