Lightning-In-A-Bottle: New Fusion Tech Gets US$160M Funding
Nuclear fusion start-up Zap Energy has completed a successful test on a prototype of its Z-pinch fusion technology. The company also raised US$160 million in Series C funding to further commercialize its technology.
Nuclear fusion, the energy process that powers the Sun, has the potential to provide unlimited sustainable and safe energy. Researchers have been developing fusion projects by generating high pressure and temperatures or using lasers. US-based Zap Energy is taking a different approach that has been called “lightning-in-a-bottle”.
Z-pinch technology is a type of plasma confinement system that “pinches” the plasma in a relatively short column by its own magnetic fields until it becomes hot and dense enough to produce nuclear fusion. Zap Energy reached a technical milestone by creating the first plasma in the company’s new prototype reactor named FuZE-Q. FuZE-Q is designed to surpass energy breakeven, which means the device can produce more energy than it consumes. The breakeven point could come “within a year”, according to a statement by Zap Energy.
Meanwhile, the company has also reached another milestone by closing a US$160 million Series C round. With the new funding, the company aims to bring its Z-pinch technology to market by producing garage-size small fusion reactors that could be used to power remote communities. They can also be combined to provide energy to cities.
“We can design, build and test systems at a much faster pace than other approaches, and we are working on technology in parallel that we are going to need on the other side of breakeven,” said Zap Energy President Benj Conway.
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