Google, Chevron back a $250 million investment in nuclear fusion startup TAE Technologies to generate unlimited carbon-free energy
Google and Chevron have joined a $250 million funding TAE Technologies, a nuclear fusion startup developing commercial fusion power to generate unlimited carbon-free energy, the company announced today. The latest round brings the total raised by TAE Technologies to $1.2 billion, making the startup a member of the highly-coveted unicorn club.
Unlike conventional nuclear power that uses nuclear fission which involves the splitting of a large unstable nucleus into smaller elements and generates long-lived radioactive waste, TAE Technologies is taking an unconventional approach to generating carbon-free energy using nuclear fusion, a process that releases large amounts of energy with no greenhouse gas emissions and limited long-lived radioactive waste.
Nuclear fusion occurs when nuclei of lightweight elements (typically hydrogen) collide with enough force to fuse and form a heavier element – a process that releases substantial amounts of energy with no greenhouse gas emissions and limited long-lived radioactive waste.
Founded in 1998 with the goal of building a “commercial fusion power source that is compact, cost-effective, capable of sustaining the planet for centuries, and safe in every way,” the company said on its website. TAE said it aims to build commercial-scale fusion reactors and deliver energy to the grid in the early 2030s.
“The caliber and interest of our investors validates our significant technical progress and supports our goal to begin commercialization of fusion by the end of this decade,” said Michl Binderbauer, CEO of TAE Technologies. “Global energy demand is growing exponentially, and we have a moral obligation to do our utmost to develop a baseload power solution that is safe, carbon-free, and economically viable.”
In a statement announcing Tuesday’s funding round, Jim Gable, president of Chevron Technology Ventures, the energy company’s corporate venture capital arm, said: “TAE — and fusion technology as a whole — has the potential to be a scalable source of no-carbon energy generation and a key enabler of grid stability as renewables become a greater portion of the energy mix.”
TAE Technologies is one of the many clean energy Chevron has invested in the last two years. In August 2020, we wrote about Chevron after the energy giant invested in Seattle, Washington-based nuclear fusion startup Zap Energy. Chevron joins Italy’s ENI and Norwegian state oil company Equinor which have also backed nuclear fusion startups to reduce their carbon footprint. The company did not disclose the amount of the investment.
Meanwhile, Google has been partnering with TAE since 2014. The search giant provided the fusion startup with artificial intelligence and computational power. But today marks Google’s first investment in the company.
Below is a roadmap of TAE fusion devices.
Below is a video of how TAE’s goal for carbon-free energy future.