SuperPower successfully concludes Albany HTS Cable Project demonstrating the world’s first integration of high-temperature super

Schenectady, N.Y.SuperPower, Inc. today announced the successful conclusion of the Albany Cable Project in which a 350-meter high-temperature superconducting (HTS) distribution-level cable was installed underground in the National Grid power system between the Riverside and Menands substations in Albany, N.Y. The demonstration project that first began in 2001 -  funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) - was the first time an HTS cable was integrated into a live power grid.  HTS cables, which carry three to five times more power than the copper-based power cables in use today, can provide an important solution to the ever-increasing demand for more and higher quality power. 

Arthur P. Kazanjian, general manager of SuperPower, Inc., said: “We are pleased to report that by all measures, this project has been an unqualified success. We have met all of the objectives for the program and have been able to demonstrate a significant number of first-of-a-kind achievements. In addition to being the first integration of HTS cable on a live power grid in the nation, we were able to demonstrate the first cable-to-cable joint in an HTS system, and the first disconnect and reconnect of HTS cables. We are especially pleased that we were able to demonstrate the first use of second-generation (2G) HTS wire in any device on a live grid when we installed and energized the 30 meter cable segment that was fabricated with 2G HTS wire manufactured by SuperPower in Schenectady.”

“Projects such as this one are demonstrating that high temperature superconductivity technologies have the potential to play a critical role in modernizing our electric infrastructure and ensuring the stable and affordable delivery of electricity to our homes and businesses”, said Patricia Hoffman, deputy assistant secretary for electricity delivery and energy reliability at DOE.  “The development and deployment of superconductivity and other advanced energy technologies are critical to the Bush Administration’s ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and reliability in our nation’s energy delivery infrastructure and to enhance our overall national energy security.”  

“HTS cables carry more power more efficiently,” said Robert G. Callender, NYSERDA vice president for programs.  “Since they occupy less space than comparably rated conventional cables, HTS cables can be retrofit into existing underground conduits, eliminating the need for additional trenching, which will be of particular benefit in highly congested urban settings, such as New York City.  NYSERDA has been pleased to support this project that has allowed New York State to lead the world by demonstrating the first-of-a-kind in grid distribution power cable.” 

“Of importance to National Grid is that this project has demonstrated the reliability of the technology,” said William Flaherty, Energy Solutions regional director of National Grid. “We encountered no difficulties in integrating the project into our grid and the entire installation was totally transparent to our customers. The system has stood up to very exacting utility standards and we look forward to further developments in HTS technology.” 

The HTS cable system saw more than 12 months of reliable operation on the National Grid system, providing power to about 25,000 homes and businesses in Albany, NY. During this time the cable system was subjected to real-world utility conditions, including a significant fault current event. There were no operational issues with the HTS cable technology and zero downtime or outages were caused by the cable or cryogenic system during Phase I and II of the project. 

The Albany HTS Cable Project, first installed and energized in July 2006, was initially comprised of two sections, a 320-meter long section connected to another 30 meters long, both fabricated with the so-called first-generation (1G) HTS wire. During Phase 2 of the project, the 30-meter section was removed and replaced during 2007 with an equal section fabricated from SuperPower’s new 2G HTS wire. 2G HTS wire is expected to provide important performance and price benefits compared to copper wire. 

Venkat Selvamanickam, chief technology officer of SuperPower noted that “we were able to demonstrate that 2G HTS wire is a direct replacement for the 1G HTS wire that has been on the market for a longer period of time. For HTS cables 2G wire performance is equal to or better than 1G and provides the opportunity to get the cost performance level equal to that of the conventionally used copper, which, because of its high raw material costs, 1G wire is not expected to attain. 

“The manufacture and delivery of the nearly 10 kilometers of 2G HTS wire that were required for the preliminary testing and eventual fabrication of the 30 meter 2G HTS cable demonstrated the capability of SuperPower’s manufacturing processes,” continued Selvamanickam. “The wire we delivered exceeded all of the cable specifications. Since that time we have further improved the performance and cost characteristics of our 2G wire and are able to routinely deliver very reliable, high quality wire in a short timeframe. We look forward to collaborating on other cable projects around the world that are now in the planning stages.” 

The $28.4 million Albany HTS Cable Project began in 2001 with a $6 million grant from NYSERDA in addition to $14.2 million provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.  SuperPower; Sumitomo Electric Industries (Osaka, Japan); Linde, formerly known as BOC (Germany); and National Grid (Westborough, MA) have all contributed their technical capabilities to this project.  SuperPower managed the project and manufactured the 2G HTS wire at its plant in Schenectady, New York; Sumitomo manufactured and installed the HTS cable systems; and Linde has provided and monitored the cryogenic refrigeration system that was used to cool the HTS cable to approximately 70K (-333 F).  

“It is thanks to these world-class partners that we have been able to successfully achieve all project goals and conclude the project that has now run to the end of the contract period,” said Kazanjian.  “Our plan is to continue to explore opportunities to further the HTS cables market.”   

Additional detail about the Albany HTS Cable Project


Traute F. Lehner, SuperPower
Tel:  (518) 346-1414 ext. 3070

About SuperPower
SuperPower, Inc. is a subsidiary of Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI), following Philips’ November 2006 acquisition of Intermagnetics General Corporation.  SuperPower was formed in March 2000 to provide a strong focus for the development and commercialization of HTS technology for technologies that benefit from high energy density, high magnetic fields and environmental benefits, including energy, medical, transportation, research and other sectors. To learn more, visit

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