Research & Development

Nuclear Fusion / UK Company Builds ‘World-First’ Set Of Super Magnets

By David Dalton
7 February 2023

Breakthrough a ‘game changer’ for getting clean, limitless energy

UK Company Builds ‘World-First’ Set Of Super Magnets
Staff at Tokamak Energy mark the completion of the first set of HTS magnets for the Demo4 facility. Courtesy Tokamak Energy.

A UK company has announced it has built world-first set of high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets that can be used for testing nuclear fusion power plants.

Tokamak Energy said the Demo4 magnet has a magnetic field strength that is nearly a million times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field, making it capable of confining and controlling the extremely hot plasma created during the fusion process.

Tokamak Energy is aiming to be the first private company to produce commercial fusion energy, with the goal of demonstrating grid-ready fusion in the early 2030s.

Fusion is the phenomenon which powers the sun. The challenge is to control the complexities involved in replicating this process to produce a clean, abundant but also commercially viable source of power.

Tokamak Energy’s new Demo4 facility will consist of 44 individual magnetic coils recently manufactured using 38 km of ground-breaking HTS tape, which carries currents with zero electrical resistance and requires five times less cooling power than traditional superconducting materials.

Full assembly at Tokamak Energy’s headquarters near Oxford will be complete this year and testing will extend into 2024. Results of testing will be used for the company’s advanced prototype, ST80-HTS, and subsequent fusion power plant ST-E1.

Dr Rod Bateman, HTS magnet development manager at Tokamak Energy said: “This is a huge, visible moment that we’re really excited about.

“Our magnets enable the construction and operations of spherical tokamaks, and so are a game changer for getting clean, limitless fusion energy on the grid faster.”

Demo4 will allow the company to create substantial magnetic forces and test them in fusion power plant-relevant scenarios. Importantly, it will substantially progress the technology readiness level of HTS magnets as a key part of Tokamak Energy’s mission to demonstrate grid-ready fusion in the early 2030s.

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