F4E contractors unveil ITER’s business potential

Pascal Delcey (Cofely Axima), Christian Lismeir (Jülich Forchengzentrum), Patrick Geraud (Apave), Jean Baptiste Haumonte (Bertin Technologies)

One of the popular misconceptions about fusion is that its complex technical requirements are a major drawback for companies to invest and get involved because they would have to wait forever to see any financial return. The best way to deconstruct this cliché is to speak directly to those that have been involved and find out why they have set their eyes on ITER and where is all this leading them.

What drives F4E contractors forward and keeps them committed to this one-of-a kind international energy collaboration? Do they see new markets in the horizon that will increase their revenue or have they identified new technological breakthroughs that will help them push forward R&D barriers and establish them as pioneers?
We had the opportunity to meet with some of our contractors and asked them to explain in simple words how they have contributed to ITER and what have been the direct benefits stemming from their participation.

The interviews brought together representatives of large companies like GDF Suez, managing together with M+W, the biggest contract awarded by F4E for a budget of approximately 500 million EUR. We spoke to Assystem to hear more about their contribution to the Architect Engineer contract, which reached 150 million EUR, and learn more about their strategy in the field of energy beyond Europe’s borders.

For Apave, ITER has been carrying a business status and has the possibility to open the doors to new markets like India and Russia where they can export their services. Air Liquide Group, elaborated on the fact that their brand and expertise will always be associated with ITER’s cryoplant, which will the biggest in the world. A higher turnover and the recruitment of new staff with expertise in sectors that will generate more profit to AMEC have been reported as direct benefits. The merits of co-ordination and the collaboration with smaller companies and the possibility of spin-off ventures have been identified by Iberdrola.

Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) like OCEM carrying out specialised work in the area of the Ion Source and Extraction Power Supplies (ISEPs) and SIMIC, in the field of the Toroidal Field Coils, have reported on the business benefits and the skills acquired through their involvement. Laboratories like the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Jülich Forchungzentrum have explained the type of R&D activities that they have been carrying out with direct application to ITER and its capacity to serve as a meeting point for industry and fusion laboratories.

To highlight the work that has been carried out behind the scenes in areas like Diagnostics, we have approached National Instruments and Bertin Technologies to hear from them how companies and laboratories can work together and take small steps that will ultimately lead to lead to quantum leaps. Innovation and financial gains underpin the spirit of collaboration.

Listening to the above success stories and thinking of the business opportunities ahead, F4E has decided to develop a clip to explain to potential bidders the different tender procedures with the help of different animated characters. Good soundbites and quick explanations offer an engaging guided tour on what F4E does, where to look for more information, what are the main criteria and procurement procedures and how they are evaluated. The aim is to give potential bidders a quick overview, almost like a teaser, and if they are serious about submitting a tender, direct them to the main info points.

To view the F4E contractors’ success stories and learn more on how to submit an F4E tender visit our YouTube channel