DOE Funding Spurs Superconductor Advance

Funds from the U.S. Department of Energy over the last decade have helped spur the possible coming boom in superconducting devices, according to Gregory Yurek, CEO and founder of American Superconductor Corp., Westborough, Mass. DOE funding "allowed us to explore things we just couldn't do otherwise," Yurek told The Chicago Tribune.

06/01/2001


Funds from the U.S. Department of Energy over the last decade have helped spur the possible coming boom in superconducting devices, according to Gregory Yurek, CEO and founder of American Superconductor Corp., Westborough, Mass. DOE funding "allowed us to explore things we just couldn't do otherwise," Yurek told The Chicago Tribune.

One of the first practical applications of superconducting materials in utility power would be in the power quality arena: fault-current limiters. "These devices would be used in high-power transmission lines to sever connections when there is a large surge of power in a given line, as can happen when lightening strikes it."

Utilities today use mechanical circuit breakers to protect the system from a fault current. "Using bulk [high-tensile strength] material, it would be fairly easy to build fault-current limiters that would automatically stop the flow of electricity when hit with a large surge of current," the Tribune reported. "These superconducting units would reset themselves and restore normal current flow once the fault current had passed."

From Pure Power, Summer 2001.





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