Nuclear fusion is getting closer to the general public – .

Nuclear fusion is getting closer to the general public – .

“It’s hard to predict which of these will win, but there will be a lot of good R&D activity,” said Jonathan E. Menard, deputy director of research at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

The coming years, however, will require large increases in spending, according to merger executives. Tokamak Energy wants to build a pilot fusion machine at a cost of $ 1 billion using the powerful magnets it has developed that provide the pull of Earth’s gravity thousands of times. The device could be used as a base at the heart of power plants or for other commercial uses.

It’s not easy to persuade investors to go from single-digit million dollar commitments to the $ 50-100 million installments needed for another generation of prototypes.

“People always measure return on investment with the usual metrics,” such as a company’s revenue, said Michl Binderbauer, managing director of California-based TAE Technologies, which has raised about $ 900 million, the largest publicly identified amount of money. raised by the start-ups of the merger.

These pressures led Mr. Binderbauer to try to make a business out of some of the technologies that TAE developed on the merger route. A subsidiary of TAE is developing particle beam cancer treatments. Businesses, he said, are easier to sell for investors.

Fusion supporters, however, say a tipping point can happen when big investors rush to participate. “Once the money starts to be used, the sky is the limit,” said Mr. Harding, the founder of the hedge fund. “There aren’t a lot of merger projects in the world, but there are a lot of investors.


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