In the framework of fusion energy research based on magnetic confinement, pulsed high-field tokamaks such as Alcator and FTU have made significant scientific contributions, while several others have been designed to reach ignition, but not built yet (IGNITOR, FIRE). Equivalent stellarator concepts, however, have barely been explored. The present study aims at filling this gap by: (1) performing an initial exploration of parameters relevant to ignition and of the difficulties for a high-field stellarator approach, and, (2) proposing a preliminary high-field stellarator concept for physics studies of burning plasmas and, possibly, ignition. To minimize costs, the device is pulsed, adopts resistive coils and has no blankets. Scaling laws are used to estimate the minimum field needed for ignition, fusion power and other plasma parameters. Analytical expressions and finite-element calculations are used to estimate approximate heat loads on the divertors, coil power consumption, and mechanical stresses as functions of the plasma volume, under wide-ranging parameters. Based on these studies, and on assumptions on the enhancement-factor of the energy confinement time and the achievable plasma beta, it is estimated that a stellarator of magnetic field B ~ 10 T and 30 m3 plasma volume could approach or reach ignition, without encountering unsurmountable thermal or mechanical difficulties. The preliminary conceptual device is characterised by massive copper coils of variable cross-section, detachable periods, and a lithium wall and divertor.
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© 2018, The Author(s).