Intermagnetics' SuperPower Subsidiary Achieves New World-Record Performance in 2G HTS Wire

Intermagnetics' SuperPower Subsidiary Achieves New World-Record Performance in 2G HTS Wire
08/04/2004

 

  • Achieves 7,000 Amp-Meters in 100-Meter 2G HTS Wire, Another World Record Sicne March 2004 Breakthrough Performance
  • Reports First Shipments of 2G HTS Wire to Sumitomo for HTS Test Cable
  • Awarded Prestigious R&D 100 Award for Proprietary Quality Control System for Validation and Verification of Wire Manufacturing Process
  • On Target for Commercially Viable Production Processes in 2005

Latham, NY - Intermagnetics General Corporation’s (NASDAQ: IMGC) Energy Technology subsidiary, SuperPower, Inc., announced that it has achieved performance of 70 amperes with high uniformity in a 100 meter second-generation (2G) high temperature superconducting (HTS) wire. This performance surpasses the 6,000 amp-meter performance announced in March 2004 that gave the world record to SuperPower. “Amp-meter” is a common measure of HTS wire performance achieved by multiplying critical current carrying capacity in amperes by length in meters.

Glenn H. Epstein, chairman and chief executive officer of Intermagnetics, said, “The achievement of 100 meter 2G wire piece lengths is of particular significance as we work toward product commercialization, since this is the minimal piece length that will be required for fabricating commercial devices. SuperPower continues to demonstrate its position as a global leader in 2G wire performance as we move toward scale-up to commercial manufacturing. We expect to achieve a milestone of 100 amperes, 100 meters before the end of 2004, and thus be commercially viable in 2005, and in full scale production by 2006. Annual production capacity in 2006 is planned to be about 1,000,000 meters, which can easily be scaled up or down to meet market requirements due to the modularity of our production processes.”

William Parks, Acting Director, Office of Electric Transmission and Distribution at the Department of Energy (DOE), noted that, “This latest in a series of industrial partner achievements helps to validate DOE’s decade-long investment on behalf of the taxpayer in HTS technology. We must maintain this momentum and the associated funding by the federal government to enable manufacturing scale-up and commercialization by domestic companies.”

SuperPower also announced that it recently provided the first shipment of 2G HTS wire for the Albany HTS Cable Project. Philip J. Pellegrino, president of SuperPower, said, “We recently supplied more than 60 meters of wire to Sumitomo Electric Industries for testing a one meter HTS cable, in advance of the 30 meter 2G HTS cable section that will be installed in 2006. SuperPower plans on supplying a total of 8,000 meters of 2G wire for the Albany Cable Project by the fall of 2005.

“The HTS wire for this short test cable section was provided in 4 mm width which enables it to be wound around small 16 mm diameter formers, while exhibiting superior bend and tensile strength, as well as power handling capability. This demonstration is the world’s first use of 2G wire in practical 4 mm width in an HTS device. The measured ac losses were up to 20 times lower than previously demonstrated. This is important to minimize the associated cryogenic refrigeration requirements for HTS cables.”

Much of the progress being made is the result of work being done under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). This spans a wide range of topics and has enabled SuperPower to develop overall superior 2G wire.

SuperPower also announced that it has been named a recipient of the prestigious R&D 100 Award for a quality control system, co-invented with scientists from X-Ray Optical Systems, Inc. of East Greenbush, NY, with funding support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

The quality control system is a tabletop X-Ray Diffraction System that will measure the uniformity of both the buffer layer and the superconductor layer of SuperPower’s 2G wire. Pellegrino noted that, “This invention will enhance SuperPower’s ability to provide a high- quality, high-performance end product which is absolutely critical to establishing our commercial viability.” Inventors include Jodi L. Reeves of SuperPower, and Huapeng Huang, Rene Robert, Russell Youngman and Brian Gallagher, all of X-Ray Optical Systems (XOS). There are two joint patents pending with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Peter R. Smith, NYSERDA president, said: “NYSERDA has been committed to both SuperPower and their partner XOS during the development of this quality control system. We are especially proud to be associated with another New York State recipient of the R&D 100 Award, as it is testimony to Governor George Pataki’s vision to advance energy efficiency and protect our environment, while bolstering our state’s economy.

Aside from reporting the aforementioned milestones at the 2004 DOE Peer Review in Washington, DC, last week, Pellegrino noted the following additional accomplishments included in SuperPower’s presentation:

  1. Enhanced facilities to enable routine production of 100 meter lengths of 2G wire.
  2. Demonstrated critical currents of 380 amperes in a short sample, and up to 250 amperes in 1 meter lengths of 2G wire.
  3. Fabricated four electrical coils using about 25 meters of 2G HTS wire. Rockwell Automation Power Systems (RAPS) then integrated the coils into a small demonstration HTS generator, the world’s first demonstration of the use of 2G wire in a rotating machine. RAPS reported at the DOE Peer Review that the test generator ran at 1800 rpm and 1.2 horsepower.
  4. Transitioned high-throughput buffer layer technology developed at LANL to SuperPower’s pilot production facilities and fabricated several 100 ampere, 2 meter 2G wires using this high-throughput processing technology.
  5. Demonstrated linear speed greater than 10 meters/hour in every processing step to produce 2G wire. High throughput is essential to commercial viability.
  6. Demonstrated industry-leading 2G wire performance in high-magnetic fields, under mechanical strain and with the addition of electrical stabilization techniques.
  7. Developed slitting technology to produce 4 mm wide 2G wire, with at least 100 amperes/cm performance in lengths of several meters. No other entity in the world has demonstrated the capability to slit 2G wire to practical 4 mm widths in usable lengths.
  8. Developed patent-pending photolithography process, demonstrating up to 100 times lower AC losses.

Pellegrino said, “While we have clearly demonstrated SuperPower’s ability to fabricate 2G wire in short lengths with critical currents now approaching 400 amperes, our focus remains fixed on the achievement of commercial manufacturing capability, which absolutely requires the ability to fabricate 2G wire in continuous long lengths of 100 meters or more. Moreover, we believe that we are the only company worldwide developing a complete 2G wire with mechanical properties, electrical stabilization, ac losses, magnetic field performance, and dimensions that are acceptable for commercial applications.”

SuperPower, Inc. (www.superpower-inc.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intermagnetics General Corporation, uses core capabilities in materials, cryogenics and magnetics to develop state-of-the-art second-generation HTS wire and electric power components such as underground transmission and distribution cables, transformers and fault current limiters.

Intermagnetics (www.intermagnetics.com) draws on the financial strength, operational excellence and technical leadership in its expanding business of Medical Devices that encompasses Magnetic Resonance Imaging Systems & Components and Patient Monitoring. Intermagnetics is also a key supplier to the markets within Instrumentation and has become a prominent participant in superconducting applications for Energy Technology. The company has a more than 30-year history as a successful developer, manufacturer and marketer of superconducting materials, high-field magnets, medical systems & components and other specialized high-value added devices.

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Safe Harbor Statement: The statements contained in this press release that are not historical fact are "forward-looking statements" which 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 company's ability to: (1) attract and maintain strategic partners for its HTS initiatives; (2) invest sufficient resources and receive additional external funding to continue its development efforts; (3) attract and retain the personnel necessary to achieve its objectives; (4) attain commercial acceptance for and adoption of its products and technology; (5) successfully develop commercially viable production methods and successfully improve those methods to meet the cost-benefit ratio that will be critical to making HTS technology commercially competitive; and (6) avoid the potential adverse impact on the company of emerging patents in the highly competitive energy technology field. Except for the company's continuing obligation to disclose material information under federal securities law, the company is not obligated to update its forward-looking statements even though situations may change in the future. The company qualifies all of its forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements.

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SuperPower Inc. is subsidiary
of Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd.
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