What: Renaissance Fusion is developing a nuclear fusion reactor that it hopes will provide clean and affordable energy by the next decade. The Grenoble-based company is part of a wave of Deep Tech companies that are hoping to harness nuclear fusion, long a theoretical research dream, and turn it into a commercial service. Renaissance is conducting research on High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) magnets, liquid metal, and the stellarator (a plasma device that potentially could be the housing for nuclear fusion reactions). Renaissance is betting that by combining these three technologies, it can create small, modular reactors that are stable and generate low-cost energy while producing minimal radioactive waste.
Why: Nuclear power plants today use the fission process, which has the advantage that it does not create carbon emissions. But fission generates large amounts of radioactive waste, and the health and cost impacts around such plants remain controversial, limiting their adoption. Fission supporters believe their technology can replace that with a safer and cheaper fusion system.
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Who: Co-founders are CEO and CTO Francesco Volpe, physicist and former associate professor at Columbia University, and Martin Kupp, an Associate Professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at the ESCP Business School in Paris and at the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) in Berlin.
Seed Round: €15 million
Investors: Lowercarbon Capital led the round, which also included money from HCVC, Positron Ventures, and Norssken.
What's Next: The startup will use the funding to acquire equipment for R&D that will allow it to start its first experimental phase. Renaissance Fusion is hiring and plans to triple its workforce this year.