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

June 05, 2003

DOE Selects Seven Universities to Advance Superconducting Wires

DOE announced on June 5th its selection of seven universities that will help develop the next generation of high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wires. The universities-located in California, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin-will share $1 million for their research, which could play an important role in relieving congestion in the nation's electrical transmission and distribution systems. See the DOE press release.

Superconductivity is the ability of certain materials to carry current with no resistance at low temperatures. When used for wires, superconductors experience much lower energy losses than standard copper wires. Although typical superconductors require extremely low temperatures, HTS materials achieve superconductivity at temperatures that can be achieved with liquid nitrogen, making them more practical for use in operating machinery. Equipment made with HTS wires-such as motors, generators, or transformers-will be about half the size of conventional equipment and will operate at higher efficiencies. See DOE's Superconductivity for Electric Systems Web site.

The first generation of HTS wire is already commercially available, and the second-generation product-expected to sell for one-half to one-fifth the cost of the first-generation wire-is now under production. American Superconductor Corporation announced in late May that it had delivered 30 1.5-meter lengths of second-generation HTS wire to Ultera for the fabrication of a multi-wire HTS conductor. The conductor will be built and tested as part of a collaboration with DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. See the American Superconductor press release.