American Superconductor Corporation,
a leading energy technologies company, announced today that it has manufactured
and shipped approximately 17,000 meters (56,000 feet) of its proprietary second
generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire, branded as 344 superconductors,
from the company’s manufacturing facility in Devens, MA for use in Project
HYDRA. This is the single largest shipment of 2G HTS wire by any company worldwide.
Project HYDRA relies upon the development of new fault current limiting technology,
which is partially funded by the United States Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) Science and Technology Directorate. The project focuses on the development
and deployment of AMSC’s Secure Super Grids™ technology in the power
delivery network of Manhattan operated by Consolidated Edison Company of New
York, Inc. DHS is providing up to $25 million of the $39 million project. AMSC
is both the wire supplier and the prime contractor for the project. Ultera™,
a joint venture between Southwire Company and nkt cables, is the cable manufacturer.
Electric utilities around the world are facing challenges to move more electricity
through their urban grids to meet the increasing power demands of the 21st Century.
At the same time, they must protect customers from ever larger power surges,
known as fault currents. The Secure Super Grids (SSG) solution utilizes HTS
power cables and ancillary controls to deliver up to 10 times more power than
conventional copper cables while at the same time suppressing power surges that
can disrupt service. The technology creates multiple paths for electricity flow
in power grids to ensure system redundancy when individual circuits are disrupted
due to severe weather, traffic accidents or willful destruction.
SSG technology was developed by AMSC based on a decade of HTS power cable demonstrations
under U.S. Department of Energy projects, including live grid deployments in
Ohio and New York, as well as AMSC’s development of stand-alone HTS fault
current limiters for the electric utility industry. SSG is enabled by the unique
properties of AMSC’s proprietary 344 superconductors, which are perfect
conductors of electricity but then instantly switch to resistive mode when encountering
a surge in current. When switched to resistive mode, the SSG system automatically
and instantly suppresses power surges.
“Working with Homeland Security, Con Edison and Ultera, we have made
significant progress since the launch of Project HYDRA in mid-2007,” said
Daniel McGahn, Senior Vice President and General Manager, AMSC Superconductors.
“We successfully completed tests of an initial trial SSG cable and have
now shipped all of the wire necessary for the first system prototype. We look
forward to successfully testing this prototype in 2009 and deploying the full
solution in Manhattan in 2010. This solution holds great promise for increasing
the reliability and security of power grids in cities around the world.”
AMSC delivered this initial shipment of 344 superconductors to Ultera’s
operations in Germany for the production of the prototype SSG cable. Testing
of the prototype will be performed in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory
and is expected to be complete in 2009. The full-scale HTS power cable system
will connect two of Con Edison’s Manhattan substations and is scheduled
to be deployed in 2010.