Intermagnetics, DOE Sign Contract

Intermagnetics, DOE Sign Contract


Intermagnetics General, DOE Sign Contract to Scale Up Manufacturing Process for Second-Generation HTS Conductor

  • Intermagnetics to Begin First Phase of 3-Year, $4.5 Million Project
  • Announcement Made During Dedication of New Facility for Developing, Manufacturing Next-Generation Superconducting Devices

Latham, NY - Intermagnetics General Corporation (Amex: IMG) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) have jointly announced that they have signed a contract for the first phase of a three-year, $4.5 million project to commercialize the manufacturing process for second generation high-temperature superconductors (HTS). The contract award, announced at Wednesday’s formal dedication of Intermagnetics’ new IGC-SuperPower facility, will complement a technology transfer agreement between Intermagnetics, Los Alamos and Argonne National Laboratories signed earlier this year. That agreement gives the company rights to a new manufacturing process designed to lower the cost of HTS material to commercially feasible levels.

“This is an important next step in developing a manufacturing process that we believe will yield HTS material and devices with the potential to achieve the lower cost-benefit ratio necessary for their commercialization in electric utility applications,” said Glenn H. Epstein, president and chief executive officer of Intermagnetics. “The second-generation, coated-conductor HTS tape would be composed of less expensive materials and produced through a less labor-intensive process than current HTS material. Despite more than 10 years of research and development efforts, including some very solid advances, the current first-generation powder-in-tube process has not come close to reaching the cost threshold we believe is necessary for commercial viability.

”In addition to scaling up the second-generation HTS material manufacturing process, our recently created IGC-SuperPower subsidiary is concentrating on developing and commercializing HTS devices for electric power products such as transmission cables, transformers and fault current controllers.”

Dan Reicher, DOE’s assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, said in a statement issued Wednesday: “These advancements in superconductivity (could) soon mean savings in the billions of dollars per year in energy efficiency. IGC-SuperPower has formed a world-class team that is well equipped to achieve the aggressive goals of the new project. It is good news not only for the electrical utilities, but also for the consumer, as we find ways to improve the transmission of electricity, increase power and decrease the likelihood of power outages.”

Under terms of the contract, Intermagnetics and DOE will share the costs of developing the new manufacturing process. The first phase, with costs of approximately $500,000, is expected to be completed by December 2000. Intermagnetics and DOE expect the program to continue for three more phases, bringing total expenditures to about $4.5 million over the three-year period.

Epstein said that the official opening of IGC-SuperPower’s Schenectady facility—attended by federal, state and local officials and representatives of universities, DOE labs and industry—signifies the company’s commitment to “leverage 30 years of unique knowledge of superconducting materials, low-temperature refrigeration and applied devices to the success of SuperPower in its mission to commercialize HTS applications for transmission and distribution of electric power.”

Epstein, noting that several institutions have contributed toward Intermagnetics’ pioneering work in HTS development, said: “Recently, we received an Empire State Development Corporation grant that allowed us to relocate and consolidate our HTS operations under IGC-SuperPower in Schenectady. We also have received financial support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Defense and have many years of technical collaborations with the DOE’s national laboratories and the University at Albany, State University of New York.

Intermagnetics is a leading developer and manufacturer of superconducting materials, radio-frequency coils, magnets and devices utilizing low- and high-temperature superconducting wire, cable and tape, and related refrigeration equipment. The company’s current revenues are derived primarily from applications within magnetic resonance imaging for medical diagnostics and cryogenic applications for vacuum and related processes. Through its own research and development programs and in conjunction with industry partners, Intermagnetics is committed to further commercialization of applied superconductivity and refrigeration systems including high-temperature applications for the electric utility industry.

SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT:   The statements contained in this press release which are not historical fact are "forward-looking statements" that involve various important assumptions, risks, uncertainties and other factors. These include, without limitation, the assumptions, risks, and uncertainties set forth here as well as in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K, including but not limited to, the ability of the company and its partners to successfully commercialize and gain market acceptance of HTS products, the company's ability to license certain key technology for the manufacture of HTS tape/wire, the potential adverse impact on the company of emerging patents in this highly competitive field, and the company’s ability to invest sufficient resources to bring HTS products to market.

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