(Comparison between gKPSP simulation and the experiment results: Black: Theoretically predicted domain of mode spectrum; Blue: Frequency measured in experiment; Spectrum: gKPSP simulation result) On 1 August, the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) announced that a new fusion simulation code was developed to project and analyze the Toroidal-Alfvén-Eigenmode (TAE). In TAE, instabilities occur in the course of interactions between fast ions and the perturbed magnetic fields surrounding them. It disturbs a tokamak’s plasma confinement by disengaging fast ions from the plasma core. Because fast ions have much more kinetic energy than normal ones, they play a significant role in facilitating fusion reactions by increasing the plasma temperatures and performance. Stably confining them in the plasma core is therefore considered one of the most important tasks for sustaining fusion reactions. Several studies were conducted to understand the relationship between fast ions and the TAE in order to prevent TAE instabilities and increase fast ion confinement. At KFE, Dr. Youngwoo Cho has improved the Gyro Kinetic Plasma Simulation Program (gKPSP) to calculate and project the changes in TAE following fast ion movements. The gKPSP, a domestically developed fusion simulation code, was mainly used for analyzing plasma transport phenomena until Dr. Cho added a feature to enable electromagnetic analysis. With the amendment, it is now capable of analyzing the TAE instabilities, and has passed cross-validation with other existing codes. The new code will be utilized for analyzing the confinement performance of fast ions generated by different methods, including various heating devices and fusion reactions. It is expected to contribute to developing plasma performance enhancement technologies by optimizing fast ions’ confinement performance. The result of this research was published* in the ‘Physics of Plasmas’ on 7 June. *Hybrid-gyrokinetic simulations of low-n toroidal Alfvén eigenmodes using gKPSP KFE is operating the Korean artificial sun, KSTAR (Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research) which set the record in 2021 for the world’s longest plasma operation at ion temperatures of over one hundred million degrees for thirty seconds. It will keep challenging fusion simulation research to resolve puzzles regarding plasmas’ instabilities and turbulences. (Dr. Youngwoo CHO)
Dear All participants of the iFPC 2022, We invite you to the first International Fusion and Plasma Conference (iFPC 2022) to be held in Jeju, Korea from August 22-26, 2022. *Conference: 1st International Fusion and Plasma Conference (iFPC 2022) *Date: August 22(Mon.) – 26(Fri.), 2022 *Venue: Haevichi Hotel, Jeju, Korea *Conference topic 1) Fusion Science 2) Fusion Technology 3) Plasma Fundamentals 4) Plasma Applications 5) Accelerators and Laser-plasma *Organized by - The Korea Physical Society - Division of Plasma Physics - Korea Accelerator and Plasma Research Association - The Korean Vacuum Society - Korea Fusion University Association - Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics *Supported by: Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) *iFPC 2022 Secretariat - Tel. +82-42-331-4295 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org - Website https://i-fpc.org Please give us a lot of encouragement and support so that we can hold iFPC 2022 successfully. Looking forward to seeing you in the Jeju, Korea. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. *Committees Wonho Choe Conference Chair Professor, KAIST Yongkyoon In Conference Vice-Chair Professor, UNIST Si-Woo Yoon Conference Vice-Chair Director, KSTAR RC., KFE
Plasma technologies are widely used in various industry sectors including for semiconductor, display, vehicle, new materials, environmental, space, and bio applications. They also provide new paths to innovation in traditional industries. As a research institute specializing in innovative plasma technologies, the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) has been satisfying the technological needs of cutting-edge industries, contributing to national agendas as well. On 17 May, ‘ECR plasma based sputtering technology (ECR plasma sputter)’ was transferred to a domestic company, AVACO CO., LTD, for application in the next-generation display industry. The company has had three technology transfers from KFE. The second transfer in March 2016 was related to the ECR plasma sputter, which was ranked as the world’s best level. This latest transfer is a new concept ECR plasma sputter that will help overcome key issues in application to production lines, proving its prowess one more time. Sputtering is a process in which particles are ejected from a solid target material following bombardment of a target by ions accelerated from a plasma. Sputtering is used for the thin film deposition process in semiconductor or display fabrication. The ECR plasma sputter has three distinctive advantages compared to conventional magnetron sputter. First, it can operate at one order higher vacuum, which helps minimize impurities and improve the directionality of sputtered particles toward a substrate. Second, it can independently generate a high-density ECR plasma near a target and control the bias voltage of the target from 0 V. By decreasing the bias voltage this can minimize high-energy particles that cause damage to thin films. Third, the lower bias voltage can increase the number of particles with moderate energy, which have a heating effect on a few layers of the thin film surface, known as atomic layer heating. This makes it possible to lower the substrate temperature. With these strengths, the ECR plasma sputter can resolve problems inherent in traditional sputters and satisfy the requirements for next-generation display’s thin-film deposition process. The first ECR plasma sputter had several drawbacks that made it difficult to employ in production lines. For example, there was a drop in deposition rate due to the magnet structure and the microwave launcher module, the microwave generator had a short life span, and the size of the sputter system was excessive. After years of research and development, KFE finally succeeded in developing a novel ECR plasma sputtering technology, that incorporated new types of magnetic structure and microwave launcher module. According to principal researcher Dr. Seong Bong Kim, “the technology includes new ECR plasma sputter concepts, which can solve the drawbacks. If we succeed, AVACO CO.,LTD will become a “first mover” leading the future in sputtering technology, and we will be able to contribute to enhancing national competitiveness.” KFE and AVACO CO., LTD have been collaborating for thirteen years to develop the sputtering technology, with two previous technology transfers that led to the successful development of a 5G ECR plasma sputter. Both teams of researchers agreed that mutual trust over a long time as well as close communication and collaboration between the two institutes contributed significantly to their success. With the third technology transfer, the company will try to apply the new concept ECR plasma sputter to an 8 G sputter system for the first time in the world, and increase domestic and global market share by replacing conventional sputters as well as creating a niche market for ECR plasma sputters. President Suk Jae Yoo of KFE added, “It would be an exemplary case of technology transfer based on the trust between a government-funded research institute (KFE) and a medium-sized company (AVACO CO., LTD). KFE will keep trying to contribute to the nation’s industrial growth by disseminating excellent research results into various industry sectors.” There are still a few tasks remaining until actual factory deployment, yet both institutes are eager to implement the world-class level technologies. Let’s cheer for the new ECR plasma sputters to be successfully deployed in the next-generation display industry, to vitalize the cutting-edge plasma-applicable industries!
The Korean artificial sun KSTAR is ready for new challenges in 2022. Watch our latest Youtube video to find out what to expect for the 2022 KSTAR campaign!
In 2022, KSTAR will receive a new tungsten divertor that will allow it to operate with much hotter plasmas longer. The divertor, a part of the Plasma Facing Components (PFC) within a tokamak, cleans the impurities caused by plasma operations. However, not only the divertor needs to be changed for hotter plasmas. A brand new cooling water system is also being prepared for the KSTAR. Cool enough for 100 million ℃ Plasma temperatures inside the KSTAR tokamak can reach over 100 million ℃. Although the heat does not directly reach the PFCs thanks to superconducting magnets, which create strong magnetic fields and suspend the plasmas in a vacuum, they still have to endure indirect heat whose temperatures are around 1,000℃. This is where the cooling water does its job. The coolants run inside the PFCs through flow paths, cooling down the heat generated from plasma operations. This cooling is indispensable for stable plasma operations as well as to protect the tokamak components from extensive heat. The cooling water system consists of a storage tank, circulation pumps, heat exchangers, valves, an automatic control system, power supplies, etc. Also, the cooling water needs a purity maintenance system and UV sterilizers to keep it ultrapure. A baking system and drying system are integrated in the system as well - the former gets rid of the impurities within the vacuum vessel when KSTAR starts operating and the latter completely dries out any water left inside the device after experiments. The upgrade will comprehensively include all these systems. The cooler the system, the longer the plasma operations KSTAR is attempting to achieve 300-second-long continuous operation with 100 million ℃ plasma by 2026. For longer ultra-high temperature plasma operations, tungsten was selected to be the next PFC material because it is one of the most effective materials for the inner walls of a fusion reactor. ITER also chose tungsten for its divertor. Since much more intense heat will come from the new tungsten divertor, it was only natural to improve the cooling water system to match it. The current system was designed to circulate 207.33ℓ of cooling water through pipes per second with 16 bar pressure. However, when the operation runs for 300 seconds, the flow and pressure of coolants should be drastically different. The new system will circulate 520ℓ of coolant per second with 30 bar pressure. In addition, the capacity of the storage tank will be enlarged from the current 90 tons to accommodate 150 tons of cooling water. The pipes will also be replaced to endure increased pressure. The upgrade for the new cooling water system began in 2020. As of April 2022, 38% of the tasks had been completed. The new components such as the water tank, pumps, heat exchangers, and the purity maintenance system are already in the KSTAR’s basement, ready to be installed in August. (New components in KSTAR basement)
A commercial plasma gasification reactor is to be developed under a new Task Agreement (TA) between the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) and two major Korean companies. The reactor will be designed to dispose of waste in an eco-friendly way while producing high-purity hydrogen. On April 12, KFE President Dr. Suk Jae Yoo announced that KFE had entered into the TA to develop a commercial plasma gasification reactor with Hyundai Power Systems and GS Engineering & Construction Corporation. Under the TA, the three will closely collaborate on (i) research and development of a plasma pyrolysis gasification system, (ii) development and manufacturing of a commercial plasma gasification reactor, and (iii) commercialization of plasma gasification technology. Plasma gasification is a technology that uses hot plasma to incinerate waste without polluting the air by gasifying the organic part of the waste into hydrogen, carbon monoxide, etc. Such byproducts can also be recycled after purification to produce high-purity hydrogen and generate energy. KFE has been accumulating expertise and experience in plasma gasification technology: it has successfully developed a 500KW plasma torch, which will serve as one of the core components for the reactor. KFE is also running an experimental reactor with the capacity to dispose of 1.5 tons of waste per day using an innovative KFE reactor structure to increase pyrolysis efficiency. (500KW plasma torch) (KFE experimental reactor) Implementing the TA, Hyundai Power Systems will collaborate with KFE to develop and build a commercial reactor that can accommodate 100 tons of waste per day based on its expertise in manufacturing industrial boilers - It is renowned for its original circulating fluidized bed combustion boiler technology. GS Engineering & Construction Corp. will also contribute by developing technologies to establish facilities for hydrogen production and electricity generation, making use of its own experience in building multiple environmental, refinery, and petrochemical plants. “There have been several domestic attempts to commercialize plasma waste disposal technology, with none reaching the commercialization stage yet,” commented Dr. Yoo. “Through the synergy between KFE’s technology and the companies’ expertise in boiler manufacture and plant construction, we expect to disseminate plasma gasification technology throughout the energy industry.”
On April 5th, a small celebration ceremony was held to celebrate the safe arrival of the third Vacuum Vessel sector which departed South Korea in January. It traveled 12,000km across both sea and land to finally arrive at the ITER site. In the ceremony, researchers from the ITER KODA and the ITER IO gathered to celebrate. Staff from SHIN JO Logitech, which managed the delivery, and DAHER, which handles the global logistics of the ITER IO, attended as well. Korea is in charge of procuring four sectors out of the nine that will comprise the ITER Vacuum Vessel. The second sector was delivered in 2021, following the first sector in 2020. In January, when the third sector was manufactured and ready to ship to France, an unexpected typhoon in Korea suddenly hindered its departure. Severe winds and high tides at Mipo Port made it impossible to sail. Urgently, it was decided to move the sector and ship from Ulsan Port where it was relatively less stormy. After close cooperation with the ITER IO, it finally began its journey toward the ocean safely onboard a special ship. During the gathering, the ITER KO-DA Director-General Dr. Kijung Jung expressed his gratitude for every effort that was made to safely deliver the third sector. He shared the details of the “fantastic emergency measures” taken to ship it despite the natural disaster. Now, a total of three sectors have arrived from Korea. The first sector is almost ready for the ‘tokamak pit’. The sub-assembly process has already been finished, where external thermal shielding and two TF superconducting magnets were attached to it. The second sector is currently under sub-assembly, and the third will go through it soon. The final fourth sector will arrive in France within the second half of 2022.
KSTAR demonstrated the world-leading technology for continuous fusion plasma operation The Korean artificial sun, the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research device (KSTAR), broke its world record for continuous plasma operation by maintaining a plasma ion temperature of over one hundred million degrees Celsius for thirty seconds. On November 22, the KSTAR Research Center at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) announced that during the 2021 campaign it had succeeded in in accomplishing this important performance goal. Such high temperatures are required to produce fusion on Earth and generate energy. Fusion technology continues to gain attention as a method of generating clean, carbon-free energy from fusion reactions, which is the same mechanism that generates solar energy inside the Sun. The Sun’s extreme density and temperature can sustain those fusion reactions. But on the Earth, maintaining the proper conditions for fusion requires special fusion devices. These systems turn hydrogen isotopes into a plasma state, where electrons are separated from the hydrogen ions. For this to occur continuously, the plasma temperatures inside the fusion device must be maintained at over one hundred million degrees C. KSTAR has been conducting experiments since 2008, to develop advanced technologies for the continuous operation of the super-hot plasma. In 2018, KSTAR achieved plasma ion temperatures exceeding one hundred million degrees. In 2020, it operated such super-hot plasmas for twenty seconds, which was then the longest operating time in the history of fusion research. With the new record-extending ten seconds, KSTAR has achieved another world-class milestone. Great advances in KSTAR’s heating systems and plasma control technologies, which are based on optimized magnetic field conditions, have contributed to increase plasma stabilities in the Internal Transport Barrier (ITB) Mode for fusion reactor operations. Now KSTAR is planning to improve its power supply systems and install a new tungsten divertor to further prolong operating time. The tungsten divertor is expected to help suppress increases in tokamak wall temperature during the long periods of operation. Researchers will also explore ways to further increase the stability of the ITB Mode, using several measures including real-time feedback control technologies. The KSTAR’s planned goal is to operate for three hundred seconds at one hundred million degrees by 2026. “The Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KFE) was established as an independent research institute, a legal entity in 2020, to enable more pioneering fusion research with a more stable research environment,” commented Dr. Suk Jae Yoo, President of KFE. “We will strive to contribute to the national energy goals by securing the core fusion technologies in time,” he added. For more: KFE NEWS vol. 31 - 2021 KSTAR highlights & interviews - Burning waste to generate energy: Plasma pyrolysis gasification technology
A Leap for Fusion Simulation Technology: Planning Study for V-DEMO Development in Korea Fusion technology development in Korea faces three primary challenges: (i) Development of a high-performance operating mode for Tokamak, (ii) Building a blanket test facility to bridge KSTAR, ITER, and a fusion demonstration plant (DEMO), and (iii) Utilization of experimental data along with the integration of scientific and technological achievements to design a fusion DEMO. To achieve these three missions, KFE conducted a planning study for the development of V-DEMO. V-DEMO will be a virtual fusion demonstration plant, built by applying the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies including supercomputers, artificial intelligence, big data, etc. The ultimate goal of V-DEMO is to quantitatively realize the core functions of a fusion power plant and comprehensively reproduce one by integrating simulations of tokamak, blanket, and BOP (Balance of Power) systems. With these features, V-DEMO can be used to identify various physical and engineering requirements that can be used in the detailed engineering designs of a fusion power plant. Clarifying these requirements can help in optimizing and verifying plant designs, as well as assisting security and safety clearance studies by investigating various accident scenarios. Building V-DEMO will require examining available technologies and current technological levels, and then specifying strategies for each step. Therefore, the focus of this planning study was identifying the technological priorities required to resolve the challenges mentioned above. Technology development trends and development direction for V-DEMO Fusion simulation is the core technology for V-DEMO. It has been under development for the last two decades, mainly focusing on core plasma, heating, and PMI (Plasma Material Interaction). The current mainstream technologies are large-scale simulations capable of parallel expansion over tens of thousands of CPU cores. Korean researchers are presently working to elaborate and verify simulations using KSTAR’s advanced imaging diagnostics. The global goal in fusion simulation development is to develop the capability to quantitatively predict experiments using supercomputer-based simulations, and relevant studies are expected to play a large role in KSTAR studies. The core plasma in tokamak is connected to power facilities via a breeding blanket system, which converts fusion energy into electricity. Simulating fusion electricity generation involves both fusion and nuclear power studies. The former can take advantage of the latter. As a matter of fact, the TBM (Test Blanket Module) currently being tested in ITER uses nuclear analysis tools and safety analysis codes from the nuclear power community, demonstrating that nuclear simulation technologies can be expanded to enable V-DEMO’s targeted functions. AI (Artificial Intelligence) is also promising for fusion research innovation. AI can utilize machine learning based on numerous fusion experiments and simulation data to derive a data-driven fusion model. The big advantage of the data-driven fusion model is its combination of fast calculation and good precision. For example, according to research already published, a heating simulation can be generated in a much shorter time with machine learning, allowing real-time controls. Without it, the calculations would require thousands of CPU cores and considerable time. Various studies to accelerate simulations are ongoing, with the ultimate goal of developing a fusion simulator capable of the tremendous volume of repetitive calculations necessary for engineering design. V-DEMO will need to integrate simulations from various fusion areas and therefore will need to develop an integrated platform. Fusion societies worldwide are working on simulation software integration frameworks. One of the most promising projects is the ITER-IMAS framework, which is currently under development for ITER. V-DEMO should expand its technological base to include plant features based on ITER-IMAS. Digital twin is a technology that can be used to virtualize machines and facilities, using machine design data, and is considered the basis upon which simulation software and integrated framework can be deployed. For fusion, “Virtual KSTAR” is being developed to perform virtual experiments that combine KSTAR design, experimental data, and heating simulations. The technology developed through KSTAR will be applied to ITER in the near future, to pave the way for V-DEMO development. Roadmap for V-DEMO development Presently, various technological developments including simulations, virtualization, supercomputers, and machine learning are needed for V-DEMO development. In this planning study, a total of five technology groups were identified as the key technologies for V-DEMO: (i) tokamak simulation group, (ii) blanket-BOP simulation group, (iii) accelerated fusion simulation group, (iv) enabling technology group, and (v) fusion big data group. The development plans and strategies for each group were also established. Roadmap for V-DEMO project V-DEMO development will go through four stages by the year 2040. In the first stage, simulation and virtualization of a middle-sized tokamak such as KSTAR will be carried out. In the beginning, technology verification using KSTAR data will be the key objective. In the second stage, the technologies from the first stage will be further developed for ITER, and simulation acceleration using artificial intelligence will begin. In the third stage, blanket and BOP simulation technology development will be performed in collaboration with the nuclear energy community. In the final stage, V-DEMO will be completed, integrating the K-DEMO design data. Verification and optimization of a demonstration plant will be carried out utilizing V-DEMO. Plan for experimental validations and key development targets in each phase Fusion research in Korea has been ongoing for the last two decades, focusing on KSTAR and ITER. Now, another leap is needed to accomplish a demonstration of fusion technology. Alongside hardware technological achievements, another foundation for the fusion demonstration should be established, by proactively developing fusion simulation technologies, including V-DEMO. For more KFE NEWS: KFE NEWS vol. 30 - KSTAR's 30,000th shot - AAPPS-DPP Young Researcher Award winner in KFE, Dr. Sanghoo Park