American Superconductor provides update on Detroit Edison and other HTS cable demonstrations

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., July 22, 2002 — American Superconductor Corp. recently reported that Pirelli Energy Cables and Systems has announced the status of its high temperature superconductor (HTS) cable demonstration project in Detroit Edison’s Frisbie substation.

Pirelli presented a status report July 18 at the Department of Energy Peer Review in Washington, D.C. on its analysis of leaks it had detected in the thermal insulation system, or cryostats, in the HTS cables.

Pirelli reported that after extensive testing of the three HTS cables it installed at the Frisbie substation it has determined that leaks in two of the cables are significant enough that they cannot be energized.

Pirelli also announced that it plans to continue the demonstration project with the one HTS cable that has minimal leaks after conducting further tests to ensure the stability of the leaks in this cable. If further testing goes as planned, Pirelli intends to energize the HTS cable by the end of the year.

“While a lot has been learned during the course of this project, we are disappointed that the full cable system will not be demonstrated,” said Greg Yurek, chief executive officer of American Superconductor. “One positive outcome of this demonstration project is that American Superconductor’s HTS wires met or exceeded performance specifications, as determined on samples taken from the cables that had been installed in Frisbie. Based on the learning from this project and from other HTS cable projects being conducted around the world, and on the excellent performance of our HTS wires, we are confident that HTS cables will continue the march to full commercialization.”

Pirelli had successfully demonstrated cable cryostats in the past, and at least three other cable manufacturers have successfully demonstrated HTS cables during the last year. “These demonstration projects are providing the foundation for future commercial HTS cable success,” continued Yurek.

Recent studies are confirming the value of high-capacity HTS cables in the power grid. One report ( just issued by RAND concluded “HTS cables can provide reliability and transfer capacity benefits in specific transmission grid situations” such as the upgrade of much lower-capacity, worn out copper cables in metropolitan areas. The RAND study concluded that major investments in the power grid in the U.S. will be necessary to meet the need for reliable and affordable electric power and that HTS cables could play a significant role in meeting this need.

In addition to the Pirelli demonstration project in Detroit, HTS cable demonstration projects have been led by four other cable manufacturers during the last year: Sumitomo Electric Industries (Japan), Southwire (U.S.), NKT Cables (Denmark) and Condumex (Mexico).

Additional HTS cable projects are currently in the planning stage in the U.S., Europe, China, Korea, Mexico and Japan. AMSC believes it is well-positioned to become the HTS wire supplier for these future cable demonstrations based on its ability to produce high- performance HTS wire in commercial quantities.

About American Superconductor

American Superconductor Corporation is a developer and manufacturer of products using superconductor wires and power electronic converters for the electric power infrastructure.
American Superconductor’s products, and those sold by electrical equipment manufacturers that incorporate its products, can dramatically increase the bandwidth and reliability of power delivery grids, reduce manufacturing and operating costs, and conserve resources used to produce electric power. Founded in 1987, the company is headquartered in Westborough, Mass. For more information, visit

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