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Oil Major Invests in Nuclear Startup Company

Seattle-based Zap Energy received an investment from Chevron Technology Ventures’ (CTV) Future Energy Fund to continue development of its next-generation modular nuclear reactor. The investment marks the tenth investment by Chevron’s Future Energy Fund, which was launched in 2018 to explore breakthrough technologies enabling decarbonization, the mobility-energy nexus, and energy decentralization.

Founded in 2018, Zap Energy’s technology stabilizes the plasma used in the fusion process by using sheared flows. Because the high-temperature, high-density plasma flows at different velocities, the goal is to effectively confine and compress it until fusion reactions occur. The company’s plasma-confinement technology is an extension of work pioneered by the FuZE team at the University of Washington and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Conventional nuclear power uses nuclear fission which involves the splitting of a large unstable nucleus into smaller elements and generates long-lived radioactive waste. Nuclear fusion occurs when nuclei of lightweight elements, typically hydrogen, collide with enough force to fuse and form a heavier element which releases energy with no greenhouse gas emissions and limited long-term radioactive waste.

CTV said its investment in fusion is an opportunity to enhance its diverse portfolio of low-carbon energy resources.

“We see fusion technology as a promising low-carbon future energy source,” said Barbara Burger, president of CTV. “Our Future Energy Fund investment in Zap Energy adds to Chevron’s portfolio of companies we believe are likely to have a role in the energy transition.”

Oil Major Invests in Nuclear Startup Company

13 August 2020

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