RSS Feeds Twitter LinkedIn YouTube Flickr
Media Corner
26 April 2013

Europe delivers EDIPO: a world class facility for testing short samples of superconducting magnets

The EDIPO magnet getting ready to be inserted in the cryostat

If we are truly committed to the idea of a sustainable energy mix with fusion being one of its elements, then we need to invest in facilities that will bring us every step closer towards the realisation of commercial fusion by helping us test the technology and the components of current and future fusion devices.

This is precisely the purpose of the European Dipole project (EDIPO), launched in 2005, whose mission was to manufacture a high field magnet that would ultimately be used to test ITER cable-in-conduit conductors (CICCs) with a current up to 100 kA. Switzerland’s Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), at the Centre of Research in Physics and Plasma (CRPP), is hosting this facility that has been constructed thanks to a collaboration that counts eight years, between CRPP, BNG (Babcock Nöll), F4E and the European Commission.

The stakes for EDIPO were high since the very start because it had to meet two important conditions: first, to offer the fusion community the possibility to test short samples CICCs in a magnetic field up to 12.5 Tesla, an unprecedented high level for this type of facility, in order to mimic the ITER environment in which superconducting magnets will operate; second to test CICCs at such high magnetic field over a length equivalent to about 800 mm, which is roughly two times the high field length of the conductors currently tested in SULTAN, the other European facility for short sample CICCs testing which is also located in CRPP/PSI.

On 22 March, the fusion community witnessed a breakthrough. The EDIPO magnet, the core of the EDIPO facility, reached the magnetic field of 12.5 Tesla. In essence this means that the fusion community around the world has at its disposal a unique, state of the art facility that will allow it to test short CICCs samples, rather than the whole magnet, at these levels in order to verify their properties before production.

We spoke to F4E’s Alfredo Portone, EDIPO’s Project Leader, about the significance of this achievement and he explained that “the successful commissioning of the EDIPO faclity planned for the end of July, will put a  European leading facility at the service of the whole fusion community. It has the potential of becoming an internationally renowned reference point in testing magnets technology.”

Scientists witnessing the EDIPO breakthrough (from left to right): P.Bruzzone, M.Holenstein, S.March, A.Portone, G.Croari, B.Stepanov