Freemelt to develop AM tungsten for fusion energy project
February 13, 2023
Freemelt Holding AB, Mölndal, Sweden, has received an order for a materials development project from the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). The project, valued at around €90,000, will see the Additive Manufacturing of tungsten components for use in fusion energy power plants.
Tungsten has great mechanical strength, high corrosion resistance and a melting point of 3,400°C. These features make it particularly suitable for use in industrial processes involving extreme temperatures, such as fusion energy production.
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“We are developing tungsten material processes for eMELT, our coming industrial metal 3D printer. Tungsten is difficult to manufacture with traditional methods and can be costly. Using our electron beam technology and our software, Pixelmelt, we will develop methods to enable production at scale,” stated Daniel Gidlund, CEO, Freemelt. “We look forward to working with UKAEA in attempt to put fusion electricity on the grid.”
Fusion energy has the potential to provide a safe, low-carbon and sustainable part of the world’s future energy supply. To produce this energy, fusion machines function by merging hydrogen atoms to helium. The heat from this process is the same process undergone by the sun and, as expected, produces extreme heat which necessitates the most heat-resistant metals in the chamber walls of the fusion machine.
“Fusion energy development is one of the greatest scientific and engineering challenges of our time,” stated Dr Miguel Zavala-Arredondo at the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority.
Gidlund concluded, “Tungsten is one of the strategic materials that Freemelt is developing and where we have made great progress in recent years. When we also have the opportunity to be part of the development of renewable energy, this is something we as a company are very inspired in and dedicated to.”