/images/buttons/swirl_60.jpg/images/southwire_100x70.jpgSqueezing the Cost of Superconducting Powersqueezing-the-cost-of-superconducting-power.htmHigh-temperature superconducting power distribution systems offer economic benefits
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Squeezing the Cost of Superconducting Power

Southwire advances the effort to lower the cost of high-temperature superconducting (HTS) power distribution systems, leading the way in HTS commercialization. "Southwire's commitment to HTS commercialization continues to pave the way for continued reductions in manufacturing, installation, and operating costs for HTS systems, while improving reliability," says Southwire's HTS expert, Dave Knoll. Recent developments in Southwire's cost-reduction programs for HTS systems include:

Design refinements reduce losses

In partnership with NKT cables of Germany, laboratory HTS cable experiments have yielded record-setting reduction in energy losses. These very low loss cable designs are critical in realizing long-length, commercial HTS cable systems.

Existing installation benefits from cooling improvements

The American Electric Power (AEP) HTS installation in Columbus, Ohio, is converting to a closed-cycle cooling system that improves economic efficiency by retaining and recooling the liquid nitrogen. The HTS cable at AEP has been in operation since 2006 and the cooling system modifications will take place over the next year. Converting away from the existing open-cycle cooling system will reduce cooling costs and nitrogen loss.

Advancing HTS with the DOE

Southwire continues to work with the U.S. Department of Energy to improve HTS cable system reliability and cost by:

  • Establishing comprehensive factory testing capability for HTS cables
  • Optimizing long-length HTS cable system design by utilizing Finite Elements Analysis (FEA) and laboratory testing
  • Reducing cooling costs with improved commercial refrigeration designs

New wire design may cut manufacturing costs

As part of Southwire’s efforts to reduce HTS costs, Southwire continues to work with suppliers of HTS related technologies. The latest involves an up and coming HTS wire supplier from California, Superconductor Technologies, Inc. (STI). STI's wire design is based on a HTS component manufactured for the telecom industry and promises to bring HTS wire costs down even further. Southwire is working with STI to guide their wire development toward commercial HTS cable applications.

Knoll concludes, "HTS systems operating at distribution voltages can deliver benefits including high power densities with low loss in high-capacity distribution connections, and reduced substation footprints."