To introduce ourselves, we are Renaissance Fusion, a Grenoble-based company with two years of experience in the field of nuclear fusion. Lowercarbon Capital sponsored the initial round of investment that brought around $16.4 million (€15 million) for the firm.
Other European investors, including HCVC, Positron Ventures, and Norssken, also contributed to the round.
We are pleased to back Francesco Volpe and his group as they pioneer a game-changing approach to energy generation and delivery in France and Europe. Alexis Houssou, Founder and Managing Partner of HCVC, stated in a statement, “Grenoble is a very strategic position that enables them to benefit from a favourable climate for the growth of nuclear energy, a strong ecosystem such as the CEA, and an unequalled pool of talent.”
Renaissance Fusion is developing a stellarator reactor, as opposed to the tokamaks used in most nuclear fusion studies. Although it hopes to deploy a 1 GW nuclear fusion reactor by the 2030s, the business is realistic about the challenges it faces. Specifically, it wouldn’t be in charge of running power plants. The company’s reactors would be sold to power plant builders and operators.
Francesco Volpe, Renaissance Fusion’s creator, told me, “We have a technology that is fairly unique.” Renaissance Fusion significantly simplifies the process of creating a magnetic field by sketching tracks on a cylinder instead of developing complex three-dimensional coils.
The team can figure out the form of the coils you require after doing some computation depending on the magnetic field you wish to produce. A laser engraves tracks into the surface of the cylinder as it spins on an axis, and a device moves left and right to create the engraving pattern. The resulting reactor consists of a number of interlocking cylinder blocks. Shipping and logistics should be simplified because to its modular design. To shield the outer world from the neutrons produced by the nuclear reaction within the cylinder, Renaissance Fusion proposes using liquid Lithium to construct thick walls.
We’re injecting a layer of liquid metal. It travels around the cylinder’s inside and is collected at the base. Volpe remarked that its thickness would allow it to soak up most of the neutrons.
The stellarator’s heat is transferred to the liquid metal, which is then utilised to produce steam for the turbines that turn the generator’s generators.
The company’s creator claims that Renaissance Fusion’s usage of liquid metal is a significant innovation. When asked about other commercial fusion facilities, Volpe responded, “We are the only one where the liquid lithium approaches the plasma.”
At now, the business is capable of making Lithium-based liquid barriers 1 centimetre thick. Renaissance Fusion believes that it would need to be 30 to 40 centimetres thick for use in nuclear fusion, therefore there is a lot of room for improvement before it could be employed in this application.
The business is planning forward for potential commercial applications to be launched before the 2030s. Some of the potential applications that Volpe sees for Renaissane Fusion’s coil patterning technology include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and energy storage. Whenever you need a powerful magnetic field, a large volume, and pinpoint accuracy, he said.
Renaissance Fusion anticipates double its current staff number to 60 by the end of 2023 thanks to the money it has received today. As far as Renaissance Fusion is concerned, we’re still in the very early stages at this point. Let’s wait and watch how things develop over the next several years.
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