SuperPower and Partners Resume Development of Superconducting 'Power Valve' to Protect Utility Grids

SuperPower and Partners Resume Development of Superconducting 'Power Valve' to Protect Utility Grids


Schenectady, NY - SuperPower and two partners have agreed to further develop a unique Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (SFCL) intended to protect utility grids from damaging power surges that occur from lightning strikes, fallen tree limbs and other mishaps. SuperPower already has designed, built and successfully tested a proof-of-concept prototype. The next prototype will be designed for transmission level voltages, and in the final phase a complete three-phase prototype “power valve” will be installed at a substation of American Electric Power for extended operation.

“This device, which has no conventional counterpart currently in use, would act virtually instantaneously to protect valuable equipment from damaging faults and ensure the integrity of the grid,” said Philip J. Pellegrino, president of SuperPower. “We believe that this would counter many of the blackouts and brownouts we’ve experienced in the Unites States and worldwide in recent years.”
The SFCL will employ second-generation (2G) high-temperature superconducting (HTS) components developed by SuperPower. Second-generation technology is considered more cost-efficient and commercially viable than first-generation HTS.

The SFCL program was deferred last year while SuperPower worked to improve the reliability of elements that were fabricated with melt-cast BSCCO-2212 and to overcome lagging progress on other developments. Since then SuperPower has been evaluating the feasibility of using 2G HTS material in place of the BSCCO elements.

“SuperPower has achieved these objectives and is ready to fully resume the program’” Pellegrino said. “We have conducted tests using 2G material at both SuperPower and at a high-power test laboratory that indicate our material is superior to the melt-cast material used in the proof-of-concept prototype with respect to the key parameters of reliability, response time, recovery under load and energy absorbed. We also have received additional funding from government and private sources, in-kind contributions from our partners and have a related research agreement with a national laboratory.”

SuperPower’s private-sector partners in the project are the same companies that have collaborated with it on the recently energized HTS cable project in Albany, New York: Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, and BOC of Murray Hill, New Jersey.

SuperPower Inc. (, a subsidiary of Intermagnetics General Corporation (NASDAQ: IMGC), uses core capabilities in materials, cryogenics and magnetics to develop state-of-the-art second-generation high-temperature superconducting wire and electric power components for underground transmission and distribution cables, transformers, motors, generators and fault current limiters.

Traute F. Lehner
SuperPower, Inc.
Communications/Govt. Relations Specialist
(518) 346-1414 ext. 3070

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