Superconducting wire to be used in power cable project

American Superconductor Corporation has completed all of the high temperature superconducting wire needed to manufacture the world’s first HTS power cable to be installed in a utility grid.

American Superconductor Corporation has completed all of the high temperature superconducting (HTS) wire needed to manufacture the world’s first HTS power cable to be installed in a utility grid. Just over 18 miles of HTS wire have been manufactured and shipped to Pirelli Cables and Systems, the world’s largest power cable manufacturer. Pirelli expects to complete manufacture of the HTS cable by the end of 2000.

The cable will then be shipped to Detroit Edison and installed in the Frisbie Station, located in downtown Detroit, where operation is scheduled to start during the second quarter of 2001. This project is partially funded by the US Department of Energy’s Superconductivity Partnership Initiative (SPI).

Pirelli is manufacturing three HTS cables, each of whichwill be about 400 feet long and about four inches in diameter. The cables are sized to fit into existing ductwork under the Frisbie Station.

In the period June 1996 to January 1999, Pirelli developed, manufactured and tested a complete HTS cable system. This system included a 165-foot HTS cable made with wire produced in early 1996 by American Superconductor, and two terminations as well as the necessary refrigeration equipment. The cable was developed with EPRI as part of a previous phase in the SPI program.

American Superconductor’s final wire shipment comprised a total of approximately 4.25 miles of HTS wire. Each of the high power density HTS wires is capable of carrying more than 100 times the power of copper wires with the same dimensions.

Using this wire, the three HTS cables to be installed in the Frisbie Station will carry 100 megawatts of power, the same amount of power carried by the nine copper cables they will replace. This will leave six ducts open, which can be used for additional HTS cables to increase the power throughput of the existing right of way, or for installation of other assets, such as high-speed Internet or telecommunications cables.

The ability of HTS power cables to carry much larger quantities of electrical power in the same right of way currently being occupied by conventional copper or aluminum cables means that the capacity, and hence, the reliability of power grids can be enhanced significantly.

For more information, go to www.amsuper.com.