General Fusion draws new investors amid efforts to commercialize

General Fusion plasma injector | submitted

What happened: General Fusion reveals backing from new investors

Why it matters: The company says the investments help secure its foothold in Asia in bid to make fusion power go mainstream

A B.C. company seeking to unlock fusion power on a commercial level is tapping financial support from investors with an eye on clean energy in Asia.

General Fusion revealed Wednesday (July 22) new backing from GIC, a sovereign wealth fund backed by Singapore’s government, as well as from a tech fund known as IBX.

The Burnaby-based company said the GIC and IBX funding is being complemented in this financing round by an undisclosed financial institution based in Asia.

Terms of the new financing were not disclosed but the company has so far publicly announced more than $260 million in funding from investors since its founding.

It most recently closed a US$65 million ($85 million) Series E funding round in December led by Singapore-based investment firm Temasek Holdings Private Limited.

“Collectively, these new investments solidify the company’s already strong support from Asia and represent a significant move by the company to address the growing fusion market opportunity in the region,” the company said in a statement, referring to the latest financial backing.

“They provide General Fusion partners with whom the company can collaborate to engage in Asian climate change and sustainability policy implementation, as well as energy market decarbonization initiatives.”

The company, which also secured a $50 million investment from Ottawa in 2018, is in the midst of pursuing plans to design, construct and operate its Fusion Demonstration Plant.

General Fusion wants the prototype plant to confirm that its technology can work in a power plant environment as it ramps up efforts to commercialize.

Fusion energy is produced when atoms are fused, kicking out neutrons, which then power a reaction that can generate heat.

Fusion is most often associated as a process that occurs in the sun.

Producing a fusion reaction on Earth first requires turning two elements — deuterium and tritium, which are both heavy hydrogen isotopes — into a plasma.

In 2017 General Fusion unveiled what it described as the world’s largest plasma injector.

The P13, as it’s called, is ten times more powerful than all the other iterations the company has experimented with in the past.

Unlike fission power, which uses highly radioactive uranium and produces long-lived radioactive waste, the radioactive residuals of fusion power would be short-lived, and there is no risk of runaway meltdowns.

General Fusion investors include Cleantech Practice of Business Development Bank of Canada, the DLF Group, Gimv, I2BF Global Ventures, Disruptive Technology Advisers, Hatch, Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, Bezos Expeditions, Khazanah Nasional Berhad, Braemar Energy Ventures, Entrepreneurs Fund and SET Ventures.

torton@biv.com

@reporton