Suddenly, Nuclear Fusion Is an Attractive Investment

Two major tech investors have plowed $1.5 million into Helion Energy to help it develop a technology that hasn’t worked, despite decades of research and millions of research dollars.

Aug 28, 2014 at 10:07AM

This article was written by , the leading provider of energy news in the world.

Two major tech investors have plowed $1.5 million into Helion Energy to help it develop a technology that hasn't worked, despite decades of research and millions of research dollars.

Most of the money, $1.25 million, was given by Mithril Capital Management, a venture capital firm in San Francisco. Mithril co-founder Ajay Royan says his company pays special interest to "state-shift companies," those that represent revolutionary change in their industries. Helion, he said, is one of them.

No company, big or small, has yet to build a reactor that can sustain nuclear fusion, a process that generates more energy than it consumes. Still, Royan says Helion, of Redmond, Wash., is unique because of its concrete approach.

This approach, Royan says, includes Helion's reliance on reactor hardware that already is available or soon will be. He also points to the limited success that Helion already has made, and its meticulous timetable for future developments.

Further, Royan said, Helion approaches the challenge as an engineering problem, not some groping reach for a nebulous goal involving unknown or untested principles of physics.

"My criteria is we should have no miracle physics, we should have minimal or no neutron discharge – so that we're not coming up on the same regulatory and safety concerns associated with traditional fission or even other fusion approaches," he says. "And [Helion has] shown ... how they can rationally get there."

Here's how Helion approaches the fusion problem: The reactor turns two lumps of deuterium fuel into plasma, and then rams them together in a specially designed chamber. Next, a magnetic field compresses this merged plasma, heating it to a temperature of over 100 million degrees to fuse the deuterium with helium nuclei left over in the chamber from previous heating cycles.

This fusion releases charged subatomic particles that push back on the force of the magnetic field, converting the superheated plasma directly into electricity, which powers the process for another cycle. Each cycle lasts one second and can be used to create a 50-megawatt reactor.

Helion will need more than the $1.5 million raised from Mithril and another investor, Y Combinator. Royan says the company needs to create a working prototype of its reactor design – a "pre-commercial prototype that would then go into a power plant." That will probably take another five years or so, at a cost of between $30 million and $50 million.

The question remains whether all this is a Helion pipe dream. Royan says no, the company's approach is based not on a mere theory, but is firmly grounded in proven materials and electronics that have matured in the past five years.

"I don't think we'd have funded this company the way it's currently set up three to five years ago," Royan says. "But we are glad to do so now."

Buffett: This new technology is a "real threat"

At the recent Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Warren Buffett admitted this emerging technology is threatening his biggest cash-cow. While Buffett shakes in his billionaire-boots, only a few investors are embracing this new market which experts say will be worth over $2 trillion. Find out how you can cash in on this technology before the crowd catches on, by jumping onto one company that could get you the biggest piece of the action. Click here to access a FREE investor alert on the company we're calling the "brains behind" the technology.


By Andy Tully at

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information

Compare Brokers