Fusion industry investment exceeds $6bn

18 July 2023

The Fusion Industry Association (FIA) has released its third annual fusion industry report, “The Global Fusion Industry in 2023”. The fusion industry has now attracted a total of $6.21bn in investment (up from $4.8bn last year), after $1.4bn was invested over the last year. The 86-page report surveyed 43 private fusion companies, ranging from established companies to new entrants, all “committed to addressing the challenges that remain ahead for commercialisation”.

The additional funding comes from 27 individual investments since last year’s report, which include $250m for US-based TAE Technologies , $200m for China’s ENN, $79m for Japan’s Kyoto Fusioneering, $55m for China’s Energy Singularity, and many more. Thirteen fusion companies were founded or emerged from stealth mode in the past year, “making this year’s fusion industry survey, with 44 entrants, the largest ever”, FIA said.

Although, the US continues to lead the field with 25 active fusion companies (including many of the largest), the industry is becoming more geographically diverse, with 12 countries now having at least one fusion company. This year’s survey included new entrants from New Zealand (Openstar), Sweden (Novatron), Germany (Gauss, Proxima), and China (Energy Singularity). “While the total new funding announced this year is less than last year’s $2.8bn, it shows continued investment in and excitement about the industry, even as many technology investors have pulled back in other fields.”

FIA noted that this year saw a much wider range of smaller “Seed” or “Series A” investments, with 27 companies in a variety of technologies announcing funding. Meanwhile, companies who had previously secured funding are growing. “Respondents claimed to have created 975 new jobs in the last year at their companies, and around 3,000 jobs in the supply chain, though this is likely to be an undercount as not all companies responded to this question.”

While optimism about timing remains high, with four companies expecting to deliver fusion power to the grid by 2030, and 19 by 2035, challenges remain. “Almost every company still thinks funding is a challenge, as plenty more money will still be needed to solve the remaining science and engineering challenge and reach commercial viability.” FIA said it is also notable that we are seeing an increase in public-private partnerships, with 18 companies involved in public-private partnerships valued at over $70m.

In the Foreword to the report, FIA notes that “investors – and increasingly governments – are betting that the timescale to commercial fusion energy is accelerating”, which is good news. “The faster we can bring fusion to market, the greater its impact for business, energy security, the climate, and even global geopolitics.”

While welcoming industry growth, FIA says that, because fusion is capital-intensive, “companies will need to scale-up investment to build their proof-of-concept machines” “Seed” or “Series A” investments. “To support the continued growth of the industry, companies will have to find a way to bridge a possible ‘valley of death’ by bringing new investors with different pools of capital. Fusion remains an excellent opportunity for investors with access to capital.”

The report strives to be impartial, “presenting the information on the various companies as it has been conveyed to us”. All company achievements and data are entirely self-reported. “It is not an exhaustive survey. We approached the fusion businesses that we know about and where contact information was available. Their responses were voluntary.” Nevertheless, FIA says “we’re more confident that we’ve reached the global fusion industry”. While there may be small “stealth” companies that are not ready for publicity, “we believe this year’s report now represents all the major players”.

FIA describes itself as “the unified voice of the new fusion industry and a central point for coordination across the fusion community to support accelerated growth”. FIA is a registered non-profit organisation, headquartered in Washington DC, composed of private companies working to commercialise fusion power. “The Association advocates for policies that would accelerate the race to fusion energy.”

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