X-energy: The Next Generation of Nuclear Reactors
Engineering safe, zero-emission energy solutions for the future
The world’s movement towards a net-zero model faces a major sustainability challenge. Energy demand is expected to grow rapidly over the coming decades, and renewable energy sources are failing to supply sufficient energy to meet the ballooning demand.
Experts believe nuclear energy might be the only large-scale, carbon-free electricity source that can produce sufficient amounts of power while using existing infrastructure to transmit it. Breakthrough technologies have led to the development of a new generation of reactors that improve upon the limitations of aging nuclear plants.
Alumni Ventures portfolio company X-Energy is a nuclear energy company that has distinguished itself from its competitors through technical innovation and commitment to safety. The company’s flagship product utilizes a fourth-generation, small, modular reactor design. Beyond its reactors, X-Energy provides one of the most efficient, safe, clean, and robust fuel forms on the market. X-Energy is helmed by a talented team of executives, investors, and innovators aiming to serve a massive and crucial market — projected to reach $58.4 billion by 2030.
Powering a Post-Carbon Energy World
X-Energy is developing innovative nuclear power solutions as last-generation nuclear plants are being phased out across the United States, Europe, and Asia. The company’s tech relies on High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors (HTGR), which are up to five times more efficient than legacy reactors while being safe, secure, clean, and affordable. Disposing of their waste is also vastly simpler and safer than with outdated designs. In addition, HTGRs’ superior safety allows for more industrial applications compared to their predecessors. HTGRs are also further along in the licensing process than other reactor technologies, such as sodium or molten salt reactors. Other advantages of HTGRs include the secure end-of-life storage for TRISO fuel and the potential for co-production of useful byproducts, including hydrogen and other fuels.
What We Liked About X-energy
Unique Technology: X-Energy’s fourth-generation reactor features robust fuel form and reactor design. Their reactor is safeguarded against meltdowns, vastly less complex than traditional reactors, produces safe/storable waste, and can power a city up to five times more efficiently than conventional reactors.
Global Energy Demand: Energy demand is on track to increase by nearly 50% over the next 30 years. As automotive manufacturers move to electrify their lineups, U.S. energy producers are being forced to keep pace. Nuclear energy will likely enable energy providers to meet demand while achieving clean energy initiatives.
Government Recognition: X-energy has been awarded major nuclear contracts, distinguishing itself from a wide field of competitors, including agreements with the Department of Energy, NASA, Ontario Power, and the Department of Defense.
Team: X-energy has a very strong team including seasoned executives such as the Chairman Kam Ghaffarian (Co-founder of Axiom Space), CEO Clay Sell (former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy), SVP George Vanderheyden (former CEO of UniStar Nuclear Energy) and other leading executives.
How We Are Involved
Westwood Ventures (for the UCLA community) and Towerview Ventures (for the Duke community) co-sponsored Alumni Ventures’ participation in the investment, alongside sibling fund Bascom Ventures (for the Wisconsin community), as well as AV’s Total Access Fund and Deep Tech Fund. Together, the funds deployed capital in X-energy’s $110 million Series B.
C5 Capital is the lead investor in this round. The London-based firm primarily invests in the transformation of critical infrastructure and secure data ecosystems. C5’s notable investments include Alumni Ventures portfolio company Axiom Space, as well as Shape Security, IronNet, and Synack.
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