UK nuclear fusion startup Tokamak Energy has raised more than $50m in an ongoing Series C round, according to Companies House filings taken from Beauhurst and confirmed to Sifted by the company.
The raise featured a number of existing backers alongside new investors and strategic partners, Tokamak tells Sifted.
Previous investors include Legal & General Capital, Hans-Peter Wild — the founder of drinks brand Capri Sun — and British billionaire financier David Harding. Prior to December, Tokamak had picked up $200m from private investors and $50m from the UK and US governments.
What Tokamak does
Tokamak is looking to create commercial fusion technology using high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets within “tokamaks.” These are devices that create a nuclear fusion reaction by using a magnetic field to hold plasma in a doughnut shape while running an electrical current through it.
According to the company, its spherical fusion reactor is more efficient than the conventional tokamak shape, meaning it can operate with lower capital investment, operating costs and on a smaller scale.
While fusion reactions can theoretically generate huge amounts of energy far more efficiently than current alternatives like fossil fuels and renewables, the technology is some way off hitting the market. Tokamak says it’ll be the 2030s before it is able to sell fusion power.
Until then, it’s looking to make revenue by commercialising the HTS magnet tech that helps power its reactors, which can be used to create powerful magnetic fields and high electrical efficiency in a variety of use cases.
The company will target sectors like renewable energy, including other nuclear fusion companies, scientific research, medicine, industry and marine propulsion.
Tokamak tells Sifted it sees the biggest markets for its HTS tech as the US and Asia.
The nuclear fusion market
The nuclear fusion market was worth $296bn in 2022 — the solar energy market was valued at $235bn — and the sector picked up $1.4bn in the same year globally, according to the Fusion Industry Association.
The US is home to the most well-financed startups in the sector, but Tokamak has raised the most investor cash in Europe.
It’s followed by German duo Marvel Fusion and Focused Energy, which have raised €110m and $82m, respectively, and the UK’s First Light Fusion, which has picked up £77m.
While countries like France have announced financial support packages for nuclear startups in recent times, there are worries that Europe is losing ground to markets like the US in the race to commercialise the tech.
“Europe’s delay on fusion is a scandal… while European decision-makers are still arguing over the ‘green taxonomy’ of whether nuclear power is clean energy, US actors are working to make it greener,” said André Loesekrug-Pietri, president of the Joint European Disruptive Initiative, in a 2023 interview with Sifted.
Later that year, Marvel Fusion accepted a term sheet to build a nuclear fusion facility in the US.