Air Liquide has unique cryogenic expertise. ITER1 chose Air Liquide for its ability to develop systems for the liquefaction and refrigeration of large quantities of gas at very low temperatures.
To obtain the extremely powerful electromagnetic fields required to contain and stabilize fusion, you need superconducting magnets that only work at extremely low temperatures. To this end, Air Liquide is supplying the largest centralized cryogenic refrigeration system ever built. The cryogenic plant that will be built on ITER's site in Cadarache, in the south of France, includes three helium refrigerators, two nitrogen refrigerators, and 1.6 km of cryogenic lines. With a cooling power of 75 kW at 4.5 K (helium) and 1.300 kW at 80 K (nitrogen), ITER will have the most powerful cooling system ever built on one site. Air Liquide is responsible for designing, building and supervising the facility.
ITER is a research project that aims to exploit a source of energy that is comparable to the sun's core to meet future generations' energy needs. To do this, ITER is building the largest ever tokamak, a machine that was designed to prove that fusion – the energy of the sun and stars – can be used as a large-scale, CO2-free energy source in order to produce electricity.
1 International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor