Bezos-Backed Fusion Startup Raises $100 Million for Demo System

Will Wade and Jonathan Tirone

December 16, 2019

PI3 Plasma Injector at General Fusion. Source: General Fusion

PI3 Plasma Injector at General Fusion. Source: General Fusion

  • General Fusion seeks to commercialize clean-energy technology
  • Fusion systems produce electricity using same process as stars

A nuclear fusion start-up backed by billionaire Jeff Bezos raised more than $100 million to help design and build a demonstration power plant.

The company lined up $65 million in Series E financing led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte, and is getting another $38 million from Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, General Fusion Inc. said in a statement Monday. It’s now attracted more than $200 million in financing.

Canada-based General Fusion is one of about two dozen companies seeking to commercialize nuclear fusion technology. It relies on the same process that powers stars, generating huge amounts of energy by fusing small atoms into larger ones. While it holds out the promise of cheap, carbon-free energy, researchers have been working for decades to overcome significant technical hurdles.

“The world is pivoting toward fusion as the necessary complement to other technologies which, collectively, will enable the carbon-free energy future we all need,” Chief Executive Officer Christofer Mowry said in the statement.

Firms pursuing such designs are hoping they can start generating power sooner than the 35-nation, $25 billion Tokamak fusion reactor known as ITER. Collaborators on that facility -- the largest research project in history -- have been laboring on a gigantic demonstration reactor in France since 2010.

Conventional nuclear power plants use a different technology, fission, which generates energy as a large, unstable nucleus is split into smaller elements. Unlike fusion systems, they also produce deadly, radioactive waste.

The financing round was led by Temasek, and joined by existing investors including Bezos Expeditions and Chrysalix Venture Capital.