/images/TDUpdate.jpg/images/southwire_100x70.jpgHot Demand for Cold Power - 2008HotDemandForColdPwrFeb2008.htmCommercial high-temperature superconductor power is multiplying rapidly. Here are three recent developments.
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Hot Demand for Cold Power - 2008

Commercial high-temperature superconductor power is multiplying rapidly. Here are three recent developments.

Things are moving quickly in the world of high-temperature superconductor (HTS) power systems. In the last ten years HTS has moved from an engineering exercise to commercial reality in multiple locations. “With the ability to conduct up to 10 times the power of copper cables of the same diameter, HTS power cables hold tremendous promise, particularly for urban and metropolitan areas,” says David Lindsay, Southwire business manager for High-Temperature Superconductor Systems.

Southwire expertise in the design, manufacture and installation of HTS systems is prominent in this progress. Here is an update on some new and existing projects.

HTS to enhance Manhattan power grid

In New York City, an HTS installation will make the Manhattan grid more reliable and increase the security of this critical infrastructure. Southwire is on the team with nkt Cables and American Superconductor Corporation. The Manhattan installation is slated to use Southwire’s patented Triax™ cable design, which dramatically reduces both materials cost and cooling requirements for HTS systems operating at distribution voltages.

An additional feature of the cable that Southwire will manufacture and install for the Manhattan project is that it will provide integrated fault-current limiting capabilities. The power carried by today’s grids creates the potential for power surges that approach the limits of today's most powerful breakers. The new HTS cable’s surge-protection properties eliminate the need for stand-alone fault-current limiting equipment. This reduces equipment cost and footprint in expensive Manhattan real estate.

Southwire named in New Orleans project

In another recent announcement by the Department of Energy, Southwire Company has been named a participant in a project to use a 13.8-kilovolt HTS cable to solve a real-world electrical load problem between two existing substation near downtown New Orleans. The cable will connect the LaBarre and Metaire substations, owned by Entergy Corporation of New Orleans. The Southwire project team also includes DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and nkt cables of Germany.

Columbus HTS system working flawlessly

Meanwhile, the Columbus, Ohio substation project that Southwire installed in August, 2006 continues to carry increasing – and record-setting – loads. Current on the 13kV superconductor link has hit 2,500 Amps. That’s a new worldwide high for any working superconductor link.

HTS installations call for specialized expertise

Southwire Company also provides specialized design and installation for HTS cable terminations and splices.

For example, a splice in the triaxial cable must connect the three co-axial phase conductors, maintain shielding integrity, and contain the flow of liquid nitrogen coolant, all while keeping the conductors at -350° F (-207° C). A different, but related set of engineering and installation skills is required for terminations, where conductors must transition from cryogenic temperatures to ambient temperature and from a triaxial configuration to separate conductors for distribution.

“Southwire has developed this specialized expertise in its years of pioneering these systems,” says Lindsay. “We’re proud to participate in the continuing expansion of commercial HTS project.”