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February 13, 2023

Amid national and political fanfare, $2B fusion energy company opens in Devens

Photo | Courtesy of Commonwealth Fusion Systems (From left) Commonwealth Fusion Systems CEO Bob Mumgaard shows off the company's new campus to U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator Edward Markey.

In a ribbon-cutting event attended by the top energy official in President Joe Biden’s administration and both Massachusetts senators, Commonwealth Fusion Systems officially opened its new campus in Devens on Friday.

The 50-acre campus will serve as the company’s corporate headquarters as well as its advanced manufacturing facility. The Devens facility will house CFS’ SPARC system, which is where the company will try to create the world’s first commercially viable net energy fusion machine, which is under construction. 

At Friday’s ceremony Commonwealth Fusion hosted U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), U.S. Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), U.S. Congresswoman Lori Trahan (D-MA), Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll at the company’s new facility. 

“Massachusetts has such a rich history of being on the forefront,” Granholm said the ceremony, according to a Friday CFS press release. “You are on the cutting edge of so much. But this Commonwealth Fusion Systems effort, for the world, could be the most momentous of all.” 

Fusion energy has been one of Biden’s efforts to move America to a more climate-friendly economy, and Biden has pushed for commercially viable fusion energy within the next 10 years. In December, his administration announced researchers had created the first net-positive fusion reaction, although that is a long way from bringing the technology into everyday use.

Photo | Courtesy of Commonwealth Fusion Systems
Commonwealth Fusion Systems campus in Devens.

Commonwealth Fusion spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It became a private company in 2018 and has raised $2 billion from investors, including Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates. The company uses magnetic confinement to create fusion energy. In 2021, CFS and MIT demonstrated CFS could develop commercial fusion energy systems, which is a vital source of renewable energy.

The new Devens facility will house its SPARC facility,  which is expected to be operational in 2025 and is the model the company hopes will show that building viable fusion power plants is possible. The company wants to start feeding fusion energy into the electric grid in the early 2030s. 

“From the beginning, CFS’ mission has been to leverage proven fusion energy science and the speed of the private sector to support the fastest surest path to clean commercial fusion energy to combat climate change. This campus demonstrates our commitment to and execution of that plan, and will be the place where fusion science becomes fusion energy,” CFS CEO Bob Mumgaard said in a press release. 

The new campus will house a manufacturing facility to make Commonwealth Fusions’ magnets for fusion devices. The company’s corporate offices will be based there, and the facility can accommodate any expansion for more research-and-development facilities.

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