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Helion Energy

helionenergy.com

Founded Year

2010

Stage

Series E | Alive

Total Raised

$512.11M

Last Raised

$500M | 1 yr ago

About Helion Energy

Helion is developing the Fusion Engine, a near term and low cost solution for clean, safe energy. The Fusion Engine's reactor technology is based on peer reviewed research. Recent technology breakthroughs enable clean fusion energy now.

Headquarters Location

8549 - 154th Avenue NE

Redmond, Washington, 98052,

United States

425-867-8900

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Expert Collections containing Helion Energy

Expert Collections are analyst-curated lists that highlight the companies you need to know in the most important technology spaces.

Helion Energy is included in 2 Expert Collections, including Renewable Energy.

R

Renewable Energy

2,872 items

Includes companies working on technology to support renewable energy generation.

U

Unicorns- Billion Dollar Startups

1,201 items

Helion Energy Patents

Helion Energy has filed 1 patent.

The 3 most popular patent topics include:

  • Energy conversion
  • Fusion power
  • Nuclear fusion
patents chart

Application Date

Grant Date

Title

Related Topics

Status

2/6/2015

10/11/2022

Fusion power, Plasma physics, Nuclear fusion, Tokamaks, Nuclear technology

Grant

Application Date

2/6/2015

Grant Date

10/11/2022

Title

Related Topics

Fusion power, Plasma physics, Nuclear fusion, Tokamaks, Nuclear technology

Status

Grant

Latest Helion Energy News

What it feels like to visit a fusion company lab on a day when wildfire smoke cloaks the horizon

Nov 4, 2022

Pihl has worked on fusion for nearly two decades now. He's seen it evolve from the realm of physicist academics to a field followed closely by reporters and collecting billions in investments. People working on fusion have become the cool kids, the underdog heroes. As we collectively blow past any realistic hope of staying within the targeted 1.5 degrees of warming and as global energy demand continues to rise, fusion is the home run that sometimes feels like the only solution. "It's less of a academic pursuit, an  altruistic pursuit, and it's turning into more of a survival game at this point I think, with the way things are going," Pihl told me, as we sat in the empty Helion offices looking out at a wall of gray smoke. "So it's necessary. And I am glad it is getting attention." How Helion's technology works CEO and co-founder David Kirtley walked me around the vast lab space where Helion is working on constructing components for its seventh-generation system, Polaris. Each generation has proven out some combination of the physics and engineering that is needed to bring Helion's specific approach to fusion to fruition. The sixth-generation prototype, Trenta, was completed in 2020 and proved able to reach 100 million degrees Celsius, a key milestone for proving out Helion's approach. Polaris is meant to prove, among other things, that it can achieve net electricity -- that is, to generate more than it consumes -- and it's already begun designing its eighth generation system, which will be its first commercial grade system. The goal is to demonstrate Helion can make electricity from fusion by 2024 and to have power on the grid by the end of the decade, Kirtley told me. Cat Clifford, CNBC climate tech and innovation reporter, at Helion Energy on October 20. Polaris, Helion's seventh prototype, will be housed here. Photo taken by Jessie Barton, communications for Helion Energy, with Cat Clifford's camera. Some of the feasibility of getting fusion energy to the electricity grid in the United States depends on factors Helion can't control -- establishing regulatory processes with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and licensing processes to get required grid interconnect approvals, a process which Kirtley has been told can range from a few years to as much as ten years. Because there are so many regulatory hurdles necessary to get fusion hooked into the grid, Kirtley said he expects their first paying customers are likely to be private customers, like technology companies that have power hungry data centers, for example. Working with utility companies will take longer. One part of the Polaris system that looks perhaps the most otherworldly for a non fusion expert (like me) the Polaris Injector Test, which is how the fuel for the fusion reactor will get into the device. Arguably the best-known fusion method involves a tokamak, a donut-shaped device that uses super powerful magnets to hold the plasma where the fusion reaction can occur. An international collaborative fusion project, called ITER ("the way" in Latin), is building a massive tokamak in Southern France to prove the viability of fusion. Helion is not building a tokamak. It is building a long narrow device called a Field Reversed Configuration, or FRC, and the next version will be about 60 feet long. The fuel is injected in short tiny bursts at both ends of the device and an electric current flowing in a loop confines the plasma. The magnets fire sequentially in pulses, sending the plasmas at both ends shooting towards each other at a velocity greater than one million miles per hour. The plasmas smash into each other in the central fusion chamber where they merge to become a superhot dense plasma that reaches 100 million degrees Celsius. This is where fusion occurs, generating new energy. The magnetic coils that facilitate the plasma compression also recover the energy that is generated. Some of that energy is recycled and used to recharge the capacitors that originally powered the reaction. The additional extra energy is electricity that can be used. This is the Polaris Injector Test, where Helion Energy is building a component piece of the seventh generation fusion machine. There will be one of these on each side of the fusion device and this is where the fuel will get into the machine. Photo courtesy Cat Clifford, CNBC. Kirtley compares the pulsing of their fusion machine to a piston. "You compress your fuel, it burns very hot and very intensely, but only for a little bit. And the amount of heat released in that little pulse is more than a large bonfire that's on all the time," he told me. "And because it's a pulse, because it's just one little high intensity pulse, you can make those engines much more compact, much smaller," which is important for keeping costs down. The idea is actually not new. It was theorized in the 1950s and 60s, Kirtley said. But it was not possible to execute until modern transistors and semiconductors were developed. Both Pihl and Kirtley looked at fusion earlier in their careers and weren't convinced it was economically viable until they came to this FRC design. Another moat to cross: This design does use a fuel that is very rare. The fuel for Helion's approach is deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen that is fairly easy to find, and helium three, which is a very rare type of helium with one extra neutron. "We used to have to say that you had to go into outer space to get helium three because it was so rare," Kritley said. To enable their fusion machine to be scaled up, Helion is also developing a way to make helium three with fusion. A dose of hope There is no question that Helion has a lot of steps and processes and regulatory hurdles before it can bring unlimited clean energy to the world, as it aims to do. But the way it feels to walk around an enormous wide-open lab facility -- with some of the largest ceiling fans I have ever seen -- it seems possible in a way that I hadn't ever felt before. Walking back out into the smoke that day, I was so grateful to have that dose of hope. But most people were not touring the Helion Energy lab on that day. Most people were sitting stuck inside, or putting themselves at risk outside, unable to see the horizon, unable to see a future where building a fusion machine is a job that is being executed like a mechanic working in a garage. I asked Kirtley about the battling feeling I had of despair at the smoke and hope at the fusion parts being assembled. "The cognitive dissonance of sometimes what we see out in the world, and what we get to build here is pretty extreme," Kirtley said. "Twenty years ago, we were less optimistic about fusion." But now, his eyes glow as he walks me around the lab. "I get very excited. I get very — you can tell — I get very energized." Other young scientists are also excited about fusion too. At the beginning of the week when I visited, Kirtley was at the American Physics Society Department of Plasma Physics conference giving a talk. "At the end of my talk, I walked out and there were 30 or 40 people that came with me, and in the hallway, we just talked for an hour and a half about the industry," he said. "The excitement was huge. And a lot of it was with younger engineers and scientists that are either grad students or postdocs, or in the first 10 years of their career, that are really excited about what private industry is doing." watch now

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Helion Energy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • When was Helion Energy founded?

    Helion Energy was founded in 2010.

  • Where is Helion Energy's headquarters?

    Helion Energy's headquarters is located at 8549 - 154th Avenue NE, Redmond.

  • What is Helion Energy's latest funding round?

    Helion Energy's latest funding round is Series E.

  • How much did Helion Energy raise?

    Helion Energy raised a total of $512.11M.

  • Who are the investors of Helion Energy?

    Investors of Helion Energy include Mithril Capital Management, Capricorn Investment Group, Dustin Moskovitz, Sam Altman and Y Combinator.

  • Who are Helion Energy's competitors?

    Competitors of Helion Energy include General Fusion, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Renew Financial, OpenHydro, Propel Fuels and 14 more.

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