With startups getting into nuclear technology, it’s no surprise to see more fundraising happening. Now, Kyoto Fusioneering, a fusion energy startup based out of Japan but increasingly expanding abroad, has raised 1.33 billion yen ($11.7 million) in its latest round of funding. The company has now raised 1.67 billion yen ($14.7 million) to date.
In 2020 the U.K. government-backed STEP, a prototype reactor, aiming to have it operating by 2040, and Kyoto Fusioneering has been awarded several contracts to support its development. This is going to be key to KF’s future.
The Series B funding round was supported by existing investors, including Coral Capital Co. Also participating was Daiwa Corporate Investment, DBJ Capital, JAFCO Group, JGC MIRAI Innovation Fund and JIC Venture Growth Investments.
KF has also secured an 800 million yen ($7 million) debt financing from Bank of Kyoto, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and MUFG Bank.
The funds will be used to accelerate its research and expand the business, developing its plant engineering technologies for plasma heating (gyrotrons) and heat extraction (blankets). These technologies are needed in the development of fusion reactor projects.
At the moment a group of nations are supporting the international ITER project (the European Union, Japan, the United States, Russia, Korea, India, the UK and China), a technology test reactor which will be first operated later this decade.
Others, such as the U.S. and China, are pursuing their own domestic programs. The Japanese government also has a number of initiative sin the fusion space.
James Riney, founding partner and CEO of Coral Capital, said: “Climate change is an existential threat to humanity, and a fusion energy future, if achieved, could be the silver bullet that literally saves the world.. While many startups talk about how they want to change the world, this company is actually doing it.”
Nuclear fusion promises a lot, but to date has not delivered a great deal. But if someone gets it right, it has the potential to solve much of the world’s energy and environmental problems, given it would mean a virtual unlimited fuel resource, and clean energy with no carbon emissions.