Tokamak Energy has announced plans for its advanced prototype, ST80-HTS, which will be the world’s first high field spherical tokamak using high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets at scale. The company said ST80-HTS will demonstrate multiple advanced technologies required for the delivery of commercial fusion energy. “With build completion planned in 2026, it will also demonstrate the key operating advantages of the spherical tokamak and inform the design of the ST-E1 fusion pilot plant. This in turn will demonstrate the capability to deliver electricity into the grid in the early 2030s, producing up to 200 MW of net electrical power.”

ST80-HTS will achieve higher sustained triple product (nT?E) than any previous fusion device, approaching the level required for commercial fusion energy. Triple product is a widely recognised fusion industry measure of plasma density, temperature and confinement, collectively a key measure of progress on the path to realising commercial fusion.

In addition, ST80-HTS will push the boundaries of fusion conditions in a compact spherical tokamak, with long pulse (approximately 15 minutes) control of the plasma. “While existing devices have shown that strong triple product results can be achieved for a second or less, typically performance quickly diminishes as pulse duration increases. ST80-HTS will target the significantly longer pulse durations that are needed for sustained high power output in commercially competitive fusion power plants,” Tokamak Energy noted.

Earlier this year, the company’s ST40 spherical tokamak reached a world record-breaking 100M °C plasma temperature in a compact spherical tokamak – the threshold for commercial fusion energy. ST40 also achieved the highest triple product of any private fusion energy company.

Chris Kelsall, CEO of Tokamak Energy said: “At a time of heightened global concern with energy shortages and escalating prices, there is an acute need for new, clean, dispatchable technologies to reduce carbon emissions, provide grid flexibility and security of power supply. Our roadmap for pioneering commercial fusion energy has the potential to deliver a game-changing solution. Our next high field spherical tokamak, the ST80-HTS, has the goal of demonstrating the engineering solutions needed to make commercial fusion energy a reality, providing the foundation for the global deployment of fusion power plants in the mid-2030s.”

Image: The ST80-HTS advanced prototype high field spherical tokamak (courtesy of Tokamak Energy)