- When it comes to nuclear fusion, the joke is that it is always just decades away, but that hasn’t stopped investors from spending $5 billion on chasing the holy grail of energy.
- In 2022, investors spent twice as much money as has ever been spent before on nuclear fusion, with nearly all of that investment coming from the private sector.
- Every nuclear fusion experiment so far has been net negative when it comes to energy production, but the biggest ever reactor is nearly 80% complete and could change that.
What do The Dark Knight Rises, Back to the Future, Oblivion, and Interstellar all have in common? They are sci-fi blockbusters that showcase a technology that scientists consider to be the Holy Grail of Energy: Nuclear fusion. Theoretically, two lone nuclear reactors running on small pellets could power the entire planet, safely and cleanly. That’s the promise of nuclear fusion. So, why are we still relying on fossil fuels? What’s stopping us from building these reactors everywhere?
After all, scientists have been working on nuclear fusion technology since the 1950s and have always been optimistic that the final breakthrough is not far away. Yet, milestones have fallen time and again and now the running joke is that a practical nuclear fusion power plant could still be decades away.
Well, the past few years have witnessed a resurgence in the field with a handful of startups setting up shop to make nuclear fusion an everyday reality. Interestingly, the vast majority of the sector’s funding has come from the private sector rather than public investments.
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