Temperatures of 15 MILLION degrees Celcius which is hotter than the centre of the sun have been recorded in a sleepy Oxfordshire village
But rather than shredding the weather record books, the astonishing temperature is actually a milestone in an innovative bid to create controllable, clean energy.
Temperatures hotter than the centre of the sun were recently created right her in Oxfordshire by scientists with Tokamak Energy in Milton.
They are working towards the holy grail of fusion energy - the joining together of small atomic nuclei to form larger ones which releases energy.
It is the same process that powers the sun – and what Tokamak Energy is working to recreate in its device called a compact spherical tokamak.
The team say their next plasma temperature target is 100 million degrees Celcius -
seven times hotter than the centre of the Sun and the temperature necessary for controlled fusion on Earth.
The company’s overall aim is to produce industrial scale energy by 2025.
The ‘ST40’ device in which the 15 million degree Celcius temperature was achieved was built by Tokamak Energy and commissioned last year.
It is the third machine in a five-stage plan to achieve abundant, clean fusion energy.
The 15 million degree temperatures were reached using a technique known as merging compression, which releases energy as rings of plasma crash together and magnetic fields in the plasma reconfigure – a process known as magnetic reconnection.
Merging compression involves putting high electric currents through internal coils of the tokamak, which requires power supplies to deliver thousands of amps in a matter of seconds.
Tokamak Energy grew out of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire.
A key innovation is that the company combines spherical tokamaks with the latest generation of high temperature superconducting magnets (HTS).
Jonathan Carling, CEO at Tokamak Energy, said: “We are taking significant steps towards achieving fusion energy, doing so with the agility of a private venture, driven by the goal of achieving something that will have huge benefits worldwide.
“Reaching 15 million degrees Celcius is yet another indicator of the progress at Tokamak Energy and a further validation of our approach.
“Our aim is to make fusion energy a commercial reality by 2030.”
Dr David Kingham, Co-founder of Tokamak Energy, added: “The world needs abundant, controllable, clean energy.
“Our business plan is built on strong scientific foundations and this major milestone provides further validation of our compact spherical tokamak route to fusion power.
“Fusion is a major challenge, but one that must be tackled.
“We believe that with collaboration, dedication and investment, fusion will be the best means of achieving deep decarbonisation of the global energy supply in the 2030s and beyond.”
In 2017, Tokamak Energy was selected by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as one of three leading innovative ideas in fusion.
Tokamak Energy has raised private investment of more than £30 million, with investors including Oxford Instruments, Legal & General Capital and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.