25 February 2021. Fusion energy is set to become the first clean and renewable massive energy source of the century. The project for the development of the ITER experimental fusion reactor is one of the keys to achieve this. This is the greatest scientific research project on energy in all history. Its purpose is to create a small and powerful Sun on Earth using technology to validate its commercial possibilities as a source of clean, safe, robust, and high-quality energy. For the reactor to produce energy fusing hydrogen atoms, it needs powerful devices to heat up the plasma, its fuel, up to 150 million degrees centigrade: ten times hotter than the sun’s core.
In this context, AVS and the TECNALIA technology centre have joined forces to contribute towards the development of the ITER plasma heating system to reach the necessary high temperature. They have been selected by F4E (Fusion for Energy), a EU organisation that manages Europe’s contribution to ITER, to participate in the MITICA project. This project aims to develop and validate the plasma heating system by the collision of neutral atoms. MITICA plans the construction of a prototype on a 1:1 scare for particle injection with one million volts and a power of 16.5 MW. This system, which is essential to achieve the 150ºC required to operate ITER, will be the largest and most powerful system ever built.
The role of AVS and TECNALIA consists of developing the critical elements between the sources and the experimental reactor itself: the neutraliser, the residual ion discharge system and the calorimeter (target), so these are ready to prepare, adjust, measure, and absorb the unparalleled heating power of 16.5 MW. The final design and its subsequent manufacturing, assembling, and testing will take place at the AVS facilities in Elgoibar (Gipuzkoa) with the collaboration of TECNALIA. These works will start in 2021 and will last until 2023, when it is expected to be installed and tested at the facilities of the the RFX Consortium (PRIMA), in Padua (Italy).
This project recognises the extensive experience of the consortium in this context. On the one hand, AVS is a leading company in the design and development of complex equipment for the market of Large Scientific and Space Facilities in the world. It has been specifically working for ITER in different projects for over 8 years. On the other hand, TECNALIA is a benchmark technological centre in Europe that is collaborating in the ITER project in different areas such as the characterisation of materials and components of the ITER internal wall, the development of methods to join and repair components, the manufacturing of prototypes of different sensors and measuring devices, among others.
AVS has state-of-the-art technology, conceptualising and implementing critical systems that help solve the great scientific challenges faced by humanity. With offices in Europe and subsidiaries in the United Kingdom and the United States, AVS has a multinational team of highly-qualified professionals that meet the most demanding requirements in the fields of Particle Physics, Fusion, Astrophysics, and Space.
TECNALIA is a leading research and technological development centre in Europe, with 1,400 professionals representing 30 different nationalities, focusing on transforming technology into GDP to improve people's quality of life, by creating business opportunities for companies. TECNALIA’s key areas of action are: Digital Transformation, Advanced Manufacturing, Energy Transition, Sustainable Mobility, Urban Ecosystem and Health.
For further information
- TECNALIA: Itziar Blanco (+34 681 273 464)
- AVS: Silvia Iriarte (+34 943 821 841)