British-Japanese partnership for fusion development

27 July 2023

UK-based nuclear fusion company Tokamak Energy and Japan's Sumitomo Corporation have agreed to collaborate on the development, implementation and scaling-up of commercial fusion energy in Japan and worldwide.

Tokamak ST pilot plant (Image: Tokamak Energy)

The partnership will see Sumitomo contribute expertise and investment to a series of joint projects with Tokamak focused on the scaling-up and industrialisation of the global fusion supply chain.

The companies will jointly develop early market entry strategies for Tokamak Energy's fusion technology in Japan and other countries.

"The ultimate aim for both organisations is to jointly design, build and operate fusion power plants at scale," Tokamak said.

It noted the collaboration will enable Sumitomo to establish itself as a global market-leader for financing, construction and operation of fusion power plants and for Tokamak to accelerate the commercialisation and industrialisation of its spherical tokamak devices in the late 2030s.

The partners will also work together on the development of a supply chain for other emerging applications for fusion technologies.

"It is vital we phase out the world's reliance on fossil fuels and deliver fusion as a clean, sustainable, low cost and globally available energy source," said Tokamak Commercial Director Ross Morgan. "Sumitomo and Tokamak Energy recognise the importance of partnerships to accelerate the delivery of commercial fusion and with our shared knowledge we can deliver this."

"We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with Tokamak Energy, paving the way for fusion energy," added Yoshihiko Ichikawa, General Manager, Energy Innovation Initiative, Sumitomo Corporation. "Jointly, we'll tackle challenges and fuel innovation to accelerate the delivery of commercial fusion. Our combined efforts will step up the path towards a sustainable energy future for all."

Oxfordshire-based Tokamak's roadmap is for commercial fusion power plants deployed in the mid-2030s. To get there the plan is for completion of ST80-HTS in 2026 "to demonstrate the full potential of high temperature superconducting magnets" and to inform the design of its fusion pilot plant, ST-E1, which is slated to demonstrate the capability to deliver electricity - producing up to 200 MW of net electrical power - in the early 2030s.

In January, Tokamak said it had signed an agreement with Japan's Furukawa Electric to supply "several hundred kilometres" of specialist high temperature superconducting (HTS) tape for its ST80-HTS prototype fusion device. The HTS tape has been developed and is being supplied by Furukawa, with the production of the tape under way at the group's SuperPower Inc site in New York in the USA.

The following month, Tokamak announced it had built a world-first set of new generation HTS magnets to be assembled and tested in fusion power plant-relevant scenarios.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News