As industry recognised experts in the manufacture of high integrity welded structures, LTi was approached by fusion energy pioneers Tokamak Energy, to manufacture a pressure vessel vacuum chamber for the company’s innovative spherical Tokamak ST40 fusion reactor prototype.
LTi’s support would be vital in enabling Tokamak Energy to manufacture their reactor – a world-first reactor at a fraction of the standard industry size, offering the potential to eliminate the legacy problems of radioactive waste and another solution to help beat the energy crisis.
By combining high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets with spherical tokamak technologies, the ST40 reactor is able to produce the perfect conditions for fusion power with plasma temperatures that are even hotter than the centre of the sun. The fusion reaction process itself is then generated when the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium within the plasma collide and fuse together to release huge amounts of energy.
Given the globe’s unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels and the ongoing fight against rising carbon emissions, fusion energy is so exciting, as it offers the potential to produce clean and virtually limitless energy supplies.
In this project, LTi needed to identify and create a new vacuum vessel chamber design that could meet their customer’s specification, performance and quality requirements and be delivered within their time-frame.
However, in order to achieve this there were a number of challenges they would need to be able to meet:
Drawing on their extensive expertise of designing and manufacturing high-end pressure vessels, LTi was able to turn Tokamak Energy’s ideas into reality with a strong stainless-steel structure.
Working to EN 13445 European Pressure Vessel Standards, which sets the required minimum standards in the design, fabrication and inspection of vessels, LTi conceptualized an IVC Angled Support Fabrication structure, which they developed through a number of steps:
LTi was able to successfully develop and deliver a pressure vessel structure that met their customer’s specification, high levels of quality and time-frame requirements.
Such was the level of innovation achieved by LTi on this project, that their role culminated in them winning the ‘Best Research & Development Project’ category at the Cotswold Life Engineering, Manufacturing & Innovation Awards in 2017.