Investment increases in global fusion industry

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Private funding and government grants have taken investment into fusion technology to over $4.8bn, according to a new report from the Fusion Industry Association (FIA).

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The Global Fusion Industry in 2022 is the second annual survey from the FIA, which is compiling a directory of fusion energy businesses and providing periodic updates on the sector. This year, 33 private companies developing commercial fusion took part, which is up from 23 in 2021. The survey reveals that $2.83bn in new funding has been made in the last year alone, which is a 139 per cent increase from last year’s report.

Six companies have now each raised over $200m in total, with notable investments in the last year including over $1.8bn for Commonwealth Fusion Systems and $500m for Helion Energy. Most of the total funding declared comes from private sources, while over $117m is made up of grants and other government funding.

Eight new fusion companies have entered the market in the last 12 months, and industrywide confidence is growing around market entry.

According to the survey, more than 93 per cent of the respondents believe fusion power will be on the grid by the 2030s, up from 83 per cent last year. A further 84 per cent think a fusion plant will demonstrate a low enough cost and high enough efficiency to be considered commercially viable in the same timeframe.

Electricity generation remains the primary market for 85 per cent of fusion players, followed by off grid energy or hydrogen and clean fuels (each named by 27 per cent of respondents).

In a statement, Andrew Holland, CEO of the Fusion Industry Association, said: “The results of this report show that fusion is on a pathway towards commercial relevance, at a time when the world desperately needs new clean energy options.

“We’ve seen too many reminders in the last year of why fusion investment is so important. In the fight against climate change, countries are still not meeting their pledged emissions reductions goals, while Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reminds us of the importance of energy security, as well as the ability of dictators to use their energy resources as a weapon against peaceful nations.”

Holland continued: “As we respond to these crises of today, fusion investments will help to secure peace for the long term, by removing our reliance on fossil fuels – and those who control them – once and for all. With investment accelerating, it is increasingly likely that commercial fusion will become a reality within the next two decades, providing the basis for prosperity, safety, and security, for many years to come.”