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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Swedish Blykalla secures €6.8M for industrialization of lead-cooled SMRs

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Blykalla, a Stockholm-based company specializing in advanced small modular reactors (SMRs), has secured €6.8 million (80 million SEK) in funding from investors including Norrsken Launcher, Nucleation Capital, Earth Venture Capital, Farvatn, and private investors. This funding will support the industrialization of their lead-cooled SMRs, particularly the SEALER reactor, which utilizes unique safety features and corrosion-tolerant steel alloys for efficient cooling with liquid lead. The SEALER aims to offer faster deployment and lower costs compared to traditional nuclear power, enabling industrial decarbonization and a circular waste model. Blykalla plans to license the technology in Sweden and is exploring partnerships for off-grid heat and electricity production. CEO Jacob Stedman notes a growing interest in nuclear power from energy-intensive industries seeking to decarbonize.

One of these key innovations is Blykalla’s corrosion-tolerant steel alloys, which enable the efficient cooling of reactors with liquid lead. With this technological breakthrough, Blykalla can achieve effective serial production, leading to faster deployment and lower costs than conventional nuclear power. The SEALER also enables nuclear power to be used for decarbonizing industrial applications through hydrogen, biochar, and biofuel production, in addition to providing local electricity production. Finally, this technology helps realize a circular waste model. Compared to conventional nuclear power, the SEALER’s fuel cycle can extract up to 140 times more energy from uranium ore, thereby producing only a fraction of the waste, which needs to be stored for just 1% of the deposit time.

Rod Adams, Managing partner at Nucleation Capital, says: “We are very pleased to be able to invest in Blykalla, a group with unique and highly competitive anti-corrosion technology for use in their relatively mature lead-cooled reactor design. This technology will enable these reactors to outperform as an advanced nuclear design, capable of bringing reliable and carbon-free power to energy buyers around the world.”

Norrsken, who co-led the company’s seed round with Uniper in 2022, states: “Blykalla is building a world-class team to take the company’s unique IP towards rapid industrialization. This technology will be critical for the European transition to green, safe, baseload energy so desperately needed to decarbonize industries, securing grid reliability, and delivering on the immense needs of powering AI,” according to Erik Engellau-Nilsson, Partner at Norrsken Launcher.

Tien Nguyen, founding partner at Earth Venture Capital, comments: “Our investment in Blykalla underscores a firm belief in deep-tech at a moment when Southeast Asia’s need for clean, sustainable energy is undeniable. With Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand at the forefront, SMR powered demand is estimated to exceed 10 GW by 2035. This reflects an acute need for energy solutions that can drive economic growth while ensuring climate sustainability. Blykalla’s innovative approach is perfectly aligned to address this challenge, offering a scalable, efficient energy solution.”

Blykalla is currently in preparatory work to license the technology in Sweden, a regulatory environment that is quickly adapting to the development of new nuclear power. An important step to industrialize and qualify the technology is to build the electric test reactor in Oskarshamn, Sweden, that is being developed together with OKG (Uniper’s Swedish subsidiary) and KTH (the Royal Institute of Technology). In parallel, the company is in discussions with industrial partners to support building nuclear reactors for off-grid heat and electricity production. Blykalla has so far garnered market interest from actors within mining, steel, and other energy-intensive industries.

Jacob Stedman, Blykalla’s CEO, comments: “It is fantastic to be part of this nuclear renaissance, and to see how much interest in nuclear power there is from businesses as regulatory conditions are falling into place. The SEALERs features, cost, and output makes it perfectly suited for industrial users looking to decarbonize and become sole offtakers, or even owners, of SMRs. It mirrors the strong and urgent need from the industry to secure access to clean and competitive energy. After all, this will be decisive for the industry’s green transition and continued growth.”

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Nurcin Metingil
Nurcin Metingil
A permanent student, a passionate first reader and nowadays doing master’s degree in Publishing Management. Beside these, I am up for games! I have been playing games since I was 6. Now, I am whispering "Business. Business. Numbers. Is this working?"

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