Watch: Tokamak Prototype Heats Up to 15 Million Degrees CelsiusS. Himmelstein | June 07, 2018
The ST40 spherical tokamak reactor developed by Oxfordshire, U.K.-based Tokamak Energy has achieved plasma temperatures of over 15 million degrees Celsius. The milestone was accomplished with the third machine in a five-stage plan that Tokamak Energy believes will lead to commercial fusion energy by the end of the next decade.
Now that a plasma temperature hotter than the center of the Sun has been realized, the private fusion energy venture plans to advance the technology needed to achieve the temperatures necessary for controlled fusion here on Earth. This will entail reaching 100 million degrees Celsius to force together charged deuterium and tritium particles and create controlled fusion.
Tokamak Energy engineers combine spherical tokamaks with high-temperature superconducting magnets in a technique called merging compression to create a more compact, cheaper approach than the much larger, traditional, ring-shaped chambers. The technology sends high electric currents through the internal coils of the ST40, requiring power supplies to deliver thousands of amps in seconds.
The company plans to produce industrial scale energy by 2025.