American Superconductor Corporation announced today it has achieved commercial levels of electric current for the first time in long lengths of second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. HTS wires conduct large quantities of electricity with 100% efficiency when cooled with environmentally friendly liquid nitrogen, the coolant of choice for superconductor electric power transmission and distribution cables. "We have now produced lengths of commercial-grade 2G wire in excess of 300 feet that are about 4 millimeters wide and that conduct 140 Amperes of electric current with 100% efficiency when cooled with liquid nitrogen,"
"I believe this breakthrough will do for the electrical grid what optical fibers did for telecommunications. The emergence of optical fibers had a tremendous ripple effect on areas well beyond telecom, and I believe that HTS wire will produce similar results. Our ultra-thin wires - only the thickness of two human hairs - have the ability to transmit massive amounts of power to, and through, congested urban areas where the greatest demand for power exists. "
American Superconductor's 2G HTS wire, also known as 344 superconductors, are designed as a drop-in replacement for customers currently using first generation (1G) HTS wire. The 344 superconductors comprise 2G HTS wire clad with ultra-thin strips of copper or stainless steel. 344 superconductors offer significantly higher power density and efficiency compared with similar copper-based wire products. As a result, electrical systems that incorporate HTS wire are dramatically smaller, lighter and more cost effective than comparable systems based on copper wire. The applications for HTS wire include power transmission and distribution cables, propulsion motors and generators, degaussing cable systems, synchronous condensers and fault current limiters.