NearStar Fusion Accelerates Global Energy Innovation in Fairfax County
State and local officials gathered on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, to celebrate a ribbon-cutting at Fairfax County-based NearStar Fusion, a fusion energy development company. Founded in 2021, NearStar Fusion’s team of physicists and engineers is developing an innovative, pulsed approach to fusion energy with the goal of powering the globe with clean, compact resilient energy.
The Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC), the nonprofit operations arm of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA), announced at the event that NearStar Fusion had been awarded a $75,000 Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) grant. This grant will help fund the design, computationally model, build, and experimentally demonstrate the operation of a plasma side injector, a critical enabling component of NearStar Fusion’s technology.
“We are thrilled to receive a CCF grant from VIPC,” said Dr. Doug Witherspoon, Founder, President and Chief Scientist of NearStar Fusion. “Fusion energy has promise to provide virtually unlimited clean electric power, but with technical challenges ahead. Overcoming them will change the world. We are excited to receive this funding to allow NearStar to take the first step in proving our fusion design.”
As one of an estimated 33 fusion research companies in the free world, as of 2022, NearStar Fusion is one of the plethora of emerging tech and innovation research companies in many industry sectors that call Fairfax County home. Worldwide, the fusion industry is exhibiting huge growth, according to the Fusion Industry Association, reported Forbes.
Based in Chantilly, NearStar Fusion is developing a new pulsed approach to fusion energy that builds on successful methods of imploding metallic liners to create fusion and help power the globe with a clean and limitless source of energy.
“I am excited that Nearstar Fusion is located in the Sully District. It’s great that they were able to receive VIPC investment to further their work,” said Sully District Supervisor Kathy Smith, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. “They are a forward-looking company, and it was interesting to hear about the work they’re doing.”
NearStar’s objective is to simplify fusion technology, using mostly off-the-shelf equipment and materials to expedite the development path to practical fusion energy. An additional application of NearStar Fusion’s research includes interplanetary spacecraft propulsion.
Click here to view NearStar Fusion’s animation of a Hypervelocity Gradient Field Fusion (HGFF) power plant in operation.
Click here to see NearStar Fusion’s animation of a crewed spacecraft using HGFF for interplanetary propulsion.
“We are pleased to award a CCF grant to NearStar Fusion,” said Sean Mallon, VIPC’s Vice President for Commercialization. “VIPC’s CCF grant program plays an important role in getting funding to Virginia-based pre-seed and seed-stage startups when they need it most. Our goal is to help Virginia companies grow and lead the nation in innovation, opportunity, and job creation. With its unique approach to leveraging plasma side injectors to accelerate fuel capsules, NearStar Fusion is innovating a very important component of a future fusion reactor.”
VIPC’s CCF programs have distributed more than $46 million to Virginia-based startups, entrepreneurs and university-based inventors since 2012. CCF accepts applications and awards funding on a rolling basis to Virginia’s small businesses and university-based innovators. This competitive grant program seeks to fund high-potential Virginia-based for-profit technology companies at the early stage of commercialization and provides grants up to $75,000. The grants support early technology and market validation efforts such as customer discovery, market research, business model validation, development of prototypes or a minimum viable product (MVP), customer pilots, intellectual property protection, team development, and more. For more information on funding opportunities and eligibility requirements, or to apply visit: www.VirginiaIPC.org.
Click here to learn more about NearStar Fusion.