Fusion Startup Company HB11 Energy Raises $3.62 Million in Pre-Seed Round

By James White Saturday, February 27, 2021

The race for renewable energy sources continues to spur startup businesses and companies to innovate. As countries set and seek to meet their ambitious goals to reduce emissions to combat climate change, businesses across industries seek to reduce their own carbon footprints as well as provide services and products that aid these aspirations. In a successful pre-seed funding round, startup company HB11 Energy managed to secure roughly $3.62 million from angel investor Lukasz Gadowski, who has since been appointed to the board of directors for the business.

"Since launching our pre-seed round in April last year, we've been overwhelmed by investors interested in the environmental impact of our technology, as well as the financial returns inherent in our success," said Dr. Warren McKenzie, founder and Managing Director of the startup energy business.

Computer rendering of a blue plasma force field.

Unlimited, Clean Energy Through Fusion

HB11 Energy was co-founded in 2019 by Dr. McKenzie, as well as entrepreneur, theoretical physicist, and Professor Emeritus at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney), Heinrich Hora. The startup company is now Australia's first commercial fusion energy, and the business has already patented several designs protecting its technology for a non-thermal fusion reactor.

Rather than conventional strategies for electricity production using fusion, the startup company seeks to ignite the fusion reaction between hydrogen and the boron 11 isotope (hence, “HB11”) using laser technology. In this way, HB11 Energy strives to avoid the enormous costs associated with traditional methods of obtaining fusion, like heating fuel to extremely high temperatures. Furthermore, boron 11 is non-radioactive and very abundant in nature, which means the startup business can dodge the costs and challenges associated with radioactive waste disposal.

Entering the Competitive Market of Renewable Energy

While the advantages of successfully operating a fusion energy reaction like the one proposed by the startup company are great, there are still many challenges HB11 Energy must overcome. Other renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy continue to be refined, becoming more efficient and cost-effective. Market research expects solar and wind energy markets to reach respective values of $223.3 billion and $87.5 billion by 2026.

Still, global investments in renewable power reached $281 billion in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Other companies in the fusion energy business have found substantial support from investors. Canadian energy company General Fusion raised over $192 million in total from investors interested in the clean energy technology.

"Professor Heinrich Hora is the pioneer of hydrogen-boron fusion technology — the most elegant approach that I have come across so far,” Gadowski said. “Now we have to put theory into practice. A difficult task, but it's worth the effort alone. It is an honour to be part of the revolution of energy production alongside Heinrich Hora."

About the Author

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James White is a Michigan State University graduate with a BS in Environmental Biology. He is interested in reporting emerging trends in technology, especially with regard to alternative energy and environmental conservation.

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