American Superconductor Corporation, a supplier of superconductor products and power electronic converters for the electric power industry, announced recently that its commercial power quality superconductor magnetic energy storage (PQ-SMES) product is now Europe’s longest continuously running electric power application based on superconductivity.
On-line since June 1999, the industrial PQ-SMES has been operating to prevent momentary voltage sags from affecting an auto parts manufacturing facility in Gleisdorf, Austria. The PQ-SMES system has been successfully protecting the Georg Fischer Moessner GmbH plant from dozens of significant voltage problems per year, any one of which could result in costly damaged parts or tools and lost production time. Most of the site’s voltage issues are the result of lightning strikes.
The PQ-SMES system, operated by Austria’s Steweag-Steg electric utility, has the ability to ride through sags lasting up to 0.8 seconds and up to a rated power of 1.4 megawatts. It can bridge power dips lasting even longer when the electric load is lighter. When it detects a voltage disturbance, the system immediately injects real and reactive power into the factory substation to stabilize the power entering the Moessner facility.
Since 1999, the Moessner facility has reported 79 voltage sags. Their longest sag was 1.7 seconds, and the deepest voltage sag was 80 percent of normal levels. Over the three-year period of operation, the PQ-SMES system, housed in a portable 48-foot trailer, allowed Moessner to ride through 10 sags in the second half of 1999, 38 in 2000, 24 in 2001 and 7 through late May 2002.