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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Tokamak Energy to use Tokamak simulator SOPHIA for fusion tests

Tokamak Energy new control room - picture contributed
Tokamak Energy new control room - picture contributed
11 June 2024
Tokamak Energy new control room - picture contributed

Oxford’s Tokamak Energy, which is aiming to commercialising clean, secure and affordable fusion energy in the 2030s, is to use new digital programme - the Tokamak simulator SOPHIA - in upcoming fusion tests.

Its 100 million degrees Celsius fusion machine ST40 will then run physical experiments, which have been simulated virtually, greatly improving efficiency and accelerating progress.

READ MORE: Milton Park's Tokamak Energy signs fusion energy industrialisation collaboration agreement

It means the Tokamak Energy team will get maximum gains from every experiment without needing to test multiple scenarios in the physical machine, removing human error and fast-tracking results.

"The world desperately needs a secure supply of clean and affordable energy to meet rising demand and address climate change," said Dr Mike Porton, Tokamak Energy's chief engineer.

"Our new tokamak simulator SOPHIA will maximise gains from experimental goals, reduce risk and help perfect plasma scenarios quicker than previously thought possible.

"Successful experiments tested virtually by SOPHIA will go forward to ST40 for real, producing measurable, publishable, verifiable, physical results to accelerate our research and development productivity.

"It is a huge breakthrough in cutting timelines on Tokamak Energy’s mission to validate power plant designs and deliver commercial fusion in the 2030s."

SOPHIA was designed in-house at Tokamak Energy and has since been upgraded and will be fully integrated into ST40 plasma operations for 2024. It is is also used for team training.

Last week, Tokamak Energy signed an agreement with the Department of Energy (DOE) as part of the US's vision for delivering commercial fusion.

The DOE’s $46 million milestone-based fusion development program was established to support private companies in bringing fusion toward technical and commercial viability.

Founded in 2009, Tokamak is a spin-off from UK Atomic Energy Authority and currently employs a growing team of more than 250 people with experts from the UK and around the world.

It is pursuing the global deployment of commercial fusion through the combined development of spherical tokamaks with HTS magnets.

It is the only private fusion company to have more than 10 years’ experience of designing, building and operating tokamaks, a machine that confines plasma - the hot hydrogen fuel - using strong magnetic fields.


Giles Gwinnett is a writer at The Business Magazine. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and covered a vast array of topics at a range of media settings - in print and online. After his NCTJ newspaper training, he became a reporter in Hampshire before moving to a news agency in Gloucestershire. In recent years, he has been covering the financial markets along with company news for an investor-focused web portal. His many interests include politics, energy and the environment. He lives in Dorset.

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