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#197: Fusion, Helion, and Microsoft
Contrary Research (SF-based VC firm with $150mm AUM) released their first Climate Tech market map
I wanted to focus on a startup in the Energy Generation section, specifically Fusion / Fission
Both are ways to make energy - fusion is when two neclei combine together, and fission is when a heavy nucleous is split into two lighter nuclei
Founded in 2013, Helion is building the world's first fusion power plant. It was in the YC (S14) class and is backed by OpenAI's Sam Altman.
Fusion power is different from currently existing nuclear plants that use fission — fusion power, per Bloomberg, is nuclear power but "without the meltdowns and radioactive waste".
The company announced in May that it's on track to generate the world's first fusion power based carbon-free energy in five years and has already secured Microsoft as its first customer.
The impact will be small but meaningful.
By 2028, somewhere in Washington, Helion will be generating "at least 50 megawatts within a year", which is less than tenth of a typical US natural gas plant.
But this will be a major nuclear breakthrough.
Current nuclear plants rely on fission (harmful, emits more greenhouse gases), and while the world’s looking at alternative energy sources (i.e. solar, wind), having this fusion alternative within nuclear energy generation will move the world fast.
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