Air Liquide: Two major successes in extreme cryogenics for scientific
PARIS -- December 19, 2012
Air Liquide (Paris:AI):
The research of the ITER project and its related project JT-60SA on fusion
aims to develop know-how in this new source of energy to meet the challenge
of increasing energy needs. AirLiquide will provide extreme cryogenic systems
for these two major projects. The total value of these equipment sales
contracts will reach over €100million.
Based near Marseille, in France, the ITER project plans the creation of an
experimental reactor intended to illustrate the scientific and technical
feasibility of fusion. This process generates little waste and eliminates any
risk of reactor runaway. To obtain the very powerful electromagnetic fields
necessary to confine fusion, superconducting magnets must be used, which only
work at extremely low temperatures.
For this project, AirLiquide will provide the biggest centralised
refrigeration system ever built. This cryogenic equipment is essential for
maintaining an extremely cold temperature for the 10,000 tonnes of
superconducting magnets used on the Tokamak*. This sophisticated scientific
instrumentconfines the plasma that makes it possible to achieve the
conditions necessary for controlled fusion.
This closed circuit refrigeration system is based on the properties of
liquefied helium, whose temperature is close to the lowest possible
temperature 0 K, or - 273°C, called "absolute zero". Between the end of 2015
and the beginning of 2017, AirLiquide will install three refrigerators for a
global cooling capacity of 75 kW at 4.5 K, or - 269 °C.
The purpose of the JT-60SA project, a Tokamak-style infrastructure, based in
Naka in Japan, is to support the ITER project's research activities on fusion
by working on the capacity to control and maintain the plasma for several
hours. JT-60SA is led by the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) in
collaboration with the French organisation CEA. For this project, Air Liquide
will commission, in 2015, a helium refrigeration system, intended to cool the
François Darchis, Senior Vice-President and a member of Air Liquide’s
Executive Committee, commented: "We would like to thank ITER Organisation and
the Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission in France for their
trust on these two ambitious projects. After the CERN's LHC and Kstar in
Korea, these projects once again prove our capacity to meet major scientific
challenges by supplying very high tech systems. This means AirLiquide is
involved in significant international scientific projects that will shape our
future and contribute to the development of tomorrow's energy solutions."
Air Liquide and scientific cryogenics
Air Liquide has unique expertise in the field of low temperatures and
recognised know-how in the design, production, and installation of
high-capacity gas liquefaction and refrigeration systems (the CERN's LHC in
Switzerland, for example).
Air Liquide has also supplied cryogenic equipment for the biggest fusion
projects of the last 25 years (Tore Supra, JET, SST-1, and KSTAR).
ITER and the Tokamak*
Based in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, in the South of France, this project centres
around the Tokamak (toroidal magnetic confinement chamber). Using
electromagnetic fields, this sophisticated scientific instrument will make it
possible to generate plasma to create the conditions necessary for the
controlled fusion of atoms. This fusion generates the same type of energy as
the sun, which, eventually, will be recovered in the form of electrical
energy. ITER will test the fundamental technologies to initiate the next
stage, called "DEMO": a demonstration fusion reactor capable of producing
energy for commercial purposes.
Based in Naka, in Japan, the trials of JT-60SA (which stands for "Japan
Tokamak 60 Super Advanced") are part of one of the three projects that will be
carried out in Japan as part of the Broader Approach Agreement, under the
joint supervision of Europe and Japan, thereby contributing to the
construction phase of the ITER project in Europe.
This Tokamak was designed to optimise plasma configurations for the ITER and
DEMO projects. This project is led in Japan by the Japanese Atomic Energy
Agency (JAEA), which is collaborating with the Commission for Atomic Energy
and alternative energies (CEA in France) for the improvement of Tokamak.
Air Liquide is the world leader in gases for industry, health and the
environment, and is present in 80countries with 46,200employees. Oxygen,
nitrogen, hydrogen and rare gases have been at the core of AirLiquide’s
activities since its creation in 1902. Using these molecules, Air Liquide
continuously reinvents its business, anticipating the needs of current and
future markets. The Group innovates to enable progress, to achieve dynamic
growth and a consistent performance.
Innovative technologies that curb polluting emissions, lower industry’s energy
use, recover and reuse natural resources or develop the energies of tomorrow,
such as hydrogen, biofuels or photovoltaic energy… Oxygen for hospitals, home
healthcare, fighting nosocomial infections… AirLiquide combines many products
and technologies to develop valuable applications and services not only for
its customers but also for society.
A partner for the long term, Air Liquide relies on employee commitment,
customer trust and shareholder support to pursue its vision of sustainable,
competitive growth. The diversity of AirLiquide’s teams, businesses, markets
and geographic presence provides a solid and sustainable base for its
development and strengthens its ability to push back its own limits, conquer
new territories and build its future.
Air Liquide explores the best that air can offer to preserve life, staying
true to its sustainable development approach. In 2011, the Group’s revenues
amounted to €14.5billion, of which more than 80% were generated outside
France. AirLiquide is listed on the Paris Euronext stock exchange
(compartment A) and is a member of the CAC 40 and Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50
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