Helion Energy plans to begin commercial power generation from nuclear fusion within five years. The company is so confident that it has just concluded an agreement with Microsoft, from which it will buy electricity from 2028.
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Nuclear fusion is the holy grail of clean, green electricity production. This technology does not produce any radioactive waste, unlike nuclear fission. Many researchers are working on it to make it a reality, including private companies. Microsoft just announced that it has reached an agreement with Helion Energy to buy electricity from it…in the year 2028.
This is certainly the first such agreement in the world, while nuclear fusion is still far from the commercial stage. However, this announcement shows just how confident Helion Energy is that it can start up its first reactor in just five years.
The deal calls for Microsoft to buy 50 megawatts of nuclear fusion power starting in 2028, with a one-year ramp-up period until the reactor is fully operational, and penalties if Helion Energy fails to produce electricity. However, the company sees much bigger and is targeting gigawatts, or 20 times the power Microsoft promised.
To fund nuclear fusion research, Helion Energy has raised more than $570 million in private funds. One of the main investors is Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI, better known as ChatGPT. In 2021, the man revealed that he has invested up to $375 million. Before commercial production begins, Helion Energy plans to bring its seventh-generation Polaris reactor online next year, which uses pulsed magnetic fields and helium-3 as fuel, rather than the tritium favored by the competition.
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