Meet 'Copernicus': TAE's planned billion-degree, hydrogen-boron nuclear fusion reactor

TAE's planned billion-degree, hydrogen-boron nuclear fusion reactor is making good progress thanks to its latest round of funding.
Christopher McFadden
TAE’s fifth-generation fusion reactor Norman.
TAE’s fifth-generation fusion reactor Norman.

TAE 

  • TAE has managed to secure funding for its new 'Copernicus' fusion reactor after successful testing of its 'Norman' reactor.
  • The new reactor is a non-radioactive, hydrogen-boron-type fusion reactor.
  • The new reactor should be able to achieve close to a billion degrees Celsius once complete.

TAE Technologies today announced that it has secured strategic and institutional investments to fund the construction of its next research reactor, 'Copernicus,' after achieving temperatures greater than 135 million degrees Fahrenheit (75 million degrees Celsius) and demonstrating unmatched real-time control of plasma with its cutting-edge fusion research reactor, dubbed 'Norman.'

Meet 'Copernicus': TAE's planned billion-degree, hydrogen-boron nuclear fusion reactor
3D rendering of TAE's newest reactor.
TAE 

The non-radioactive method used by TAE, a pioneer in the field of hydrogen-boron fusion, is the quickest, most feasible, and most cost-effective way to supply the grid with large amounts of carbon-free electricity. The goal of TAE's planned 'Copernicus' reactor, which will be built in a 100,000-square-foot (1,076,391 m2) facility in Irvine, California, is to show that the company's advanced beam-driven field-reversed configuration (FRC) can generate net energy, which is the last step on the road to commercializing clean fusion power.

The 'Norman' reactor, which was developed by TAE to maintain plasma at 54 million degrees Fahrenheit (30 million degrees Celsius), was unveiled in 2017. The machine has demonstrated its ability to retain stable plasma at a temperature of more than 135 million degrees Fahrenheit (75 million degrees Celsius), which is 250% greater than its initial aim, after five years of experiments to improve Norman's capabilities.

TAE's latest backers include the likes of Google and Chevron

TAE has earned the backing of forward-thinking investors and, so far, has raised a total of $1.2 billion for its commercial fusion development thanks to a track record of exceeding milestones and performance capability. TAE's mission is to provide a long-term solution to the world's rapidly increasing electricity demand while ensuring global energy independence and security.

To that end, the company recently closed its Series G-2 financing round, in which it secured $250 million from investors in the energy, technology, and engineering sectors. By avoiding carbon and particulate emissions, TAE's safe, non-radioactive method minimizes any negative effects on the environment or the effects of climate change.

Meet 'Copernicus': TAE's planned billion-degree, hydrogen-boron nuclear fusion reactor
View from inside TAE's "Norman" reactor.
TAE 

The company's most recent investors include Chevron, Google, Reimagined Ventures, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, and TIFF Investment Management, as well as a sizable mutual fund manager with headquarters on the West Coast of the United States and a sizable U.S. pension fund.

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With regard to the Series G-2 financing round, Goldman Sachs acted as the only financial advisor.

“The caliber and interest of our investors validate our significant technical progress and support our goal to begin commercialization of fusion by the end of this decade,” said Michl Binderbauer, CEO of TAE Technologies. “Global electricity 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.”

As TAE's first Japanese investor, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas (SCOA) will collaborate with TAE in bringing commercial power and other fusion-derived technologies to the Asia-Pacific market. A commercial collaboration agreement has been struck with SCOA, the main subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation, a Fortune 500 global trade and business investment organization with its headquarters in Tokyo, to develop TAE-based technologies in Japan and Asia.

“We look forward to being a partner in bringing TAE’s clean energy solutions to the APAC market, which will be paramount to sustaining local economies without impacting our planet,” said Sandro Hasegawa, General Manager, Energy Innovation Initiative Americas at SCOA. “We are pleased to support TAE’s groundbreaking fusion technology to create safe, sustainable energy sources across multiple industries and applications.”

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