Fusion is the process that powers the stars. To make it possible on Earth, one can confine high-energy ionized matter, called “plasma”, via magnetic fields. Tokamaks and stellarators are two approaches that do so by creating a magnetic “cage” in doughnut-shaped devices. The opportunity to leverage fusion as a safe, clean, and abundant energy source has motivated academic research in this domain for decades.
Today Proxima Fusion, a Munich-based fusion startup that is designing fusion power plants based on the stellarator concept, is announcing that has completed its Pre-Seed fundraising of €7 million. The fundraising is co-led by Plural and UVC Partners, and joined by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and the Wilbe Group.
Proxima Fusion is the first spin-out from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP). The startup was founded by former scientists and engineers from the Max Planck IPP, MIT, and Google-X. The group aims to deploy a new high-performance stellarator over the coming years. Its roadmap targets a first-of-a-kind fusion power plant within the 2030s.
Proxima will develop fusion power plants based on stellarator technology, putting more momentum behind this particular approach. Proxima’s ambition is to launch a fusion plant as early as 2030 – almost a decade earlier than previously expected.
Ian Hogarth of Plural Platform says: “Stellarators offer the most robust and clearest path to fusion energy. The Proxima team has the energy and the speed that we need. They are ecosystem players, with a thrilling sense of ambition building on top of the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator – a masterpiece of German leadership. Europe needs the audacity of this team and their willpower to take on the fusion challenge.”
Benjamin Erhart, General Partner at UVC Partners, says: “In the coming years, the energy issue will be one of our most existential ones. We already know today that we need a clever mix of different energy sources. Proxima’s efforts for fusion leverage the massive investment made on stellarators in Germany. We are convinced that the team is ready to change the picture – for the world, and particularly for Germany and Europe, which are in urgent need of reliable sources beyond wind and solar.”