TerraPower: An Advanced Nuclear Energy Solution
Keeping pace with the growing global demand for energy, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions is one of the biggest problems facing the world today. That’s why the world energy crisis was an early focus for the inventors at Intellectual Ventures. After exploring the challenge in our multidisciplinary invention sessions, IV turned its attention to nuclear energy. Unlike most alternative energy solutions, nuclear offers the potential for carbon-free baseload energy.
The combined efforts of scientists, engineers and inventors at IV developed into TerraPower, which became its own company in 2008. TerraPower is working to develop a traveling wave reactor (TWR) that avoids the limitations of current nuclear plants.
Some of the unique elements of TerraPower’s design:
- Uses the 90% of uranium now considered useless as its main fuel
- Eliminates the need for reprocessing facilities and eventually, enrichment plants
- Relies on basic physics and redundant safety systems for improved security
- Lasts for decades without need for refueling
What if you could turn waste into energy? What if that waste could meet the U.S. residential sector’s energy needs for the next 700 years? These are the questions that a roster of investors that includes Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates and Charles River Ventures are asking themselves, TerraPower is refining its TWR design and expects to build a test reactor within the next decade. Ultimately, TWR will offer a path to zero-emission, proliferation-resistant energy that produces significantly smaller amounts of nuclear waste than conventional nuclear reactors. TerraPower is also producing valuable research on fast reactors and pioneering materials development for advanced nuclear energy systems.
Breakthroughs like these power our belief that invention is the driver of all progress. Learn more about TerraPower here. Intellectual Ventures. A global inventions company.