High-Temperature Superconductor Power Cable Successfully Demonstrated in China

By Consulting Specifying Engineer Staff April 19, 2005

American Superconductor Corporation (AMSC) announced last week that a collaborative effort by four leading Chinese research and industrial institutions has successfully demonstrated a 75-meter, three-phase high-temperature superconductor (HTS) power cable in a live distribution grid in northwest China.

The cable was manufactured using AMSC’s HTS wire The Institute of Electrical Engineering (IEE), the Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) and the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry (TIPC, CAS) collaborated on the project with the Changtong Power Cable Company Ltd., who has operated the cable since December 2004 to supply power for Changtong’s factories in Baiyin, Gansu Province. Results are being presented today in Shanghai at the Eighth National Conference on Superconductivity.

According to Dr. Liye Xiao, director of the Academy’s Applied Superconductivity Lab, the cable project is an important step in demonstrating that high capacity HTS power cables are a viable means to help meet the Chinese economy’s growing demand for electric power.

“Demand for electric power in China continues to grow dramatically year-over-year,” said Dr. Xiao, who is also deputy director of the IEE and a founder of Beijing Superconducting Technology (BST).”We rapidly need to find innovative ways of delivering huge amounts of electricity to industrial, commercial and residential customers.”

China’s State Grid Corporation reported in March 2005 that surging demand for power caused by a cold winter and rapid economic growth forced 21 Chinese provincial power grids to impose power blackouts on customers since the beginning of this year.Liu Zhenya, general manager of State Grid Corporation notes that three regional power grids in the north, northwest and northeast along with 14 provincial grids experienced their highest power flows in history in the January to March 2005 period.

Power consumption in China is growing at double digit rates in major urban centers such as Beijing and Shanghai. The country’s capacity to generate electricity has been increasing at a rate of about 7% per year while increases in the capacity of its transmission and distribution system has been growing at a lower annual rate. Grid congestion resulting from China’s lower rate of build out in the power grid has been one of the key reasons for the many blackouts that have been experienced there in the last two years.

“There is clearly an increasing demand in China for ever-larger amounts of electricity to run factories, homes and businesses,” says Greg Yurek, CEO of AMSC. “There is also a growing recognition that the transmission and distribution system in China needs to expand significantly over the next several decades.”

For more information go to www.amsuper.com .