WTI Crude


Brent Crude


Natural Gas




Heating Oil


Rotate device for more commodity prices

5 Negative Factors For Oil Prices

5 Negative Factors For Oil Prices

Oil prices continue to be…

Suddenly, Nuclear Fusion Is An Attractive Investment

Two major tech investors have plowed $1.5 million into Helion Energy to help it develop a technology that hasn’t worked, despite decades of research and millions of research dollars.

Most of the money, $1.25 million, was given by Mithril Capital Management, a venture capital firm in San Francisco. Mithril co-founder Ajay Royan says his company pays special interest to “state-shift companies,” those that represent revolutionary change in their industries. Helion, he said, is one of them.

No company, big or small, has yet to build a reactor that can sustain nuclear fusion, a process that generates more energy than it consumes. Still, Royan says Helion, of Redmond, Wash., is unique because of its concrete approach.

This approach, Royan says, includes Helion’s reliance on reactor hardware that already is available or soon will be. He also points to the limited success that Helion already has made, and its meticulous timetable for future developments.

Further, Royan said, Helion approaches the challenge as an engineering problem, not some groping reach for a nebulous goal involving unknown or untested principles of physics.

“My criteria is we should have no miracle physics, we should have minimal or no neutron discharge – so that we’re not coming up on the same regulatory and safety concerns associated with traditional fission or even other fusion approaches,” he says. “And [Helion has] shown ... how they can rationally get there.”

Here’s how Helion approaches the fusion problem: The reactor turns two lumps of deuterium fuel into plasma, and then rams them together in a specially designed chamber. Next, a magnetic field compresses this merged plasma, heating it to a temperature of over 100 million degrees to fuse the deuterium with helium nuclei left over in the chamber from previous heating cycles.

This fusion releases charged subatomic particles that push back on the force of the magnetic field, converting the superheated plasma directly into electricity, which powers the process for another cycle. Each cycle lasts one second and can be used to create a 50-megawatt reactor.

Helion will need more than the $1.5 million raised from Mithril and another investor, Y Combinator. Royan says the company needs to create a working prototype of its reactor design – a “pre-commercial prototype that would then go into a power plant.” That will probably take another five years or so, at a cost of between $30 million and $50 million.

The question remains whether all this is a Helion pipe dream. Royan says no, the company’s approach is based not on a mere theory, but is firmly grounded in proven materials and electronics that have matured in the past five years.

“I don’t think we’d have funded this company the way it’s currently set up three to five years ago,” Royan says. “But we are glad to do so now.”

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Brian Vedder on September 28 2014 said:
    Very pleasing to see Robert Bussard's formula enduring - the one that yields electricity and helium as outputs, whereas almost all the others are still creating heat, with the need for steam generation and all the rest of that 19th-cent mechanical nonsense.
    Let's all continue to give Dr. Robert Bussard the recognition he deserves, and hope his Polywell design will get picked up and moved forward by similarly bright and tenacious researchers.
  • lisa Mcdonald on September 01 2014 said:
    How can we not invest?, something that doesn't produce nuclear waste, a byproduct that that is so toxic to our planet ? Writer of article makes 30-50 million sound gastronomical, when we spend t hose amounts on pig barrels or called piggy back riders on bills in congress every day! Ridiculous grants and companies who financially donate to congressmen for election or reelection ! ! !
  • Joannes Van den Bogaert on September 01 2014 said:
    Please have look at former e-Cat Site the articles "Belgian LANR Patents" and "LANR by Coulomb Explosion" containing in English the Belgian patents :
    BE 1002780 and BE 1002781.
  • Recyclus on August 29 2014 said:
    Seeing the rate at which hot fusion researchers blow through their funds in order to produce pratically zero results, compared to the results cold fusion researchers (e.g. Andrea Rossi) achieve with far fewer grants, the question remains: which group are the true scammers?

    I predict that within a year's time, cold fusion will have rendered hot fusion obsolete.
  • Berndt on August 28 2014 said:
    Fusion energy is a good long-term investment because it is the only source of energy that can be at the same time clean, cheap, safe, and dense. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8n7j5k-_G8

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News