From 2003 until 2010, OE’s High Temperature Superconductivity (HTS) Program worked in partnership with industry to develop HTS wire and supported a broad portfolio of research and development activities leading to the commercialization of HTS-based grid equipment by U.S. companies. High impact applications include advanced transmission and distribution cables and fault current limiters (FCLs).
Superconducting cables are cooled to remove the resistance associated with the flow of electricity, cutting down on the energy losses. HTS cables can also deliver up to five times more electricity than traditional copper or aluminum cables which may be needed to accommodate growing loads in dense urban centers, especially with more electric vehicles.
Superconducting FCLs have little resistance under normal operations but when there is an electric surge, the device activates to dissipate the energy, thus protecting other equipment on the line. Undesirable or excessive current flows can damage or destroy grid components.
The HTS Program helped to move HTS technology from basic science into commercial reality. These technologies have the potential to enhance the reliability of the grid by increasing capacity to reduce congestion and by preventing damage to critical equipment. The program culminated in demonstration projects which included cables in Columbus, OH, Albany, NY,and Long Island, NY as well as three FCL development projects.