More than 7% of the energy generated in the U.S. is lost during transmission and distribution. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that half of this loss could be eliminated by the application of HTS. These savings could amount to $16 billion per year, reducing our use of fossil fuels, as well as the generation of greenhouse gases and pollutant emissions.
The need for new solutions to the nation’s energy problems has now become critical: an aging utility infrastructure needs to be replaced, deregulation is driving utilities to seek more efficient, cost-effective devices, and demand for reliable, high quality power is increasing at an enormous rate. Additionally, rising energy costs and the threat of global warming have industry seeking the benefits of green technology to reduce their carbon footprint and minimize waste.
High temperature superconductivity (HTS) refers to the ability to achieve the superconducting state using liquid nitrogen, rather than the liquid helium required for low temperature superconductors (LTS).
These reduced cooling needs of HTS offer performance advantages to electric power devices:
- Increased efficiency in the generation, transmission, distribution and storage of energy
- Greatly enhanced capacity
- Improved reliability and quality of power
- Increased operational flexibility for utility grid
- Environmental benefits
- Reduced operating cost
SuperPower’s focus is on (RE)BCO-based 2G materials that offer the benefits of both lower cost and superior performance. It is estimated that HTS technology applied to these electric power devices can produce a savings of $8 billion in reduced energy loss alone:
Low power loss, increased current carrying capacity transmission cables that provide utilities the ability to increase power in urban areas by using existing cable ducts, foregoing the requirement to dig up congested urban areas to lay new ducts.
Higher efficiency, lighter and more compact transformers with lower life cycle costs, containing no materials that threaten the environment or pose a fire hazard, and capable of operating above rated power without degrading life.
Superconducting Fault Current Limiting (SFCL) Transformers add compatibility with Smart Grid Requirements by incorporating the FCL feature into the transformer device to rapidly detect and limit surges at high power levels that can be handled by downstream equipment.
Superconducting Fault Current Limiters (SFCL)
Superconducting Fault Current Limiters (SFCL) which provide the ability to limit damaging high-current transients (due to lightning strikes, downed tree limbs, etc.) resulting in increased operational flexibility for the electric utility grid and offer enhanced safety, reliability and power quality. There is no corresponding conventional device today.
Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage Devices (SMES)
High power and high energy storage in a compact device with modular units to address both long term (hours) and short term (seconds) storage requirements to help load leveling on the grid being led by variable renewable sources such as solar and wind.
Generators with increased efficiency, reduced size and weight can increase generating capacity without requiring additional space, an important benefit where expansion is difficult. These features are especially beneficial for wind turbines where nacelle size and weight impact voltage output and aboard ships where space for cargo competes with operating machinery.