May 9 2007
American Superconductor Corporation, a leading energy technologies company, and Nexans, the worldwide leader in the cable industry, announced today the successful testing of the world's first power transmission cable made with second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. The cable was produced by Nexans utilizing AMSC's proprietary 2G HTS wire known as "344 superconductors."
This 30-meter-long, transmission-voltage cable was successfully tested at a Nexans high-voltage facility in Hannover, Germany.
Operated at 138,000 volts (138kV), the cable contained only 33 hair-thin 344 superconductors, yet it demonstrated the capability to transmit 435 mega-volt-amperes (MVA) of power - enough electricity to power over 250,000 homes. This rating is more than 50% higher than conventional cables at the same voltage level.
"The demonstration of a power transmission cable that utilizes AMSC's proprietary 344 superconductors is an important milestone and paves the way for large-scale, commercial utility projects," said Greg Yurek, founder and CEO of AMSC. "We have achieved commercial-grade electrical performance with our 344 superconductors, and have proven that our manufacturing methodologies are on the way to achieving cost targets that are expected to enable broad application of this technology in power grids."
This demonstration confirms that 344 superconductors are a drop-in replacement for first generation HTS wire. First generation HTS wire has been utilized to manufacture all prototype HTS power cables worldwide over the past 10 years. AMSC said it expects to initiate volume production of 344 superconductors in December 2007 to meet the expected demand for HTS wire for power cables and other applications.
High-capacity superconductor power cables are expected to be utilized first in cities and metropolitan areas, where demand for electricity continues to grow and has strained existing power grids.
"Nexans always has been committed to providing the utility industry with advanced technologies, and HTS power cables are among our most promising offerings," said Pascal Portevin, Executive Vice President, Strategic Operations. "The ability to carry a large amount of electricity through small corridors is incredibly appealing for urban and metropolitan power grids. Transitioning from first generation to second generation HTS wire proved to be seamless for our cable manufacturing team, and we are very happy with the cable's performance. Based on these results and the anticipated success of the first generation 138kV HTS cable system we are installing with AMSC in the commercial grid of Long Island Power Authority, we are clearly on a path to finalize development and introduce HTS cables made with 344 superconductors in utility power grids."
This first HTS transmission cable made with 344 superconductors was privately financed by Nexans and AMSC to demonstrate that 344 superconductors are a form, fit and function replacement for AMSC's first generation HTS wire. The project confirmed that power transmission cables utilizing 344 superconductors could be readily produced employing the same techniques that have been developed for the production of cables made with first generation wire.
AMSC's 344 superconductors were designed as a drop-in replacement for customers currently using 1G HTS wire. The 344 superconductors comprise 2G HTS wire clad with ultra-thin strips of copper or stainless steel. 344 superconductors offer significantly higher power density and efficiency compared with similar copper-based wire products. As a result, electrical systems that incorporate HTS wire are dramatically smaller, lighter and more cost effective than comparable systems based on copper wire. The applications for HTS wire include power transmission and distribution cables, propulsion motors and generators, degaussing cable systems, synchronous condensers and fault current limiters.