Tokamak Energy’s upgraded fusion energy device, ST40, has achieved first plasma after recently returning to operations, as part of the company’s mission to demonstrate clean, grid-ready power by the early 2030s.
The company demonstrated a world-first by reaching a plasma temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius in the ST40 tokamak earlier this year. This is the threshold required for commercial fusion energy and the highest temperature ever achieved in a privately funded spherical tokamak.
Tokamak Energy’s ST40 was back in action after a rapid upgrade programme. This includes the installation of a new Thomson scattering high-powered laser system to give greater insights into plasma behaviour, by measuring both temperature and density at many points in the plasma.
The new experiments, which can reach plasma temperatures more than six times hotter than the core of the sun, relate to future features that will be incorporated in the company’s recently announced ST80-HTS advanced prototype fusion device and the fusion pilot plant, ST-E1.
Chris Kelsall, Tokamak Energy CEO, said: “We’re in a race against time to phase out fossil fuels and make fusion energy a globally available solution for the world’s energy needs.
“Our upgraded ST40 with its new high-powered laser measurement system will help us move forward on our mission to achieve clean, secure, low cost and globally deployable commercial fusion energy. These tests will also develop critical know-how on operating future fusion power plants.”
Tokamak Energy is a leading commercial fusion energy company based near Oxford. It is pursuing the global deployment of commercial fusion through the combined development of spherical tokamaks with high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets.
Fusion can provide a transformative global source of limitless, clean, low cost, safe energy, as well as delivering energy security and playing a complementary role in building a net zero world.