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On a planet increasingly confronted with the realities of climate change, finding more sustainable sources of energy is critical. The ITER project, which brings together scientists and experts from around the world, is working to do just that.

For more than a decade, the ITER project has been working to prove that a new source of energy – one that could transform the way we work and live – is possible. This new energy is nuclear fusion, the same energy source that powers the sun.

Fusing atoms together in a controlled way releases nearly four million times more energy than a chemical reaction such as the burning of coal, oil, or gas, and four times as much as nuclear fission reactions (at equal mass). Fusion has the potential to provide the kind of baseload energy needed to provide electricity to our cities and our industries.

But that’s easier said than done, because in the laboratory certain conditions must be fulfilled to achieve fusion.

First, extremely high temperatures (approximately 150 million degrees Celsius) are required for the high-energy collisions to occur. The plasma particles must be sufficiently dense to give atoms an increased chance of colliding. There also needs to be sufficient confinement time to hold the plasma, which expands, within a defined volume.

That’s why the ITER project is working to build the world’s largest tokamak.

Inside of a tokamak, a plasma – an ionised gas that provides the environment for particles to fuse – is contained and controlled by strong magnetic fields. Energy produced through fusion is absorbed as heat in the walls of the vessel, which in turn can be used by a fusion power plant to produce steam and electricity via turbines and generators.

Just to give you an idea, the tokamak is three times the weight of the Eiffel Tower.

Frédéric

Chief Engineer, Capgemini

Considering the size and complexity of the project, as well as its potential to change lives, it’s not hard to imagine the amount of brainpower and skills required to bring this project to life. Building, running, and maintaining the tokamak itself is just the start. There is also the core infrastructure around the project and the coordination of teams of scientists and experts from around the world.

Capgemini has been working with the ITER project for over a decade to help realise its vision, from construction to engineering to project management. Teams comprising hundreds of people have lent their engineering expertise, both to the construction of the buildings as well as the validation and refinement of the scientists’ vision. This way, they can ensure that their designs are feasible. In an environment where everything from heat and size is extreme, every design and component is one-of-a-kind. Review and validation by Capgemini expert engineers are therefore critical to the long-term success of the project.

From project management to engineering, Capgemini has been supporting this program for more than 10 years.

Pierre-Jean

Engagement Director, Capgemini

The ITER project aims to provide a blueprint for future energy generation across the globe. It’s why, in addition to its core project management and engineering focus, Capgemini has developed a prototype of an interactive, digital twin of the project – down to the last technical detail – which all members of the interconnected global team would be able to access with a click of a button.

Sharing the whole project this way would ensure that everyone fully understands its aim and function to make clearer decisions and reach goals faster. And when the goal of fusion is reached, teams across the globe will be able to access plans and build plants for themselves.

By using a digital twin, all stakeholders will be able to access technical information at the click of a button.

Stella

Building Information Modelling Engineer, Capgemini

Through this unique partnership between ITER and Capgemini, the goal of clean, large-scale fusion energy might be realised faster than we think.

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The promise of the ITER project is to finally open the way to fusion energy.

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Alain Becoulet
Engineering Domain Head, ITER Organisation

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