It will test an optimised magnetic field for confining the plasma, which will be produced by a system of 50 non-planar and superconducting magnet coils, this being the technical core piece of the device. It is used to investigate the suitability for a power plant capable for continuous operation. The first plasma was produced on 10th December 2015. The reactor successfully produced helium plasma (with temperatures of about 1 MK) for about 0.1 s. More than 300 discharges with helium were done in December and January with gradually increasing temperatures finally reaching six million degrees Celsius.
Till mid-2017 Wendelstein 7-X will be fit for high-power plasmas with heating powers of up to eight megawatts lasting ten seconds. Financial support for the project is about 80% from Germany and about 20% from the European Union. The German funding arrangement for the project was negotiated in 1994, establishing the Greifswald Branch Institute. A three-lab American consortium (Princeton, Oak Ridge, and Los Alamos) became a partner in the project, paying $7.5 million USD of the eventual total cost of 1.06 billion Euros.