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ARPA-E Investor Update Vol. 17: Realta Fusion's Magnetic Mirror

Realta Fusion is applying new superconducting technology to a well-known fusion concept: the magnetic mirror

On May 31, 2023, ARPA-E awardee Realta Fusion raised $9 million in seed funding for their compact magnetic mirror fusion technology in a round led by Khosla Ventures. This is in addition to an award from the Department of Energy’s Milestone-Based Fusion Development Program for up to $3M aimed at driving forward commercial fusion energy development. Realta Fusion will use this funding to build out their staff and develop the design of their next stage prototype fusion device, the Break-Even Axisymmetric Mirror (BEAM) device. Realta plans to generate heat from fusion for industrial applications.

ARPA-E originally funded this technology as a University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) project which received a $10.3 million award from ARPA-E in 2020 for the Wisconsin High-field Axisymmetric Mirror (WHAM) project. Realta Fusion subsequently spun out of that UW-Madison project.

WHAM is a high-field axisymmetric magnetic mirror that incorporates advances in the stability and confinement of the mirror fusion concept, innovative approaches to plasma heating, and the construction of high-field superconducting magnets using Rare-earth barium copper oxide (ReBCO) high temperature superconducting tape to demonstrate a potentially transformative development path toward Realta’s low-cost linear fusion device. WHAM is a cooperative agreement between ARPA-E (as part of the Breakthroughs Enabling THermonuclear-fusion Energy (BETHE) program) and program performers UW-Madison, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS).

“ARPA-E funding was critical to the establishment of Realta Fusion. The Technology-to-Market (T2M) funding enabled us to spend time on market discovery work and prepare our business plan and pitch deck in advance of meeting with venture capital investors. In addition to funding support from ARPA-E, our T2M advisor, Sam Wurzel, helped us hone our message and connected us with investors,” said Realta CEO & Co-Founder Kieran Furlong.


The ARPA-E team on site at UW-Madison 

Learn more about Realta Fusion from this video from the 2023 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit