German startup gets first investment To scale up a strange, twisted-looking fusion machine capable of powering the world with abundant, clean, limitless energy.
Proxima Fusion rises A device known as the Stellarator, a little-known fusion reactor, has been funded with €7 million to build and could be the key to a fusion reactor. unlock There is a possibility that the power of nuclear fusion will be born while we are alive.
The initial funding round was modest, but notable as the startup is the first spin-out from Germany’s esteemed Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics.
The institute is dedicated exclusively to fusion research and has the world’s largest stellar system. Called the Wendelstein 7-X, the machine is the result of 27 years of research and design (and a €1.3 billion investment), fueled by recent advances in supercomputing and state-of-the-art plasma theory.
The physics behind this machine is very complex, but the point is that Stellarator has a lot of potential to replace the more popular donut-shaped tokamak, a design that has dominated the fusion field for decades. It means that it brings great benefits.
Twisted structure of superconducting magnet Stellarator It helps keep the superheated plasma it contains stable enough to fuse nuclei and release energy. More importantly for future fusion power plants, continuous operation is theoretically possible, whereas the tokamak would need periodic shutdowns to reset the magnetic coils.
However, Stellarator was notoriously complex to design and manufacture, which largely shelved in the 1960s in favor of its simpler cousin the tokamak.
“A tokamak is easy to design but hard to operate, while a Stellarator is very difficult to design, but once designed it is much easier to operate.” €7 million investment, Said Financial Times.
Since then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel introduced the W7-X in 2016, the W7-X has achieved a number of scientific advances that “fundamentally define the entire field of magnetic confinement fusion,” Hogarth said. said.
Eindhoven University of Technology’s fusion physicist Josephine Prol is similarly excited. “Suddenly, Stellarator is back in the game,” she said. Said.
Proxima Fusion aims to commercialize these developments, backed by an initial investment. The company’s CEO Francesco Siortino believes the startup’s link to the Max Planck Institute, where more people are working on plasma physics than MIT, offers a unique advantage. . “The question is can we perform in the same way and really be European champions?” he asked.
Private investment has been pouring into tokamak pioneers (such as the MIT spinout CFS, which is valued at more than $2 billion), but recent advances in Stellarator technology could pave the way for new fusion fields. There is startup like Proxima.
Type One is a spin-off from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is Proxima’s sole competitor so far. Raised Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Ventures paid $29 million in March to develop a commercially viable Stellarator.
While Stellarator’s startup scene is booming, Thomas Klinger, head of the Max Planck Institute Greifswald branch, said it could still take 25 years to become a commercially viable business. warned.
But if this technology can deliver on the promise of limitless clean energy, it’s probably worth the wait.
If you’re like me and want to learn a little more about Stellarator technology, check out this fascinating commentary from the Max Planck Institute.
https://thenextweb.com/news/german-startup-fusion-stellarator German Startup Secures Funding for Weird Twisted Fusion Machine