Seattle startup Zap Energy lands $27.5M to build commercial fusion reactor without magnets

New funding: Zap Energy raised a $27.5 million Series B round to fuel development of its fusion reactor that “can become one of the key enablers for a sustainable global energy future,” according to its CEO Benji Conway.

The tech: Founded in 2017, the Seattle-based startup has built a reactor that can stabilize plasma by using sheared flows — fluid flow caused by forces — versus magnetic fields. The idea is to reduce the cost of and shorten the path to low-carbon commercial fusion energy.

Background: Zap traces its roots to research done at the University of Washington and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Conway previously worked for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He co-founded Zap with Uri Shumlak, an aeronautics professor at the UW, and Brian Nelson, an engineering research professor emeritus at the UW.

Addition led the round, which included participation from Energy Impact Partners, GA Capital, Fourth Realm, Chevron Technology Ventures, and LowerCarbon Capital. The startup has raised more than $34 million to date.