Nexans' high temperature superconductor elements are key to US Department of Energy's $12-million fault current limiter project
New superconducting fault current limiter (FCL )technology will be the first in the world capable of stabilizing the transmission grid from power surges. Nexans' unique melt cast processed tubes will be the first such high temperature superconductor material from an European supplier to be used in a US Department of Energy (DOE) project.
Paris, November 18, 2003 - Nexans has been awarded the contract to supply the high temperature superconductor (HTS) components for the US Department of Energy's $12-million Matrix Fault Current Limiter (MFCL) project.
The prime contractor for the MFCL project is SuperPower, Inc., a wholly owned Energy Technology subsidiary of Intermagnetics General Corporation (Nasdaq: IMGC), a leading participant in superconducting applications for energy technology. The new device will be based on proprietary technology developed by SuperPower, Inc. With a voltage of 138 kV this is expected to be the first FCL world-wide for the transmission level, culminating with the installation of the MFCL in a utility substation by 2006.
Nexans is supplying the HTS elements for the new device, applying its proprietary and patented melt cast processing (MCP) technique. Joachim Bock, Managing Director of Nexans SuperConductors GmbH, the unit that will provide the components, said: "The HTS components we are developing for the MFCL project will be different from the components we have fabricated previously, as this new type of fault current limiter requires a new type of functional element. We have been at the forefront of HTS technology for energy applications for over 10 years and we will rely on our well established MCP material. We believe this will provide the best technical solution for this innovative new technology and, with our efficient manufacturing process, we are confident that the MFCL will be an economical success".
Jean-Maxime Saugrain, Superconductor Activity Manager for Nexans said: "We believe our partnership with SuperPower represents a logical and complementary combination of proprietary technologies that will benefit the ultimate end user. Together with the other partners we are forming a world-class development team for this project".
Yvon Raak, Nexans' Executive Vice-President, Europe Area, said: "The market opportunities for FCLs are very large. Fault current limiters will be used in conjunction with HTS power cables and the capability to offer both solutions to customers reinforces our position as a key player in this potentially fast growing market."
Philip J. Pellegrino, president of SuperPower, said the MCFL project is designed to employ Nexans' melt cast superconductors, as opposed to the more commonly employed wires or tapes, because of the substantially greater current carrying capacity required by the MFCL. "Nexans is the world's leading producer of melt cast materials and will be a key contributor to our highly proprietary designs," Pellegrino said. "We expect that those materials, when combined with our proprietary "matrix" technology, will yield a fault current limiter capable of withstanding burnout risks that could occur at transmission-level currents".
Notes to the Editors
1. Nexans HTS components
The HTS material for the MFCL project is a ceramic compound of Bi (Bismuth), Sr (Strontium), Ca (Calcium) and Cu (Copper). Superconducting bulk parts made by melt cast processing (MCP) have been in commercial use for current lead applications since 1995. Recently, this technique has been adapted to manufacture bulk tubular parts which are cut into a double spiral providing a long active conductor length together with a compact design. These components are being used within the framework of a German BMBF project to demonstrate a resistive type FCL of 10 MVA for the 10 kV network level. The device is intended to be tested under field conditions by RWE (a leading German utility) in the German network by the end of 2003.
2. MFCL project
The matrix fault current limiter is an entirely new type of grid protection against equipment damage that occasionally results from excessive levels of electrical current. Recent blackouts clearly show that the US transmission system falls short of the reliability standards the economy requires.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will contribute half of a projected $12 million cost as part of the Energy Department's Superconductivity Partnership Initiative (SPI) program. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a non-profit energy research consortium of utilities, previously committed $600,000 toward the MCFL project.
Three of the premier DOE National Laboratories - Argonne, Los Alamos and Oak Ridge - also are scheduled to participate in the project. Their substantial expertise in high voltage engineering, cryogenics and analytics are expected to complement the technical skills within SuperPower and Nexans.
Nexans is the worldwide leader in the cable industry. The Group brings an extensive range of advanced copper and optical fiber cable solutions to the infrastructure, industry and building markets. Nexans cables and cabling systems can be found in every area of people's lives, from telecommunications and energy networks, to aeronautics, aerospace, automobile, railways, building, petrochemical, medical applications, etc. The program is completed by superconducting materials and components, cryoflex transfer systems and special machinery for the cable industry. With an industrial presence in 28 countries and commercial activities in 65 countries, Nexans employs 17,150 people and had sales in 2002 of euros 4.3 billion. Nexans is listed on the Paris stock exchange. More information on http://www.nexans.com
Drawing on the financial strength, operational excellence and technical leadership in its core businesses of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Instrumentation 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, radio-frequency coils, magnets and devices utilizing low- and high-temperature superconductors and related cryogenic equipment. The company is at the forefront in the development of high-temperature superconductor-based applications that would provide increased capacity and reliability for transmission and distribution of electric power. Through its own research and development programs and in conjunction with industry and other partners, Intermagnetics is committed to further commercialization of applied superconductivity and cryogenic systems for a broad range of applications.