The first major technical component for the research infrastructure European Spallation Source’s (ESS) Target station – the Monolith vessel – was delivered today from Spain, as part of the Spanish in-kind contributions to the facility under construction in Lund, Sweden. Management representatives from ESS and the Spanish in-kind partner ESS Bilbao supervised the arrival and unloading of the huge vessel on site.
The Monolith vessel arrived by trailer at the ESS construction site early this morning, following a 12-day-long ship transport from the north of Spain to the south of Sweden. It was delivered in two pieces due to its large weight and size – in total 45 tonnes, six metres high and almost six metres wide. The complex vessel is an important contribution from Spain, provided through the Spanish partner ESS Bilbao and its industrial suppliers AVS and Cadinox. Spain, with an important neutron research community, has strongly supported ESS since the start of the project and is a fundamental contributor in the construction of the multi-disciplinary research facility.
“The delivery of the Monolith vessel demonstrates yet again the long-standing Spanish commitment to this world-leading research infrastructure in Europe,” said ESS Director General John Womersley. “Spain has, through ESS Bilbao and in collaboration with our team here in Lund, delivered another key technical contribution, and more will follow – allowing ESS to advance science so that future generations can thrive.”
From 2023, ESS will provide unique opportunities within materials research for thousands of scientists from all over the world, benefitting the development of new medicines, better batteries, and more sustainable materials. Through its unprecedented brightness and state-of-the-art technology, ESS will further strengthen and consolidate Europe’s flagship role in neutron scattering. The 13 member countries together fund and build the cutting-edge research infrastructure, to a large extent through in-kind contributions in the form of technical equipment and services, provided by over 40 in-kind partners throughout Europe.
“Spain’s membership in ESS, the world’s most powerful neutron source, is fundamental for our country as a science nation, especially benefitting Spanish researchers and industrial suppliers, ” said Mario Pérez, ESS Bilbao Executive Director. “The shipment of the Monolith vessel marks a major milestone in the ESS project and I am very proud of the teams at ESS Bilbao and ESS, and wish to thank our industrial partners AVS for the engineering and Cadinox for the manufacturing.”
The centre for neutron technologies ESS Bilbao manages all Spain’s in-kind contributions to ESS, and has been an essential partner in the construction of the facility for many years. ESS Bilbao is responsible for the design, manufacturing and delivery of the complete monolith vessel. The centre is one of the main contributors to ESS; providing the Target systems, which includes the target wheel, drive unit and shaft, as well as other important ESS elements; such as the Medium Energy Beam Transport (MEBT) and radio frequency (RF) systems for the accelerator, and the instrument MIRACLES.
“The Monolith vessel is the result of several years of close collaboration with the competent and committed team at ESS Bilbao,” said Sara Ghatnekar Nilsson, Work Package Manager Monolith Systems at ESS. “Despite technical challenges and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, our partners in Spain have managed to deliver this advanced technical component, vital for the facility.”
The Monolith vessel encloses the Target system, in which the neutrons for use in scientific experiments will be generated. In this steel container, the rotating target wheel, the moderator and reflector plug, and proton beam instrumentation will be installed. In addition, the vessel will contain 1,000 tonnes of steel, shielding the outside from activated materials and ionising radiation generated in the process. Once in operation, a vacuum atmosphere will be kept inside the immense vessel to isolate the critical parts of the target system from the external environment, and to ensure that the neutrons for research can be guided to the instruments.
“We have achieved this huge milestone after more than five years of hard work, and can today finally see the Monolith vessel on the ESS construction site,” said Fernando Sordo, Head of the Target group at ESS Bilbao. “This has been an engineering challenge in terms of design, manufacturing, quality control, testing and logistics that has now been successfully completed.”
The final positioning of the heavy vessel inside the ESS Monolith requires great precision, and will take place after measurements and adjustments in the coming days.
The multi-disciplinary research facility European Spallation Source (ESS), based on the world’s most powerful neutron source, is currently under constrution in Lund, Sweden. ESS will provide unique research opportunities within materials research for thousands of scientists from all over the world, enabling scientific breakthroughs in research related to materials, energy, health and the environment, and addressing some of the most important societal challenges of our time. ESS is a research Infrastructure with 13 member countries from all over Europe. ess.eu
About ESS Bilbao
ESS Bilbao is a centre of excellence in particle accelerator and neutron scattering science and technologies which brings knowledge and added value by leveraging the Spanish In-Kind contribution to European Spallation Source (ESS). It is a public consortium of the Governments of Spain and the Basque Region and the organisation in charge of channeling all Spanish contributions to ESS. The scientific and technological advances that are being generated as part of the design, production and testing currently undergoing at the test benches in ESS Bilbao facilities will play a key role in the ESS project. essbilbao.org