HTS wire development update


High-temperature superconductor (HTS) technology holds the promise to make electric equipment optimally efficient compared to products using conventional copper wire. Key to the development process is HTS wire, with so-called second generation (2G) HTS wire increasingly in the news. American Superconductor Corp (AMSC) , a leading electricity solutions company, announced in mid-October 2005 that it has been awarded three new government contracts for 2G HTS wire and applications development.

Funded under U.S. Department of Defense's Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR), the contracts have a total value of $1.35 million. They’re projected for completion during the next two years and include:

  • Phase II SBIR contract through the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force Research Laboratory for basic development of coil technology using 2G HTS wire for military applications, such as rotating machines and magnets. AMSC will work with the Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on this project.

  • Phase II contract under a STTR program through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (OSR), American Superconductor will work with Florida State University to develop and test 2G wire for ac losses and quenching in a simulated coil environment.

  • Phase I STTR program, also through the Air Force OSR, in collaboration with the Applied Superconductivity Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focuses on enhancing current-carrying capacity of 2G HTS wire.

Military applications include ship propulsion motors, airborne generators, and magnets for microwave power sources; commercial applications include power transmission cables, electric motors and generators, transformers, synchronous condensers, and fault current limiters. HTS wire reportedly conducts more than 150 times the electrical current of copper wires of the same size.

"These three contracts are synergistic in accelerating the development of 2G HTS wire for applications and products," says Alex Malozemoff, CTO at American Superconductor. "Development of wires with even higher current carrying capacity, improved electrical stability, reduced ac losses, and a robust coil winding technology, are all essential for military and commercial applications of 2G wire."

For more recent coverage of HTS technology in Control Engineering , click below.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering,

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