21 September 2023

New ITER contract will create openings for Swedish industry

A Swedish collaboration has been commissioned to develop power converters for the ITER experimental fusion reactor in France. “The work we’re doing for ITER is at the absolute forefront of science and in the long term will generate opportunities for Swedish industry,” says Håkan Nilsson, project manager at RISE and business developer at Big Science Sweden.

© ITER Organization

The consortium awarded this prestigious contract comprises the Swedish research institute RISE, the Faculty of Engineering at Lund University, and AQ Elautomatik, a Big Science Sweden member company. These three partners had previously completed a pilot study for ITER on the design of a power converter to operate in the immediate vicinity of the reactor.

Building test rigs for various subsystems in the power converter

The new project involves building test rigs for various subsystems in the power converter designed in the pilot study. When a power converter is to operate in the extreme environment close to the reactor, challenges include the strong magnetic fields, limited available physical space, and weight restrictions.

Great potential for Swedish industry

Håkan Nilsson sees the significance of long-term collaborations with the Big Science research organisations.

“Winning this contract shows that we submitted a competitive tender with strong technical expertise and that our previous work for ITER generated confidence.”

The new contract is worth around SEK 4.5 million, but the potential for Swedish industry can be considerably greater. In time, ITER will be inviting tenders for production of power converters in accordance with the requirements and specifications the consortium has helped to develop. Swedish industry will then be able to bid for contracts totalling up to half a billion Swedish kronor.

ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is a global cooperation project funded by 35 nations to build the world’s largest Tokamak reactor for research into fusion energy. In the reactor, hydrogen plasma with a temperature of 150 million degrees Celsius will be held in place by extremely strong magnetic fields. Read more