DOE Awards Contract for HTS Power Cable Installation
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently awarded a contract that will result in the world`s first high temperature superconductor (HTS) power cable to deliver electricity in a utility network. Detroit Edison will begin using the cable in 2000.
The cable will be manufactured and installed by Pirelli Cables and Systems using HTS wire produced by American Superconductor Corp. Lotepro Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Linde AG, will develop the cable`s cooling system. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will partially fund and help manage the cable project.
“The Department of Energy is delighted to award this contract, thereby opening the gateway to the electricity superhighway of the future,” said Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. “The contract builds on the department`s significant investment in developing HTS technology over the last decade and paves the way to commercialization of a technology that will transform the world`s power delivery systems. This project will help the U.S. build and increase its competitive position in the emerging world market for HTS electric power applications.”
The HTS cable project`s total value is $5.5 million. DOE, through its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, is providing $2.75 million over the project`s life and industry participants will fund the remainder.
The cable will be installed in downtown Detroit to support the revitalization of an older urban area. Existing cable will be retrofitted with a 400-foot superconducting cable in existing conduits, avoiding the disruption and damage caused by digging. The HTS cable system will carry three times the power carried by conventional copper cables. According to DOE, superconducting technology offers the potential to save more than $6 billion annually by reducing losses in electricity delivery.