Tokamak Energy on track to be the first private company to achieve 100 million degree plasma temperature, paving the way to commercial fusion energy
First plasma in ST40 tokamak after major upgrade
Tokamak Energy, a fast-growing UK company, has unveiled pictures of the plasma in its newly-upgraded spherical tokamak – the ST40. Tokamak Energy’s fusion energy device achieved temperatures hotter than the centre of the sun in 2018 and is now on track to achieve fusion temperatures of 100 million degrees in the coming months. This will be the first time a privately-owned company has delivered this milestone.
Fusion is the way the sun and the stars make energy. Fusion offers the prospect of dispatchable, carbon-free energy by harvesting the energy of “miniature stars” on Earth. Fusion energy can play a key role in global decarbonisation and is part of the UK government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.
Tokamak Energy is a spin-out from the world-leading fusion research centre at Culham Laboratory near Oxford. Building on more than 40 years of world-leading fusion research in the UK, Tokamak Energy is focussed on delivering compact, high-performance fusion devices.
Tokamak Energy CEO Jonathan Carling said, “First plasma is a major milestone on our path to commercial fusion energy. Our ST40 device has been equipped with upgraded power supplies and plasma heating systems over the last year. In the next few months, this device will achieve 100-million-degree plasma temperature, far beyond anything achieved by other private fusion ventures, and the temperature required for commercial fusion energy.”
“We are a privately funded business, but we have certainly benefitted from government grants, including £10m from the Advanced Modular Reactor competition last year.”
“To make an analogy with my time in the jet engine business, first plasma is like a first flight for a new design. We will confirm all our systems work as expected, before we ‘turn on the afterburners’ to reach 100-million-degree plasma temperature.”
Minister for Investment Gerry Grimstone said:
“Tokamak Energy’s venture is testament to the UK’s world leading fusion energy research, and takes us a step closer to turning the UK into a global hub for fusion innovation, as recognised in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution announced last year.
“I look forward to seeing this technology fully developed and commercialised, adding another string to our bow of greener energy solutions that are clean, safe and carbon free.”
Hydrogen plasma in ST40 spherical tokamak after £25m upgrade:
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Picture & video caption: Hydrogen plasma in ST40 spherical tokamak after £25m upgrade.
Credit: Tokamak Energy Ltd
About Tokamak Energy
Established in 2009, Tokamak Energy is a private company working to develop compact fusion power. The company employs 150 people and has over 50 families of patent applications.
Tokamak Energy’s approach to commercial fusion energy is to combine the new technology of high field-strength, high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets with the efficiency advantages of the spherical tokamak design.
Based in Oxford, England, the company is a spin-out from Culham Laboratory, the world-leading centre for magnetic fusion energy research. The company has raised over £117m to date from private investors including Dr. Hans-Peter Wild, L&G Capital and David Harding, CEO of Winton Capital.
Fusion energy will be a key part of a sustainable future, complementing renewables for electricity, hydrogen production, process heat for heavy industry, and desalination.
Tokamak Energy believes the world can have safe, clean, economic and abundant energy for the long-term future, without harming the planet.