Bill Gates’ and his League of Billionaires are investing in a company that promises to commercialize hot fusion within 15 years.
To explain, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) appears on a list of companies Gates’ hedge fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) is investing in, Quartz reveals. Importantly, Commonwealth claims it can commercialize hot nuclear fusion within 15 years.
The BEV’s goal is to use the money of the world’s richest people to create new energy sources that do not produce greenhouse gases. Members of the BEV include; Gates, the world’s richest man Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Jeff Bezos, Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) founder Jack Ma, SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son, Michael Bloomberg, and Sir Richard Branson.
Bill Gates investing in MIT Hot Fusion venture
Commonwealth Fusion Systems aims to commercialize hot fusion work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
The first goal at CFS is to build a tokamak fusion reactor capable of generating 100 Megawatts (MW) of electricity, a press release reveals. In detail, 100 MW is enough juice to power a city of 100,000 people or the size of Boulder, Colorado.
The reactor will use proprietary superconducting magnets developed at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) to contain super-hot plasma. To enumerate, the plasma will heat water to make steam to generate electricity. Importantly, CFS’s team believes they can have a hot fusion reactor working within five years.
CFS has received $50 million in investment from the Italian oil company Eni (NYSE: E). Unfortunately, Quartz did not say how much BEV is investing in CFS.
Gates Hot Fusion Hedge Fund invests in batteries and biotech
CFS is one of several companies BEV is investing in. All the companies; BEV buys into, are developing radical new technologies that could totally disrupt the energy industry.
For example, DMC Biotechnologies will genetically engineer microbes to produce high value chemicals and biofuels. Meanwhile, QuantumScape is developing solid state batteries for electric vehicles that are supposedly more ecofriendly than lithium-ion power packs.
Uniquely, CarbonCure proposes getting rid of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by injecting it into concrete. Fascinatingly, CarbonCure’s management claims their cement will be stronger than conventional concrete.
Moreover, BEV is even addressing an objection to hot fusion, the need for water to make steam. It is investing in Zero Mass Water which plans to manufacture solar panels and batteries that will pull water directly from the air. Obviously, Zero Mass Water’s technology could get water for a hot-fusion reactor.
Scientists run Bill Gates’ Hot Fusion Hedge Fund
BEV is a fascinating organization because it appears to be the first private hedge fund run by scientists. Therefore, BEV is a combination think-tank and hedge fund.
Ironically, the BEV is inspired by the U.S. military’s DARPA. To enumerate, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) invests in companies and researchers developing radical new technologies.
Bill Gates’ Private DARPA
The most famous radical technology developed at DARPA is a little thing called the Internet.
The internet ultimately gave rise to new industries and generated vast amounts of money. Therefore, Bill Gates and Company’s interest in energy disruption is not as altruistic as you think. I think Gates and Bezos smell big money in technologies like fusion and solid-state batteries.
Correspondingly, one of BEV’s big brains is Harvard Professor George Whitesides. Whitesides, is a chemistry expert who previously worked as an advisor to DARPA.
Like DARPA, the BEV aims to solve problems with a combination of science, technology, and money. Given DARPA’s track record it is likely that BEV will develop radical disruptive technologies.
Another inspiration for BEV is the U.S. Department of Energy’s ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy). Like Breakthrough Energy Ventures, ARPA-E is a DARPA for energy technology.
Bill Gates Breakthrough Energy Ventures will Disrupt Energy
Commercial hot fusion; in particular, could wipe out the coal and natural gas industries. It could also solve other problems such as hazardous waste, nuclear waste, biological waste, and plastic waste.
Ultimately, hot fusion could produce vast amounts of electricity without creating air pollution. Hence, hot fusion could reduce or eliminate green-house gases and limit climate change.
In addition, hot fusion could be far cheaper than other energy sources because it will need no fuel or fuel-delivery infrastructure. To clarify, a coal-burning power plant requires a railroad connection for coal delivery. A natural gas burning plant needs a pipeline.
A fusion plant requires neither; on the other hand, which they could locate it anywhere. Even under the streets of large cities like New York or Los Angeles.
To explain all that waste could be tossed into a hot fusion reactor and instantly vaporized. Theoretically, the fusion reactor’s 100 million kelvin (173.15 billion Celsius) degree temperatures will destroy any waste.
Watch BEV closely because its technologies could be as disruptive as those created by DARPA. Therefore, Bill Gates could disrupt the energy industry beyond recognition with his hedge fund.