Innovation That Matters

Grid-scale fusion energy would be more reliable than renewable sources like wind and solar | Photo source Novatron Fusion Group AB

A startup bringing the promise of fusion energy closer to reality

Agriculture & Energy

The company aims to finally make fusion energy a commercially viable source

Spotted: In order to fulfil the Paris Agreement, global emissions need to be cut by 45 per cent and reach net-zero by 2050. Although increasing effort is going towards green energy sources, the energy sector still accounts for over two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear fusion could provide a viable and reliable alternative to fossil fuels, but as yet has been difficult to scale. This is where Novatron Fusion Group comes in.

Fusion energy, the same kind that powers the stars, is achieved when two kinds of hydrogen collide. The reaction requires temperatures of 150 degrees Celsius and subsequently creates plasma – an ‘electrically-charged gas’ – which can then be used as an energy source. Up until now though, containing fusion plasma has been a difficult feat, with escaping plasma significantly reducing energy output and likely damaging equipment. But Novatron believes that its new approach may hold the answer.

Swedish innovator Jan Jäderberg and his team have found a way to control the magnetic field within a reactor – creating “an inherently stable magnetic configuration” – which allows the super-hot plasma to reach equilibrium. Within the Novatron reactor, the process is stable and can happen continuously, allowing for easy refuelling and removal of by-products.

Novatron has recently raised €3 million from EIT InnoEnergy and Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology in a seed funding round. Now, the company will be able to build a new testing facility to trial its plasma-storing approach and conduct further research. If all goes to plan, in the next year Novatron will have proven that stable plasma can be realised. And longer-term, the company hopes to have finished a commercial fusion design ready to be scaled for the grid before 2040.

Decarbonising the energy sector is an essential step in reducing global warming. Springwise has also spotted other key breakthroughs in establishing clean commercial energy, including grid-scale storage for green energy, and biogas plants producing carbon-negative power.

Written By: Matilda Cox




Download PDF