A Wisconsin-based startup called Type One Energy says it’s closed an over-subscribed $29 million financing round to launch its effort to commercialize a weird kind of nuclear fusion device known as a stellarator.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the $2 billion clean-energy fund created by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, partnered with TDK Ventures and Doral Energy Tech Ventures to co-lead the investment round. Other backers include Darco, the Grantham Foundation, MILFAM, Orbia Ventures, Shorewind Capital, TRIREC and Vahoca.
Stellarator fusion devices rely on a pretzel-shaped torus of magnets to contain the plasma where fusion takes place. They have a design that’s strikingly different from, say, the giant tokamak that’s being built for the multibillion-dollar ITER experimental fusion reactor in France, or the laser-blasting device at the National Ignition Facility in California that recently hit an energy-producing milestone. Some have gone so far as to call stellarators the “fusion reactor designed in hell.”