An optimization approach that incorporates the predictive transport code TRANSP is proposed for tokamak scenario development. Optimization methods are often employed to develop open-loop control strategies to aid access to high performance tokamak scenarios. In general, the optimization approaches use control-oriented models, i.e. models that are reduced in complexity and prediction accuracy as compared to physics-oriented transport codes such as TRANSP. In the presented approach, an optimization procedure using the TRANSP code to simulate the tokamak plasma is considered for improved predictive capabilities. As a test case, the neutral beam injection (NBI) power is optimized to develop a control strategy that maximizes the non-inductive current fraction during the ramp-up phase for NSTX-U. Simulation studies towards the achievement of non-inductive ramp up in NSTX-U have already been carried out with the TRANSP code. The optimization-based approach proposed in this work is used to maximize the non-inductive current fraction during ramp-up in NSTX-U, demonstrating that the scenario development task can be automated. An additional test case considers optimization of the current ramp rate in DIII-D for obtaining a stationary plasma characterized by
a flat loop voltage profile in the flattop phase.
Active control of the toroidal current density profile is critical for the upgraded National Spherical Torus eXperiment device (NSTX-U) to maintain operation at the desired high-performance, MHD-stable, plasma regime. Initial efforts towards current density profile control have led to the development of a control-oriented, physics-based, plasma-response model, which combines the magnetic diffusion equation with empirical correlations for the kinetic profiles and the non-inductive current sources. The developed control-oriented model has been successfully tailored to the NSTX-U geometry and actuators. Moreover, a series of efforts have been made towards the design of model-based controllers, including a linear-quadratic-integral optimal control strategy that can regulate the current density profile around a prescribed target profile while rejecting disturbances. In this work, the tracking performance of the proposed current-profile optimal controller is tested in numerical simulations based on the physics-oriented code TRANSP. These high-fidelity closed-loop simulations, which are a critical step before experimental implementation and testing, are enabled by a flexible framework recently
developed to perform feedback control design and simulation in TRANSP.