General Fusion to open 60,000 sq ft HQ near YVR

With a new major facility on Sea Island, the firm aims to accelerate the development of its clean technology.

Four months ago fusion energy company General Fusion announced that it would build a demonstration plant near Oxford, UK. Today, the firm revealed a new development significantly closer to home.

This morning, the 19-year-old company, announced that it would relocate and expand its headquarters in Richmond, BC in order to expedite the commercialization of its fusion technology. It has partnered with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) to lease a 60,000 square foot facility at the airport on Sea Island, with the intention to begin relocating before the end of 2021.

Why it matters: General Fusion's new headquarters anchors the company in BC as it continues its UK and US expansion, and the relocation will allow the company to more than quadruple its workforce over the next few years. In addition, as the company aims to harness its tech to power society with clean energy, the new facility will provide space for a new demonstration prototype that will provide essential performance validation and operational data supporting the commercialization of its Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) technology.

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Details: The new facility near YVR will host the company's corporate offices, its primary fusion technology development organization, and many of its engineering laboratories. Although General Fusion, which is backed by the Canadian, UK, and US governments, is globally recognized, its CEO, Christofer Mowry, is bullish on BC as a place to scale his company. “British Columbia is at the centre of a thriving, world-class technology innovation ecosystem — just the right place for us to continue investing in our growing workforce and the future of our company,” he said. “We are proud to be headquartered here and be an important leader in the world’s energy transition to a low carbon future.”

YVR recently introduced an innovation hub with the goal of driving the development of new and emerging technologies in BC and supporting its goal of becoming net-zero by 2030. The organization is actively advancing partnerships — including this one — and solutions that have the potential to solve challenges outside of aviation and for the benefit of the community and economy that supports it, according to new CEO, Tamara Vrooman. “At YVR, we strive to foster and facilitate partnerships that advance clean technology and align with our ambitious climate and sustainability goals,” she said. “General Fusion relocating its headquarters to our airport community and expanding its operation on Sea Island will enable greater progress toward bringing zero-carbon energy to the world.”

General funding: General Fusion has raised at least $200 million in funding or commitments, with a majority of those funds from private sources; however, the Canadian government has provided a significant amount of funding too from Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the Strategic Innovation Fund. Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has also invested in the startup, in addition to Cenovus Energy, Singaporean investment firms Temasek and GIC, and the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

Other major players in the global fusion energy space include TAE Technologies in Orange County, California, the UK’s Tokamak Energy and Seattle’s Zap Energy.

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