US steel company Nucor and Helion Energy plan to develop a 500-MWe nuclear fusion plant at one of Nucor’s steel manufacturing plants.
Steel manufacturing is energy intensive. Nucor is America’s largest steel maker.
The agreement between the two companies, which includes an investment by Nucor in Helion, will accelerate the journey towards sustainable, carbon-free industrial manufacturing, said Helion. By deploying 500 MWe of fusion power, they will make history in the steel sector.
Fusion power will revolutionise energy supply for Nucor’s steel manufacturing operations, providing baseload zero-carbon electricity, says the nuclear fusion company.
Nucor is already a leader in decarbonising the steel industry and this project reinforces the company’s commitment to becoming the cleanest steel manufacturer globally.
This is the first fusion energy agreement of this scale.
In May, Helion announced it had signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with high-tech giant Microsoft to supply electricity generated from its first fusion power plant.
Nucor CEO Leon Topalian emphasised the significance of the collaboration with Helion: “This project marks a tremendous milestone in the potential for the use of nearly limitless clean electricity for industrial manufacturing. By entering this agreement, we are demonstrating our commitment to be the cleanest steel producer in the world, while setting an example for all manufacturing companies.”
Helion CEO David Kirtley added: “We’re passionate about helping the world reduce its dependence on carbon-based energy sources with abundant, clean fusion power. We are excited to partner with Nucor, a leader in decarbonisation in the steel industry. A project like this is only made possible by working with a forward-looking company like Nucor which is committed to decreasing its carbon emissions.”
Helion has constructed six working fusion prototypes and is the world’s first private fusion company to achieve 100mn-degree plasma temperatures. The company is currently building its seventh prototype, Polaris, which is expected to be the first to demonstrate electricity production from fusion.
The company has the backing of three rich tech pioneers: Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI; Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz; and Facebook co-founder Reid Hoffman.