CommonWealth Fusion Systems: the leader of nuclear fusion energy

CommonWealth Fusion Systems (CFS) is the most-funded nuclear fusion developer: 1.8 billion euros. The technology being studied is the tokamak.

Nuclear fusion has been a hot topic for several decades. However, considerable progress has been made in recent years, and more and more companies are attempting to make fusion the next low-carbon energy source. Among these companies, the one that has received the most funding is CommonWealth Fusion System (or CFS).

Nuclear fusion CommonWealth Fusion Systems

CommonWealth Fusion System is developing nuclear fusion in a tokamak: deuterium and tritium nuclei are accelerated in a circular path (torroidal to be more precise: they twist) until they collide and fuse. For the time being, the main challenge is to succeed in producing more energy than we consume.

Before that can happen, however, the plasma must be confined. To this end, the company has focused on the development of newhigh-temperature superconductor (HTS) magnets , a stage which was completed in September 2021 with the scaled demonstration of the performance of a 20 Tesla magnet. The main challenge was to be able to accelerate the particles and, at the same time, confine the plasma by means of a magnetic field, so that it does not destroy the installation.

The next step is to build a demonstrator, the SPARC, which aims to produce more energy than it consumes (the point of ignition). CFS claims that its performance would be similar to ITER, but with a tokamak 10 times smaller.

History and financing of CommonWealth Fusion Systems

CFS is a spin-off from MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center founded in 2018 in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA) with an initial investment of $50 million. It takes over the“Alcator-C-Mod” tokamak research conducted at MIT.

Funds soon flowed in:

  • Its Series A financing round brings in $115m in June 2019, with ENI, Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Khosla Ventures among others.
  • A Series A2 round brings in a further$84M in May 2020 from, among others, Temasek, Equinor and Devonshire Investors.
  • In 2021, following the announcement of a successful experiment on its superconducting magnet, CFS raises $1.8 billion, in particular to finance the construction of 2 tokamaks: an experimental one, SPARC, and a commercial one, ARC. This round was led by Tiger Global Management and included new investors (notably Bill Gates; Coatue; DFJ Growth; Emerson Collective; Footprint Coalition; Google; JIMCO Technology Fund, part of JIMCO, the Jameel Family’s global investment arm; John Doerr; JS Capital; Marc Benioff’s TIME Ventures) and historical investors (including Breakthrough Energy Ventures; The Engine; Eni; Equinor Ventures; Fine Structure Ventures; Future Ventures; Hostplus; Khosla Ventures; Lowercarbon; Moore Strategic Ventures; Safar Partners; Schooner Capital; Soros Fund Management LLC; Starlight Ventures; Temasek).


How much money has CommonWealth Fusion Systems raised?

CommonWealth Fusion Systems has raised a total of $2 billion

Who are CommonWealth Fusion Systems’ main investors?

CommonWealth Fusion Systems has received support from a number of major players. Among these, Breakthrough Energy Venture, Khosla Ventures and ENI have played a particularly important role. More broadly, there’s Bill Gate himself, Google, The Engine and Soros Fund Management.

What’s innovative about CommonWealth Fusion Systems?

CommonWealth Fusion Systems is developing nuclear fusion, and in particular a very compact tokamak. They are still at the experimental stage, building a first research prototype.