Equinor Invests Further in Bill Gates-Backed Fusion Energy Startup

12/01/2021 | 08:13am
Bill Gates

By Dominic Chopping

Norwegian energy major Equinor ASA said Wednesday that its venture capital arm is increasing its investment in Bill Gates-backed startup Commonwealth Fusion Systems as part of the Series B funding round raising more than $1.8 billion to commercialize fusion energy.

The Series B funding round is set to raise capital to construct, commission and operate a net energy fusion machine and will enable Commonwealth Fusion Systems--a spin-out from Massachusetts Institute of Technology--to begin work on a commercial power plant, which includes developing support technologies, advancing the design, identifying the site, and assembling the partners and customers for the future of fusion power.

The energy fusion machine aims to demonstrate net energy from fusion by 2025 and Commonwealth Fusion Systems believes it will pave the way for the first commercially viable fusion power plant in early 2030.

Fusion is the process that release energy by merging two or more lighter atoms, typically hydrogen, into a larger one. This requires high temperature, high density and sufficient confinement.

"By 2050, Equinor aims to become a net-zero company, delivering the energy the world needs without contributing to global warming," said Carri Lockhart, executive vice president for technology, digital and innovation at Equinor.

"Fusion energy has the potential to be a game-changer providing clean energy at scale."

Equinor's venture-capital arm, Equinor Ventures, has a mandate to deploy $750 million over five years to invest in promising technologies and companies. It made its first investment in Commonwealth Fusion Systems in 2020.

Specific financial terms weren't disclosed.

Write to Dominic Chopping at dominic.chopping@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

12-01-21 0812ET

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