ITOCHU Announces the Formation of a Capital and Business Alliance with Blue Laser Fusion Inc., a Fusion Energy Startup

March 7, 2024

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it will accept shares of Blue Laser Fusion Inc. (headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the U.S.; Shuji Nakamura, CEO; hereinafter, "BLF"). a fusion*1 energy-related startup, through a third-party allotment, while simultaneously concluding a strategic and business alliance agreement with BLF regarding fusion energy-related businesses and other related businesses in which the laser technology developed by BLF will be used.

Environment surrounding fusion energy

Fusion energy is a source of energy that keeps the stars in the universe shining, including the sun. If it can be used practically, it is believed that it will be possible to stably generate a large amount of energy using a small amount of fuel. The energy does not emit carbon dioxide throughout its energy generation process. In addition, since it does not require fossil fuels, unlike conventional thermal power generation, it has been drawing attention globally as the ultimate in clean energy that provides a solution to global environmental issues and energy source depletion problems. The Integrated Innovation Strategy Promotion Council, an initiative led by the Cabinet Office, formulated its fusion energy innovation strategy in April 2023. As a result, movement toward the industrialization of fusion energy is accelerating in Japan as demonstrated by the establishment of the Fusion Industry Council., which has the goal of strengthening partnerships between the public, private, and academic sectors.

BLF, a startup that aims to commercialize its original laser-based fusion reactor

BLF is a start-up company established in November 2022. Mr. Shuji Nakamura, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of a high-brightness blue light laser diode, is one of BLF's co-founders. It is working to commercialize a laser-based fusion reactor using a high-powered laser that is being developed in-house. The laser-based fusion method has been drawing attention recently following the successful demonstration experiment carried out in December 2022 at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory2 in the United States. In addition, instead of conventional fusion mainly fueled by deuterium and tritium, BLF aims to develop a very safe fusion reactor that does not generate neutron radiation by using advanced fuels composed of boron and other materials.

Purpose of the capital and business alliance

Following the growth strategies formulated for the realization of a decarbonized society, ITOCHU has been continuously implementing measures to achieve its related goals. In light of this investment, ITOCHU will move forward with its collaboration with BLF for the commercialization of fusion energy, while also seeking to promote alliances with a range of fusion energy-related industries and companies leveraging its global network. ITOCHU will work to facilitate the practical use of fusion energy, thereby contributing to the provision of solutions to global environmental issues and energy source depletion problems.

  • ※1Fusion is a reaction in which the nuclei of light atoms fuse with each other and form another nucleus. A large amount of energy is generated when the reaction occurs. In the research and development of fusion energy, fusion reactions are artificially generated with the aim of sustainably extracting energy in the form of electricity and heat, for example, without emitting carbon dioxide. In addition, a high level of safety is guaranteed because a fusion reactor can stop its reaction by cutting off the externally supplied fuel and power sources.
  • ※2Source:Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's The Age Of Ignition (2023)

Company name : Blue Laser Fusion Inc.
Representative : Shuji Nakamura
Headquarters : Palo Alto, California, the United States
Established : November 5, 2022