Chevron Corporation has announced a Series A investment in Zap Energy Inc., a Seattle-based start-up company developing a next-generation modular nuclear reactor with an innovative approach to advancing cost-effective, flexible, and commercially scalable fusion.
Chevron Technology Ventures’ investment in fusion is an opportunity to enhance the company’s focus on a diverse portfolio of low-carbon energy resources with the capacity to provide communities across the globe access to affordable, reliable, and ever-cleaner energy.
Conventional nuclear power uses nuclear fission which involves the splitting of a large unstable nucleus into smaller elements and generates long-lived radioactive waste. Nuclear fusion occurs when nuclei of lightweight elements (typically hydrogen) collide with enough force to fuse and form a heavier element – a process that releases substantial amounts of energy with no greenhouse gas emissions and limited long-lived radioactive waste.
Founded in 2018, Zap Energy’s technology stabilises plasma using sheared flows to confine and compress the plasma.
“We see fusion technology as a promising low-carbon future energy source,” says Barbara Burger, president of Chevron Technology Ventures. “Our Future Energy Fund investment in Zap Energy adds to Chevron’s portfolio of companies we believe are likely to have a role in the energy transition.”
This investment marks the 10th investment by Chevron’s Future Energy Fund, which was launched in 2018 to explore breakthrough technologies that enable macro decarbonisation, the mobility-energy nexus, and energy decentralisation.
“Our Future Energy Fund investments provide us with strategic insight into power generation markets and potentially disruptive impacts of innovative approaches, like fusion, geothermal, wind, and solar, on the conventional power value chain,” says Burger.
Zap Energy will use the funds raised in this round to continue technology development and grow their development team.