World record in current intensity achieved with distribution cables

May 06, 2010

Researchers at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain, and the firms Labein Tecnalia and Nexans, coordinated by the electrical company Endesa, have constructed a 30m cable and the terminals needed to connect it to the network using the high-temperature superconducting material BSCCO. This is the most advanced cable in terms of distribution (24 kV), since its current value is higher than that obtained up to date, 3200 Amperes RMS, and therefore can transport the electrical strength of 110 MVA, i.e. five times more than a conventional copper cable of the same dimensions.

The superconducting electric cable could reduce by 50% and even by 70% in some parts of the distribution network. Reduction in loss represents energy saving and a significant decrease in in the present distribution of generation of the Spanish electricity system.

The fact that superconductor technology transports a larger amount of electricity than conventional systems makes it a viable alternative to the efficiency needs of the world's electrical systems, which presently channel 40% of the world's total consumption of energy. Energy demands are expected to double by the second half of this century. Thus the construction of more efficient motors, generators, transformers and superconducting cables would help to satisfy this demand in energy and at the same time reduce the emission of .

In fact, transporting electricity with superconducting materials represents important benefits for the environment, since it will contribute to the global reduction of even if there is an increase in both the global population and the use of energy, especially in developing countries. The use of superconductor electrical systems could easily reduce primary by 10-15%, with no decrease in final user consumption. This is due to the fact that 60% of the energy presently produced is wasted, which demonstrates that there is yet much to do to improve on energy efficiency. In the case of Catalonia, with a yearly energy consumption of approximately 40,000 GWh, implementing superconductor technology throughout the country could reduce its yearly emissions of carbon oxide by 500,000 tonnes.

The technology based on also increases the security and reliability of network installations, given that these transformers are non-flammable. Current restrictions would be easier to apply as well, which allows for a greater control of the network.

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User comments : 5

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Thadieus
not rated yet May 09, 2010
$ per foot? ROI?
Skepticus
not rated yet May 18, 2010
$ per foot? ROI?

$ per foot = Too expensive without investments.
ROI = No Return Of Investment to speak of now since nobody invests yet.
ZeroX
not rated yet May 19, 2010
..superconducting electric cable could reduce energy loss by 50%..
This is apparently not a big deal - especially under the risk, at the case of accidental heating and superconductor quenching the powerline would explode.
Skepticus
not rated yet May 19, 2010
..superconducting electric cable could reduce energy loss by 50%..
This is apparently not a big deal - especially under the risk, at the case of accidental heating and superconductor quenching the powerline would explode.


Pease read the article carefully. The test used superconductor material but not in the superconducting state. Otherwise there would be no losses at all.
Sonhouse
not rated yet May 30, 2010
..superconducting electric cable could reduce energy loss by 50%..
This is apparently not a big deal - especially under the risk, at the case of accidental heating and superconductor quenching the powerline would explode.


Pease read the article carefully. The test used superconductor material but not in the superconducting state. Otherwise there would be no losses at all.


That is not true, there were no words saying the superconductor was at room temp or something. If it was at room temp it would not only not be superconducting but it would also not conduct at all. Most of these kind of superconductors are insulators at higher temps. The superconducting wires used in large research magnets are paired with normal conductors for the specific purpose of absorbing the energy in superconductors which for whatever reason become non-conductive. Whether that has been used in power lines I don't know, but it would certainly add to the mass and complexity.

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