Commonwealth Fusion Systems raises a further $84m

29 May 2020

A visualisation of the Commonwealth Fusion Systems Sparc high-field tokamak nuclear reactor experiment. Image: Ken Filar/MIT

MIT spin-out Commonwealth Fusion Systems has now raised a total of more than $200m.

On Tuesday (26 May), Massachusetts-based nuclear fusion start-up Commonwealth Fusion Systems announced that it has raised $84m in Series A2 funding, bringing the total raised by the company to more than $200m.

Founded in 2018, Commonwealth Fusion Systems is an MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) spin-out that is led by CEO Bob Mumgaard. The start-up wants to develop stable nuclear fusion, which is often described as the “holy grail” of energy sources.

It is developing high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets and designing a net-energy-gain fusion system, which the company has called Sparc.

Funding fusion

The latest round of funding was led by Temasek with participation from new investors Equinor and Devonshire Investors.

There was also participation from existing investors Breakthrough Energy Ventures, The Engine, ENI Next LLC, Future Ventures, Hostplus, Khosla Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures, Safar Partners LLC, Schooner Capital and Starlight Ventures, among others.

With the funding, the start-up plans to grow its capabilities to offer fusion power plants, fusion engineering services and HTS magnets. The company also wants to build a new headquarters and manufacturing facility, while accelerating the development of Sparc.

Commonwealth Fusion Systems also said that the funding will support the business development of its HTS magnets, the key component to Sparc, which have various other commercial uses.

Mumgaard commented: “Even in these challenging times, we are thrilled to have this group of new investors including a global investment company and a world-leading energy company committed to the long-term investment in commercial fusion, enabling CFS to remain aggressive in building the first net-energy fusion machine as fast as possible.”

The CEO said that the funding is “further evidence” of a growing fusion industry and that a transition is taking place from publicly funded research to the development of commercial fusion.

The start-up is now collaborating with MIT’s PSFC to design and build Sparc. The collaboration is on track to demonstrate a 20-tesla large-bore magnet in 2021. The company said that this magnet test will be the first of its kind and could open a widely identified transformational opportunity for fusion energy.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic