EUROfusion https://www.euro-fusion.org European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy Fri, 05 Feb 2016 07:11:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.11 Wendelstein 7-X: ready for centre-stage again https://www.euro-fusion.org/2016/02/wendelstein-7-x-ready-for-centre-stage-again/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/2016/02/wendelstein-7-x-ready-for-centre-stage-again/#comments Tue, 02 Feb 2016 17:35:07 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?p=69713 On 3 February 2016, Wendelstein 7-X will have its first hydrogen plasma discharge after it began operations in December 2015.

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Perhaps, it may be fair to say that Wendelstein 7-X has put the little German college town of Greifswald in the spotlight. The Greifswald campus of EUROfusion consortium member Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics is home to the stellarator Wendelstein 7-X, and it is set for some high-profile action. On 3 February 2016, the device will have its first hydrogen plasma discharge after it began operations in December 2015. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be on site to see the stellarator fire up the hydrogen plasma.

A fascinating outcome of meticulous engineering and fusion research, Wendelstein 7-X is the world’s largest stellarator, and it carries on from where its predecessor Wendelstein 7-AS, the first “Advanced Stellarator,” left off in 2002. With its twisting coils and sophisticated machinery, Wendelstein 7-X will confine plasma with temperatures of up to 100 million degrees and discharges lasting up to 30 minutes, and will be key to investigating a stellarator’s suitability as possible design for a future fusion power plant.

So, why is a hydrogen plasma discharge so important in the Wendelstein 7-X context? José García Regaña, EUROfusion’s responsible officer for Preparation and Exploitation of Wendelstein 7-X and Stellarator Optimisation explains that the knowledge about hydrogen plasma behaviour, understanding its interaction with the plasma facing components and the vessel, and good confinement properties needs to be guaranteed and studied. Wendelstein 7-X, which is one of the devices that contributes to European fusion research carried out under the EUROfusion aegis, aims to demonstrate that an optimized confinement by a careful design of the magnetic field and plasma shape is possible, and that the plasma can be sustained under steady state conditions.

The first hydrogen plasma discharge event is set to be streamed live from Greifswald on 3 February 2016 so everyone can tune into the action!

picture of a map showing types, venues as well as ownership of the experiments and devices operating for the EUROfusion Consortium.

The map shows types, venues as well as ownership of the experiments and devices operating for the EUROfusion Consortium. The research in these facilities is motivated by the requirements written down in the ‘Roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy’. Wendelstein 7-X, the only stellarator device on the map, is seen in blue.

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Education & Training https://www.euro-fusion.org/programme/education-training/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/programme/education-training/#comments Wed, 27 Jan 2016 12:12:16 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?page_id=63872 Investing in the future Education and training for the next generation of fusion experts As increasing expectation and anticipation surrounds fusion research, there is growing scientific consensus that fusion is well-poised to be the future source of unlimited and clean energy. In a world facing growing energy demands and fast-depleting […]

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Investing in the future

Education and training for the next generation of fusion experts

As increasing expectation and anticipation surrounds fusion research, there is growing scientific consensus that fusion is well-poised to be the future source of unlimited and clean energy. In a world facing growing energy demands and fast-depleting fuel resources, realising the potential of fusion might be the solution to the impending global energy crisis.

A vital step to fully participate in a world where fusion will be realised is to invest in the training and education of fusion experts. And, one core function of EUROfusion, which manages and funds the European research activities, is to co-ordinate the training and education activities for European fusion research. Working within European Commission’s framework for research and innovation, EUROfusion supports PhD and pre-doctoral candidates working on fusion research and has established research and engineering grants to fund the training of approximately 30 engineers and scientists every year.

A quick glance at the EUROfusion funding allocation for Education and Training

Image:  Education and training received around 16% of EUROfusion's budget in 2014-2015. Source: EUROfusion.

Image: Education and training received around 16% of EUROfusion’s budget in 2014-2015. Source: EUROfusion.

Education

The EUROfusion General Assembly, the highest decisive body in the consortium, allocates a budget to support fusion-related PhD and pre-doctoral studies of students from member states. In certain cases, master students working on theses related to fusion may be offered support to participate in schools and conferences.

Training

Two types of grants are offered under the scheme EUROfusion Researcher Grants which supports about ten post-doctoral researchers or equivalent for up to two years and EUROfusion Engineering Grants which provide funding for around 20 engineers for a period of three years.

EUROfusion Researcher Grants

Every year EUROfusion sends out a call for proposals. The proposals must be supported and sent by the respective members of the EUROfusion General Assembly.

The proposed research project must be a scientific or technical topic relevant to the objectives of the European Fusion Programme. The core criterion for awarding the grant is the qualification of the candidate and the merit of his/her proposal.

EUROfusion Engineering Grants

This grant provides funding for approximately 20 engineers or technicians each year for a period of three years. The programmes must address one or more of the high priority areas, which are defined by the EUROfusion Programme Manager in agreement with partner organisations such as Fusion for Energy, the European Domestic Agency for ITER.

The action is directed at engineers of all nationalities, who are in the early years of their careers.

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Plasma physics at your fingertips https://www.euro-fusion.org/2016/01/plasma-physics-at-your-fingertips/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/2016/01/plasma-physics-at-your-fingertips/#comments Mon, 25 Jan 2016 17:39:07 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?p=68943 Swiss Plasma Center (SPC), a EUROfusion consortium member, begins new edition of MOOC on plasma physics and its applications.

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Aspiring plasma physicists and future fusion researchers could start their training from their living rooms. École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s Swiss Plasma Center (SPC), a EUROfusion consortium member, has kicked off the latest MOOC edition on plasma physics and its applications. The course which is set to run for nine weeks started on January 25, 2016, and will cover a range of titles from basics of plasma physics to advanced concepts in fusion.

EUROfusion fellow Christian Theiler, who has played a key role in putting the latest MOOC edition together, says that the team has implemented feedback from the previous courses and improved transcripts and assignments. In the current edition, the students will also have access to MATLAB Online, a tool which is crucial to churning out some of the plasma physics computations.

SPC Director Ambrogio Fasoli, who is also one of the course instructors, says that the team was aware that plasma physics needs more reach in many countries. And, when the previous edition saw an enrolment more than 6,000 participants, it was clear that the course was especially useful for students from countries that have little or no tradition in plasma physics and fusion. “We are happy to have reached many people in so many different places, to have received constructive criticism, which in turn helped preparing the [current] version of the course,” says Fasoli. The current course already has an enrolment of about 2,500. It is hosted on the edX platform, and the medium of instruction is English.

Further details are available on the dedicated course pages on edX and the SPC news webpage.

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Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #24 https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-24/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-24/#comments Thu, 24 Dec 2015 03:00:19 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?p=66723 Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #24: Investigating nano fluids

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As we approach the Christmas season, it’s time to start the countdown:
In the next 24 days we will be looking at 24 technologies that have either benefited from or are the by-products of fusion research.

#24 Investigating nano fluids

Research is being carried out to investigate the use of nano fluids to improve the cooling of surfaces within fusion reactors that are exposed to extremely high temperatures. Nano fluids are a mixture of liquids, typically water, and nanoparticles that are less than 100 nanometres in diameter. The nanoparticles being investigated for nuclear applications include: alumina, ceramics, and carbon nanotubes. Nanofluids exhibit dramatically improved thermophysical properties in comparison with conventional coolants. The fusion community has already recognised that these nanofluids have the potential to enhance any application that uses water or oil-based convective cooling. These include a variety of fields: the automotive industry, electronics, semiconductors, aerospace, heat exchangers, and gas turbines.

Image:  Inside  a carbon nanotube. Mstroeck at the English language Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Common.

Image: Inside a carbon nanotube. Mstroeck at the English language Wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/), GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Common.

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Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #23 https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-23/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-23/#comments Wed, 23 Dec 2015 03:00:20 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?p=66722 Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #23: Space and astrophysical plasmas

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As we approach the Christmas season, it’s time to start the countdown:
In the next 24 days we will be looking at 24 technologies that have either benefited from or are the by-products of fusion research.

#23 Space and astrophysical plasmas

Space and astrophysical plasma research involves the study of plasma physics occurring throughout the universe, extending from earth’s upper atmosphere to the farthest reaches of the cosmos. The common thread of theoretical physics runs through space, astrophysics, laboratory and fusion energy plasmas. Research into these fields overlap and knowledge gained through fusion energy experiments can be utilized for the understanding of space and astrophysical plasmas, especially with regard to magnetic reconnection, plasma turbulence, magnetic dynamos, and multi-scale transport. The development of numerical models and the assimilation of data into predictive models are also areas of fruitful overlap. In a properly scaled and controlled laboratory experiment, the subtle physics details can be studied using plasma diagnostics with extraordinary spatial and temporal resolution. Fusion energy research, therefore, provides a valuable, complementary approach to understanding basic and applied space plasma physics.

Image: The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured this richly detailed new image of the Lagoon Nebula, an example of astrophysical plasma.  By ESO/VPHAS+ team (http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1403a/) [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Image: The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) at ESO’s Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured this richly detailed new image of the Lagoon Nebula, an example of astrophysical plasma. By ESO/VPHAS+ team (http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1403a/) [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #22 https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-22/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-22/#comments Tue, 22 Dec 2015 03:00:54 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?p=66720 Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #22: A cooling device

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As we approach the Christmas season, it’s time to start the countdown:
In the next 24 days we will be looking at 24 technologies that have either benefited from or are the by-products of fusion research.

#22 A cooling device

Image: Mono-block cooling device component manufactured by Plansee. http://www.esa-tec.eu/fusion-technologies/from-fusion/mono-block-cooling-device-component

Image: Mono-block cooling device component manufactured by Plansee. http://www.esa-tec.eu/fusion-technologies/from-fusion/mono-block-cooling-device-component

Its day 22 of advent and on out fusion spin-off list: Cooling device components that have exacting specifications are vital to fusion devices. Some of the features a fusion cooling device must possess include high melting and sublimation points, high resistance to physical and chemical sputtering, and a concurrent high thermal conductivity with low neutron-activation capacity. To meet these requirements, Austrian manufacturer Plansee developed a cooling device component in a mono-block design comprising a plasma facing material heat shield that has parts made from tungsten, a tungsten alloy, and a graphitic or a carbidic material; it also has a through-hole with a pipe for a cooling fluid circulation. Through the FUTTA project, EUROfusion expects the invention to find application in other areas such as space technology.

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Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #21 https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-21/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-21/#comments Mon, 21 Dec 2015 03:00:38 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?p=66718 Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #21: CeBr scintillators

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As we approach the Christmas season, it’s time to start the countdown:
In the next 24 days we will be looking at 24 technologies that have either benefited from or are the by-products of fusion research.

#21 CeBr scintillators

Image: A scintillation crystal surrounded by various packaged scintillation products. By Saint-Gobain Crystals (Saint-Gobain Crystals owned.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Image: A scintillation crystal surrounded by various packaged scintillation products. By Saint-Gobain Crystals (Saint-Gobain Crystals owned.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Scintillators, materials that re-emit the absorbed energy in the form of light, are used in fusion devices for diagnostics involving gamma-ray radiation measurements. To obtain reliable results, the fusion community requires scintillators with fast response times. Fusion researchers have developed CeBr (cerium bromide) scintillators that have a response time of less than 20 nanoseconds. Previously used gamma ray detectors had been unsatisfactory in their time resolution, limiting their applications in medical positron emission tomography (PET) scanners and material science measurements. The CeBr scintillators not only show a good response time but can also be used in an environment where the temperature is variable.

Patient services that involve use of positron emission tomography (PET) scans definitely improve from the new scintillators because it will result in reducing measurement time and a decrease in the strength of a line source. CeBr scintillators are also currently being investigated for use in space missions by ESA, in particular for gamma ray detection.

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Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #20 https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-20/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-20/#comments Sun, 20 Dec 2015 03:00:39 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?p=66714 Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #20: ERO code

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As we approach the Christmas season, it’s time to start the countdown:
In the next 24 days we will be looking at 24 technologies that have either benefited from or are the by-products of fusion research.

20 ERO code

ERO is a code that solves the kinetic equations of impurities in tokamak plasma in the vicinity of material surfaces such limiters (the parts of a fusion device nearest the plasma) or divertors (a device within a tokamak that allows the online removal of waste material from the plasma while the reactor is still operating). In the EUROfusion device JET, the code is already used to investigate carbon-13 marker injection experiments, migration of eroded wall material to remote areas, erosion of poloidal limiters, quantification of beryllium sputtering yields on poloidal limiters, and migration of beryllium from the plasma facing wall onto the tungsten divertor. The use of this ERO code can spread to beyond fusion into areas that involve plasma-wall interactions, such as plasma gasification of waste, electrostatic and electromagnetic space propulsion systems, and effects of space plasmas on spacecraft.

Image: for representational purposes only. Image Source and Credit: By Crusher95 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Image: for representational purposes only. Image Source and Credit: By Crusher95 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #19 https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-19/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-19/#comments Sat, 19 Dec 2015 04:00:30 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?p=66709 Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #19: Preventing unwanted oscillations in electron beam tubes

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As we approach the Christmas season, it’s time to start the countdown:
In the next 24 days we will be looking at 24 technologies that have either benefited from or are the by-products of fusion research.

#19 Preventing unwanted oscillations in electron beam tubes

Image source: FUTTA webpage. http://www.esa-tec.eu/fusion-technologies/from-fusion/prevention-of-parasitic-oscillations-in-electron-beam-tubes/

Image source: FUTTA webpage. http://www.esa-tec.eu/fusion-technologies/from-fusion/prevention-of-parasitic-oscillations-in-electron-beam-tubes/

Electron beam tubes, such as gyrotrons, are used in fusion devices to transfer high energy through high frequency electromagnetic oscillations. However, unwanted oscillations, termed parasitic oscillations, occur during the transfer process and greatly reduce the efficiency of energy transfer. To prevent this, researchers used alternately arranged metal rings, with corrugations on the inner surface, and ceramic rings. These rings prevent the rise of parasitic oscillations that could damage the tube. The technology has successfully been applied in the nuclear fusion domain. Further application areas include application to space technology for high frequency communication in satellites.

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Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #18 https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-18/ https://www.euro-fusion.org/2015/12/fusion-spin-off-advent-calendar-18/#comments Fri, 18 Dec 2015 07:21:15 +0000 https://www.euro-fusion.org/?p=66570 Fusion Spin-Off Advent Calendar #18: Manifolds for a fusion reactor

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As we approach the Christmas season, it’s time to start the countdown:
In the next 24 days we will be looking at 24 technologies that have either benefited from or are the by-products of fusion research.

#18 Manifolds for a fusion reactor

In the Wendelstein 7-X plasma vessel, 4,500 metres of coolant pipes have been installed. The complex shape of the plasma vessel meant that designing the coolant pipe system was challenging. German manufacturer Dockweiler AG, installed pipe manifolds that met the devices specification. To do this, the manufacturer developed a special orbital welding method. The process is now being applied to the semiconductor industry.

Coolant pipe system for the cryostat (left) and the plasma vessel of Wendelstein 7-X. Image and caption credit: Wendelstein 7-X and fusion – At the cutting edge of technology, brochure by Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics.

Coolant pipe system for the cryostat (left) and the plasma vessel of Wendelstein 7-X. Image and caption credit: Wendelstein 7-X and fusion – At the cutting edge of technology, brochure by Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics.

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