/images/TDUpdate2.gif/images/southwire_100x70.jpgSuperconducting Power Delivery Comes to Columbus - 2007SuperconductingPwrDeliveryComesToColumbusJan2007.htmAn advanced application of high-temperature superconductivity is now part of American Electric Power’s (AEP) distribution system in Columbus, Ohio. Southwire technology is at the heart of it.
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Superconducting Power Delivery Comes to Columbus - 2007

A substation in Ohio is now distributing power arriving via a high-temperature superconductor link.

An advanced application of high-temperature superconductivity is now part of American Electric Power’s (AEP) distribution system in Columbus, Ohio. Southwire technology is at the heart of it.

Energized in September of 2006, the $9 million Columbus project is the first demonstration of a second-generation high-temperature superconducting (HTS) cable. (See box for more about “high-temperature” superconductors.) The new design dramatically reduces the cost of superconducting power systems.

New system expands HTS capacity capability

“Approximately 200 meters (660 feet) of Triax HTS cable from Southwire are part of a system distributing electric power to approximately 8,600 homes and businesses in suburban Columbus through AEP's Bixby substation in Groveport, Ohio,” says David Lindsey, Southwire business manager for HTS cable systems “The installation phase of the two-year demonstration project came in on time and on budget.”

Using the Triax second-generation cable design, the 69MVA Columbus facility can carry up to 3,000 amps at 13.2kV, roughly three times more current than other superconducting projects now energized or under construction.

HTS can lower cost of urban distribution upgrades

Superconducting cables are one solution to the challenge of using the existing infrastructure footprint to provide sufficient electric power to densely populated areas. When upgrading urban capacity with traditional distribution technology, the cost of acquiring rights-of-way and installing new duct banks often represents up to 75 percent of the project cost. In a dense city environment, those costs may be prohibitive. Because HTS cables can efficiently carry large currents at medium voltages in a single small cable, HTS cables can be retrofitted into existing ducts to eliminate those costs.

HTS cables save urban real estate by allowing large power transformers to be located farther away from urban centers and distribution substations. And, permitting for a 13.2kV underground line is easier than permitting a higher-voltage overhead line.

HTS technology also allows more efficient use of legacy medium-voltage distribution facilities. Utilities can provide greater interconnectivity between substations, creating redundancies that increase the reliability of the electrical grid.

Triax design cuts HTS costs, reduces duct needs

The second-generation Triax HTS wire design carries all three phases concentrically in a single cable. The new design takes up less duct space than three separate conductors. It delivers higher performance, more efficient cooling and significantly lower materials cost.

The Triax cable is a product of a joint venture between Southwire and nkt cables, a European cable manufacturer. On the Columbus project, Southwire did the installation and supplied the accessories. “This venture brings HTS technology one step closer to broad commercial applications,” says Lindsey. “Southwire is proud of our part in this project.”