Helion Co-Founder & CTO, Chris Pihl and Founder & CEO, Dr. David Kirtley at facility in Redmond, WA. (Photo: Business Wire)US fusion energy tech startup Helion Energy said it raised $500 million of its Series E round, which was led by Sam Altman, whose involvement in the company as investor and chairman began in 2015.

Existing investors, including Dustin Moskovitz, Mithril Capital and Capricorn Investment Group also participated in the round. The funding includes the opportunity for an additional $1.7 billion dollars tied to Helion reaching key performance milestones. This latest round values the company at $3 billion.  

The capital will be used to complete construction of Polaris, which is Helion’s seventh generation fusion generator and the world’s first fusion electricity demonstration facility. Polaris builds on the achievements of Helion’s pulsed non-ignition fusion technology and the performance of its six predecessors, and is expected to be the first fusion device capable of demonstrating net electricity production. Helion plans to reach this milestone in 2024, paving the way for future fusion power plants. 

“This funding ensures that Helion will be the first organization to generate electricity from fusion,” said Dr David Kirtley, Founder and CEO of Helion Energy. "Our 6th prototype demonstrated that we can reach this pivotal milestone. In just a few years we will show that the world can count on fusion to be the zero-carbon energy source that we desperately need." 

Earlier this year, Helion became the first private fusion company to heat a fusion plasma to 100,000,000°C, a critical milestone on the path to commercial electricity from fusion. In July, Helion broke ground in Everett, Washington, to build the generator which will be the size of two shipping containers and create enough electricity to power 40,000 homes, said Kirtley. The $1.7 billion follow-on investments will be used to develop a commercial system, if the demonstration is successful.

“There's a real future for fusion to be part of this climate change and clean energy discussion,” said Kirtley, adding that other fusion energy companies were also pushing the timeline forward. Sam Altman  said the long-term goal of Helion is not just to create clean energy but electricity that costs just one cent a kilowatt hour.

Photo: Helion Co-Founder & CTO, Chris Pihl and Founder & CEO, Dr. David Kirtley at facility in Redmond, WA. (Photo: Business Wire)