What is TAE Technologies?
TAE Technologies (pronounced T-A-E) was founded in 1998 to develop commercial fusion power with the cleanest environmental profile. The company’s pioneering work represents the fastest, most practical, and economically competitive solution to bring abundant clean energy to the grid. With more than 2,300 patents filed globally and approximately 1,400 granted, more than $1.2 billion in private capital raised, five generations of National Laboratory-scale devices built along with two more in development, and an experienced team of over 600 employees, TAE is now on the cusp of delivering this transformational energy source capable of sustaining the planet for thousands of years. The company’s revolutionary technologies have produced a robust portfolio of commercial innovations in large adjacent markets such as power management, energy storage, electric mobility, fast charging, life sciences, and more. TAE is based in California, and maintains international offices in the UK, EU, and Switzerland. Multidisciplinary and mission-driven by nature, TAE is leveraging proprietary science and engineering to create a bright future.
Why is TAE Technologies pursuing fusion energy?
TAE is on a mission to deliver clean fusion technology as fast as possible as a vital cost-competitive component of the future global energy supply. TAE is dedicated to a brand-new source of safe, abundant, sustainable, economic and scalable electric power.
What differentiates TAE Technologies from other fusion efforts?
The essential requirement for capturing net energy across all approaches to fusion is high-quality plasma confinement. TAE Technologies has developed a proprietary platform we call an advanced beam-driven Field-Reversed Configuration (FRC), which combines accelerator physics and plasma physics to solve the challenge of confinement, both from a cost and performance perspective. Since our company’s inception in 1998, we have been committed to pursuing a fuel cycle based on safe, plentiful hydrogen-boron, also known as proton-boron, p-B11, or p11B. The original name of the company was Tri Alpha Energy, in reference to the three helium particles produced by the hydrogen-boron fusion reaction, which avoids any environmental impact, particulate emissions and radioactivity. In addition, this fuel cycle maximizes the durability and lifetime of our plants. TAE’s configuration can uniquely accommodate hydrogen-boron, and also operate with other fusion fuel sources such as deuterium-helium-3 (D-He-3) and conventional deuterium-tritium (D-T).
What is hydrogen-boron or p-B11 fusion and why is it TAE's preferred pathway?
Proton is a hydrogen atom stripped of its electron; boron is a light, non-radioactive element that is used in detergents and other industrial commodities. Hydrogen-boron, also known as proton- boron or p-B11, represents the cleanest, most abundant fusion fuel cycle on Earth, making it the ideal fuel source for TAE’s commercial fusion solution.
What advances has TAE Technologies made in hydrogen-boron fusion?
As fusion developers around the world race to commercialize fusion energy, TAE Technologies has pioneered the pursuit of the cleanest and most economical path to providing electricity with hydrogen-boron (also known as p-B11 or p11B), an abundant, environmentally sound fuel. In February 2023, we announced in collaboration with Japan’s National Institute for Fusion Science
(NIFS) a noteworthy research advancement: the first-ever hydrogen-boron fusion experiments in a magnetically confined fusion plasma.
In a peer-reviewed paper published by Nature Communications
(“First measurements of p11B fusion in a magnetically confined plasma”), we explain the experimental work of producing the conditions necessary for hydrogen-boron fusion in NIFS’ Large Helical Device (LHD) plasma and TAE’s development of a detector to make measurements of the hydrogen-boron reaction products: helium nuclei, known as alpha particles. The finding reflects years of collaborative international scientific fusion research and represents a milestone in TAE’s mission to develop commercial fusion power with hydrogen-boron, the cleanest, most cost-competitive, and most sustainable fuel cycle for fusion. Learn more about this milestone on TAE’s podcast Good Clean Energy.
What are C-2W/Norman’s dimensions and operating conditions?
C-2W is TAE’s fifth-generation fusion reactor prototype, now named Norman after our late technology co-founder, Dr. Norman Rostoker. Norman is a $150M National Laboratory-scale fusion device that operates on hydrogen and deuterium fuel for the purpose of creating plasma and researching its confinement. From mid-2016 through mid-2017, we constructed Norman from scratch and now perform an average of 650 experiments per month. Norman is roughly 24 meters/80 feet long, 7m/22ft high, and weighs about 27 metric tons/60,000 lbs. The center of the machine sits about 3m/10ft off the floor, and the identical divertor vessels on each end measure about 3.4m/11ft in diameter. Norman consumes up to 750 megawatts of peak power, comparable to a large utility-scale power plant.
What scientific evidence does TAE Technologies have that its approach is sound?
For the past 25 years, TAE has demonstrated compelling evidence that our fusion solution is viable, from fuel cycle to full-scale power management. Our scientific accomplishments routinely appear in peer-reviewed journals, and our research is audited twice a year by an independent science panel that includes Nobel laureates and Maxwell Prize winners (the highest honor in plasma physics). In 2015, our previous experimental machine called C-2U proved that we could confine and hold plasma indefinitely. Our current device, C-2W, a.k.a. “Norman,” has now exceeded the necessary temperature requirements to scale our proprietary compact linear configuration to cost-competitive utility-scale commercial fusion. Visit our Research Library
to learn more.
Who are your investors, advisors, and partners?
TAE has raised more than $1.2 billion in private funding from some of the world’s most sophisticated investors, including Google, Chevron, Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, NEA, Venrock, Wellcome Trust, and the visionary family offices of Addison Fischer, the Samberg Family Foundation, and others.
Our advisors are some of the most experienced and celebrated names in science and industry. Over the years, our independent Science Panel has included multiple Nobel and Maxwell Prize winners. In addition, TAE Technologies enjoys broad support and assistance through a wide spectrum of collaborators comprised of National Laboratories, leading universities, and global industrial players.
How does TAE Technologies collaborate with Google?
TAE Technologies has been in partnership with Google since 2014 to apply machine learning, data science, and advanced computations to our research in order to accelerate progress toward commercial fusion power. Together, we developed the Optometrist Algorithm, which yields improved outcomes when human and machine learning resources work together.
Through this collaboration and other efforts, required programmatic steps that used to take well over a month can be achieved within one day. In addition, we have developed breakthrough capabilities in holistically post-processing and integrating a large set of independent diagnostic measurements to produce high fidelity insights into experimental data at record-breaking scale.
When will TAE Technologies have a working commercial fusion power plant?
Migrating to a predominantly carbon-free energy supply is a top priority, and TAE Technologies was founded with the mission to bring our solution to market as quickly as possible. With our unique approach, track record, and proven original science, we are convinced fusion-based electricity will become a reality, and we have a viable pathway to reactor-level performance. Our next experimental platform, called Copernicus, is currently in development in Irvine, CA. It is designed to operate at 100-150 million degrees Celsius, the temperature benchmark for D-T fusion.
Copernicus will run on hydrogen fuel to demonstrate the viability of net energy generation from TAE’s approach and provide opportunities to license the company’s technology while scaling to our ultimate goal of utilizing hydrogen-boron (p-B11) fuel. We expect commercialization of TAE’s hydrogen-boron fusion power plants to begin by the early 2030s.
Beyond fusion energy, are there additional applications for TAE's proprietary particle accelerator beam technology?
TAE Technologies invested roughly $100 million in patented particle accelerator technology as a cornerstone of our unique fusion configuration. These highly flexible and tunable particle beams inject neutral beams to drive current, heat, and stabilize plasma for fusion. They can also be leveraged for similar innovations in other sectors. In 2017, TAE Technologies created its first subsidiary, TAE Life Sciences,
to adapt our accelerator-based technology for a biologically targeted cancer treatment based on Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) for complex and often inoperable cancers. In 2023, we announced the launch of TAE Power Solutions
to commercialize power delivery systems developed in pursuit of fusion for electric vehicle powertrains and battery energy storage systems.
What is TAE Life Sciences?
TAE Life Sciences was established by TAE Technologies in 2017 to commercialize a biologically targeted radiation treatment based on Boron Neutron Capture Therapy (BNCT) for complex and often inoperable cancers. Leveraging 20 years of accelerator R&D performed by TAE Technologies for its pioneering work in fusion, TAE Life Sciences is developing both targeted boron drugs and a game-changing Alphabeam™ neutron system optimized for installation in a hospital setting to bring new hope to cancer patients.
How did TAE develop its proprietary power management technology?
TAE Technologies had to solve a power problem for fusion. The local grid provides 2 megawatts of power; TAE’s current fusion device, Norman, operates at 750 megawatts. In order to bridge this gap, we needed an extremely scalable energy storage and power delivery system. With no sufficient solution available, TAE developed a proprietary integrated energy storage module that combines any battery with a dedicated controller and converter, which can be assembled into energy storage and power delivery systems for all applications such as fusion research, electric vehicle powertrains, peak shaving, and more.
Has TAE Power Solutions invented a new battery?
The TAE Power Solutions platform works with all battery chemistries and other storage elements like supercapacitors, as well as hybrid systems like hydrogen fuel cells. Regardless of the types of energy storage or battery chemistries used, TAE Power Solutions’ power management and e- mobility technology maximizes performance, ensures the longest life possible, and minimizes system cost.
Are there additional applications for TAE's power management technology?
TAE Technologies’ transformational power management solution for Norman delivers up to 750 megawatts of electricity with highly flexible, efficient and accurate bi-directional, sub-millisecond scale control. TAE has performed considerable due diligence and has not seen any similar competing technology base in the market today. TAE Power Solutions
, publicly announced in 2023, is now developing partnerships to leverage this breakthrough innovation for rapid commercialization in both the e-mobility and stationary energy storage markets to extend range, efficiency, and faster charging of electric vehicles, as well as for deployment in residential, commercial, industrial, and utility-scale electrical grid applications.