The nuclear fusion industry attracted $1.4bn of funding in 2022, taking the total investment in the potentially transformative energy technology to $6.21bn, according to a report from the Fusion Industry Association.
The Global Fusion Industry in 2023 report surveyed 43 private fusion companies, and found that 13 new ones had entered the race, with the additional funding deriving from 27 new investments. The biggest winners were TAE, which secured $250m, and ENN, which secured $200m – new entrants showed the biggest growth.
The US has 25 active fusion companies, but there are also firms in New Zealand, Sweden, Germany and China. Overall funding in 2022 was half the level in 2021, but in a tougher financial climate: generally there was a wider range of smaller investments rather than one or two larger ones. “It is clear that fusion is still growing, and the market hasn’t down-selected yet,” says Andrew Holland, Chief Executive Officer of the Fusion Industry Association “and there is still lots to play for.”
Four companies say they'll be delivering power to the grid by 2030, with another 19 aiming for 2035. Eighteen predict that they'll be commercially viable by 2035, and a further 13 by 2040.
Holland says: “Although growth in investment is down from 2022, we still saw a few pretty sizeable investments and a growing volume of smaller ones, totaling $1.4bn, in a period where fears of inflation, interest rate increases, and even bank failures led many investors to hold onto their money.
“Beyond private investment, it is also notable that we are seeing an increase in public-private partnerships, and an emerging regulatory framework for fusion, which will de-risk future investments. This shows that governments are beginning to plan for fusion energy and a sure sign of a maturing industry. This all comes as companies report they are increasingly confident of hitting their ambitious milestones.
“Nonetheless, almost every company still thinks funding is a challenge, as plenty more money will still be needed to solve the remaining science and engineering challenges and reach commercial viability. But every year we publish this report, the rewards of getting it right – unlimited clean energy – feel ever closer.”
Extracted from the IMechE website, read more here