Munich’s Marvel Fusion has closed a €35 million Series A funding round as it presses forward with the development and commercial realisation of fusion energy technologies.
Often found on the pages of science fiction novels of yore, fusion energy is a prime example of deeptech; conceptual technologies that could take years to develop and realise, but once, or in some cases, if achieved, could alter humankind forever.
Now let’s take a trip back to our physics course(s), and refresh, shall we?
The atomic-level energy-producing event we’re all most familiar with is that of nuclear fission, whereby the binding energy at the centre of an atom is released through the process of splitting that atom into smaller atoms.
Sounds great, right? Well, the process has some drawbacks, and a few disastrous outcomes if not precisely executed.
A fusion reaction, on the other hand, produces energy when two lighter atomic nuclei combine, or fuse together, and form a heavier nucleus.
This sounds great, why don’t we just do this instead?
The catch-22 here lies in the fact that a “traditional” fusion reaction requires extreme temperature (around 100 million degrees), pressure, and confinement times to create a plasma in which a reaction can occur. Needless to say, that’sa one hot potato, and has been one of the biggest barriers between concept and reality.
Supported by technology partners Siemens Energy, TRUMPF, and Thales, Marvel Fusion is pursuing the usage of short-pulse laser and nanotechnologies to trigger non-thermal nuclear fusion reactions.
The approach is based upon 2018 Nobel Prize-winning work pioneered by Donna Strickland and Gérard Mourou and uses precisely controlled laser energy to accelerate fuel particles through nanostructured targets to trigger a reaction.
While the process of a fusion reaction does have its downsides, when compared to energy production through a fission reaction, the choice is an easy one; and one that scientists have been seeking to find since the 1940’s.
Marvel Fusion was founded in 2019 by Moritz von der Linden, Dr. Karl-Georg Schlesinger, Dr. Georg Korn, and Dr. Pasha Shabalin, and the team they have assembled hail from backgrounds including nanotechnology, plasma physics, computational science, optics, and short-pulse laser physics.
Marvel Fusion’s €35 million Series A funding round was led by Earlybird and saw participation from PRIMEPULSE, Thistledown Capital, Taavet Hinrikus & Sten Tamkivi (OÜ Notorius), Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Trust, and Heinz Dürr Invest, and other undisclosed investors. Existing investors Hartmut Neven, Albert Wenger, and Possible Ventures also participated in the round. To date, Marvel Fusion has raised a total of €60 million.
"We are currently witnessing a new global spirit of optimism for fusion technologies and – even more importantly – there is a completely new and promising approach for a disruptive, truly clean and uncompromisingly safe fusion technology: Marvel Fusion," concluded Earlybird's Hendrik Brandis.
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