Fusion Energy- Past, Present, and Future

Fusion Energy - Past, Present, and Future


Since the 1950s, fusion energy, the energy production process which mimics the principle that powers the sun and other stars, has been considered as one of the most promising solutions for electricity production, replacing the polluting methods of burning fossil fuels. Over the past decades, billions of dollars have been invested in research in that field by governments, when each of the superpowers hopes to be the first to find the way to make fusion energy sustainable. Since the late 1990s, private companies have joined the race for fusion energy, partnering with academic institutions, large corporations and investors to find the long-awaited solution. Although over the years, there have been quite a few small breakthroughs, including the most recent and significant one in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, it still seems that the solution to the commercial production of fusion energy is far away, and it still has substantial phases to pass on the way.

In this report, we attempt to explain in simple terms what fusion energy is, what are the different technological and physical approaches for fusion, what are the main benefits and challenges of this energy production method and how the field evolved over the years until today. In addition, we mapped out the emerging fusion industry by creating a fusion-startups landscape containing about 40 companies and also by mentioning governmental initiatives, collaborations and investments that drive it.
Finally, we tried to bring together some assessments and approaches examining the future of the field and the timescale, if any, for commercializing the field.

Fusion Energy - Past, Present, and Future


Since the 1950s, fusion energy, the energy production process which mimics the principle that powers the sun and other stars, has been considered as one of the most promising solutions for electricity production, replacing the polluting methods of burning fossil fuels. Over the past decades, billions of dollars have been invested in research in that field by governments, when each of the superpowers hopes to be the first to find the way to make fusion energy sustainable. Since the late 1990s, private companies have joined the race for fusion energy, partnering with academic institutions, large corporations and investors to find the long-awaited solution. Although over the years, there have been quite a few small breakthroughs, including the most recent and significant one in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, it still seems that the solution to the commercial production of fusion energy is far away, and it still has substantial phases to pass on the way.

In this report, we attempt to explain in simple terms what fusion energy is, what are the different technological and physical approaches for fusion, what are the main benefits and challenges of this energy production method and how the field evolved over the years until today. In addition, we mapped out the emerging fusion industry by creating a fusion-startups landscape containing about 40 companies and also by mentioning governmental initiatives, collaborations and investments that drive it.
Finally, we tried to bring together some assessments and approaches examining the future of the field and the timescale, if any, for commercializing the field.