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Robust maintenance at the centre of competitive fusion electricity

The global energy demand is expected to continue its growth in the coming decades. In future, fusion electricity will constitute a sensible alternative to fossil fuel energy. MSc (Tech) Romain Sibois’s dissertation places reliability and robustness at the centre of fusion electricity development.

Energy demand around the globe is expected to increase by up to 50% by 2050. Developing alternative solutions to fossil fuel energy sources is key in order to limit the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions. Safe, clean and unlimited energy is still regarded utopian, but it may become reality if the fusion energy proves to be competitive with traditional energy sources.

Fusion electricity entails numerous advantages: it ensures sustainability and sufficient supply since the fuels are widely available, it involves no greenhouse gas production and the method is safe and environmentally responsible. The maintenance of such a facility is one of the main challenges. Robust maintenance aims to ensure high plant availability and demonstrate the competitive cost level of fusion energy. The dissertation of MSc (Tech) Romain Sibois places reliability and robustness at the centre of the maintenance systems development for fusion power plants.

A European roadmap has been established to show the path towards the demonstration of fusion electricity as a commercial energy source. ‘DEMOnstration power plant’ is an ongoing project that aims to demonstrate the potential for competitive fusion electricity costs by 2050.

“The method I developed in my dissertation aims to use reliability as one of the main requirements when designing complex maintenance systems. The method has been applied in relevant case studies related to the development of DEMO maintenance systems,” Sibois says.

The results indicate that the reliability-based method can improve confidence in the development of complex systems from the very early design phases onwards. The iterative and quantitative nature of the method supports the decision-making process and drives the design towards the most robust and reliable solution.

“Consequently, the number of design iterations can be reduced, which intrinsically decreases product development time. Also, the results in my dissertation have been kept on a general level to also remain applicable for other industries, such as the automotive or aviation fields,” Sibois notes.

Public defence of a doctoral dissertation on Friday, 9 December 2016

MSc (Tech) Romain Sibois’s doctoral dissertation in the field of Mechanical Engineering entitled ‘Quantitative evaluation method for the verification of complex mechatronic systems’ will be publicly examined at the Faculty of Engineering Sciences of Tampere University of Technology in Auditorium SA203 of the Sähkötalo building (address: Korkeakoulunkatu 1, Tampere, Finland) at 12 noon on 9 December 2016.

The opponents will be Professor Aki Mikkola from Lappeenranta University of Technology, Finland and Doctor Hans Meister from ITER Technology & Diagnostics department of Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmasphysik, Germany. Professor Kalevi Huhtala, Head of the Department of Intelligent Hydraulic and Automation of Tampere University of Technology will act as Chairman.

The dissertation is available online at http://www.vtt.fi/inf/pdf/science/2016/S140.pdf

Romain Sibois comes from Troyes, France, and currently works as a Research Scientist at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.

Further information: Romain Sibois, tel. +358 40 139 3775, firstname.lastname@vtt.fi

News submitted by: Tiina Leivo
Keywords: science and research, fusion electricity, demonstration power plant