AMSC ships superconductor wire for project hydra prototype power cable

Devens, MA, Oct. 2, 2008 — American Superconductor Corp.(AMSC) announced that it has manufactured and shipped approximately 17,000 meters (56,000 feet) of its proprietary second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire, branded as 344 superconductors, from the company’s manufacturing facility in Devens, MA for use in Project HYDRA.

Project HYDRA relies upon the development of new fault current limiting technology, which is partially funded by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate. The project focuses on the development and deployment of AMSC’s Secure Super Grids technology in the power delivery network of Manhattan operated by Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc. DHS is providing up to $25 million of the $39 million project. AMSC is both the wire supplier and the prime contractor for the project. Ultera, a joint venture between Southwire Company and nkt cables, is the cable manufacturer.

Electric utilities around the world are facing challenges to move more electricity through their urban grids to meet the increasing power demands of the future. At the same time, they must protect customers from ever larger power surges, known as fault currents. The Secure Super Grids (SSG) solution utilizes HTS power cables and ancillary controls to deliver up to 10 times more power than conventional copper cables while at the same time suppressing power surges that can disrupt service. The technology creates multiple paths for electricity flow in power grids to ensure system redundancy when individual circuits are disrupted due to severe weather, traffic accidents or willful destruction.

SSG technology was developed by AMSC based on a decade of HTS power cable demonstrations under U.S. Department of Energy projects, including live grid deployments in Ohio and New York, as well as AMSC’s development of stand-alone HTS fault current limiters for the electric utility industry. SSG is enabled by the unique properties of AMSC’s proprietary 344 superconductors, which are perfect conductors of electricity but then instantly switch to resistive mode when encountering a surge in current. When switched to resistive mode, the SSG system automatically and instantly suppresses power surges.

“Working with Homeland Security, Con Edison and Ultera, we have made significant progress since the launch of Project HYDRA in mid-2007,” said Daniel McGahn, senior vice president and general manager of AMSC Superconductors. “We successfully completed tests of an initial trial SSG cable and have now shipped all of the wire necessary for the first system prototype. We look forward to successfully testing this prototype in 2009 and deploying the full solution in Manhattan in 2010. This solution holds great promise for increasing the reliability and security of power grids in cities around the world.”

AMSC delivered this initial shipment of 344 superconductors to Ultera’s operations in Germany for the production of the prototype SSG cable. Testing of the prototype will be performed in conjunction with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and is expected to be complete in 2009. The full-scale HTS power cable system will connect two of Con Edison’s Manhattan substations and is scheduled to be deployed in 2010.

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