This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 11, 2002

Two Groups to Install Superconductive Utility Cables in 2005

Two company partnerships recently announced plans to perform separate tests of high-temperature superconductor (HTS) cables at two U.S. utilities. Such HTS cables have high current-carrying capacity and could potentially transmit electricity with higher energy efficiency. HTS cable could increase the capacity of existing utility transmission and distribution systems, particularly in confined urban locations. DOE is contributing to both demonstration projects.

Intermagnetics General Corporation (IGC) announced in mid-November that it plans to install a 34.5-kilovolt, three-phase, 350-meter length of HTS cable in Niagara Mohawk's distribution system in Albany, New York, in 2005. An IGC subsidiary, SuperPower, Inc., will collaborate with Japan's Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. on the installation. The project will originally use cables made with so-called first generation HTS wire, which is now commercially available, then replace part of it with higher-efficiency second-generation HTS wire. SuperPower, Inc. has been manufacturing second-generation HTS wire at a pilot facility since January 2002. See the IGC press release.

Southwire Company followed up last week, announcing that it has teamed with nkt cables to form a new company named ULTERA. The new company will install a 300-meter length of cable in American Electric Power's electricity distribution system in Columbus, Ohio, also in 2005. Both the SuperPower and ULTERA cables promise cost savings and ease of operation and maintenance by combining all three phases into one power cable. See the Southwire press release.

Another leader in HTS technology, American Superconductor Corporation, completed the manufacture and testing of the rotor for the first HTS ship propulsion motor in November. U.K.-based ALSTOM is building the motor, which will be delivered to the U.S. Navy in July 2003. The 5-megawatt (or 6,500-horsepower) motor will be just one-half the size and weight of a conventional motor of the same power. See the American Superconductor press release (PDF 157 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

GE Power Systems and the GE Global Research Center are also entering the HTS fray by working on a new DOE program to develop an HTS generator for the power industry. The GE groups will work with the National Energy Group, American Electric Power, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and DOE's Oak Ridge and Los Alamos national laboratories to develop the generator. The $12.3-million, 3.5-year program is expected to move HTS generator technology toward full commercialization. See the GE Power Systems press release (PDF 87 KB).

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