American Superconductor Announces Business Alliance with Chinese Research Institute

November 02, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

American Superconductor Corp. announced the signing of a strategic business alliance with the Shanghai Electric Cable Research Institute (SECRI), a leading research, development and standardization institution for China's wire and cable industry, as well as one of two centers that test and certify power cables for China. This new alliance will develop and promote the use of high temperature superconductor (HTS) power cables in China to help transmit and distribute increasing quantities of electric power needed to support the growing Chinese economy.

Under the terms of the business alliance, AMSC™ will be the preferred supplier of HTS wire to SECRI and the recommended preferred HTS wire supplier to its cable manufacturing licensees for all future superconductor cables. In addition, AMSC will provide consulting services to SECRI for its development of HTS power cable systems. SECRI will also help introduce AMSC's D-VAR® power grid solutions to key decision makers throughout China. SECRI plans to develop and certify HTS power cable systems for use by its constituent members, which are power cable manufacturers throughout China. As a first step toward this objective, SECRI will manufacture and test in its advanced facilities a 30-meter-long, 110,000V prototype transmission voltage HTS power cable utilizing AMSC's HTS wire. The next step is an installation of HTS cables in the power grid, most likely in Shanghai.

"We are extremely pleased that SECRI has selected American Superconductor as its partner for the advancement of HTS technology in China," said Greg Yurek, CEO and founder, American Superconductor. "SECRI has several major roles in the Chinese cable industry. It provides testing and certification of power cables and is a leader in advanced cable designs and technologies. We see this agreement as the path to near-term adoption of HTS products in the expanding Chinese energy market."

"East Asia faces the dilemma of rapidly growing electricity demand and an antiquated, over-utilized, under-invested power grid," said Subramanian Jayaraman, Energy Analyst for Frost & Sullivan. "China alone accounted for close to 41% of the world's energy growth in 2004. This rapid growth in demand in China is expected to continue for the near term and, as a result, new and radical solutions must be examined. It is important that the Chinese government is taking the necessary steps by introducing reforms to address this issue. New technologies such as the high temperature superconductors manufactured by American Superconductor offer a very promising solution to East Asia's growing grid problems. While technologies like composite conductors and FACTS devices such as D-VAR are vital for improving the grid, HTS technology is the best bet for the future in reducing losses, improving capacity margins and also improving the reliability of the entire grid."