Chevron invests in Google-backed nuclear fusion group pursuing ‘perfect power’

Chevron has invested in a Google-backed nuclear fusion startup, TAE Technologies, in the latest sign of the growing interest in the energy technology’s potential to provide zero-emission safe power.

The U.S. oil company invested in TAE alongside Google and Japanese Sumitomo Corporation when it raised $ 250 million to fund the sixth generation of its melting pot in California, the company said Tuesday.

The prospect of atomic nuclear integration producing scientific power has been scientists for more than 60 years, but has only just begun to attract Significant private investment In the last decade, as efforts to limit global warming by reducing emissions have intensified.

Private fusion companies have raised at least $ 2.8 billion in the last 12 months, bringing the total private sector investment to date to $ 4.8 billion, according to a recent industry study published by the Fusion Industry Association last week.

Michal Binderbauer, CEO of TAE, said that the “caliber and interest” of investors is a testament to the progress the company has made from California.

TAE, founded in 1998, which employs about 400 workers, hopes to generate electricity by merging a hydrogen proton with boron. While most scientists agree that the isotope combination of hydrogen deuterium and tritium is the most viable way for commercial power, TAE argues that its approach, if successful, will provide an even more secure energy source.

The planet has potential reserves in abundance of deuterium, tritium, hydrogen and boron, but while tretium is a delicate radioactive, boron does not. It can also be easily excised, while tritium is extracted from lithium and then regenerated in the fusion reaction.

“There are so many benefits to being able to use boron as a fuel that we feel it’s really the way to perfect power,” Jim McNeil, TAE’s VP of marketing, told the Financial Times.

Unlike nuclear fission when atoms are split, none of the fusion reactions produce significant radioactive waste, making all the processes currently under development a potential source of safe, virtually limitless, carbon-free electricity. Fusion companies claim that a small glass of fuel can propel a home for centuries.

But while scientists have been fusing atomic nuclei since the 1950s, no group has been able to produce more energy from a fusion reaction than systems consume.

TAE says the main goal of its sixth-generation reactor is to achieve this result, a milestone known as net energy profit, with the aim of providing commercial power by 2030, earlier than many of its competitors.

“The first company to reach net energy will essentially dictate what the future of fusion will look like in the near term,” McNeil said, comparing it to “laying man on the moon” for the first time.

Chevron’s investment was made by its Technology Ventures unit, which also supported the Zap Energy fusion startup from Seattle. This brings the total funding raised by TAE to date to $ 1.2 billion and tracks similar gambles by other oil and gas companies seeking to diversify their energy portfolio and reduce their carbon emissions.

Italian Eni and Norwegian Equator both invested in Boston-based Commonwealth Fusion Systems, which Funders also include Tiger Global Management and Bill Gates.

“TAE – and fusion technology as a whole – has the potential to be a scalable source of carbon-free energy production and enable a key to network stability as renewable energy becomes a larger part of the energy mix,” said Chevron President Jim Gable. Technological ventures and vice president of innovation.

Chevron invests in Google-backed nuclear fusion group pursuing ‘perfect power’ Source link Chevron invests in Google-backed nuclear fusion group pursuing ‘perfect power’

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