American Superconductor Announces New Contract from US Navy

April 26, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

American Superconductor Corp. (Westborough, MA) announced that it has received a third contract from the US Navy to continue the design and development of high temperature superconducting (HTS) motors and related subsystems for electric ship propulsion. The company expects to complete this contract within the next nine months, and anticipates receiving additional contracts from the Navy leading to initial sea trials of an HTS propulsion system by the end of 2003.

The latest contract calls for the design and fabrication of components for pod-contained, HTS propulsion motors. Propulsion thrusters comprise hydrodynamically shaped pods that contain an electric motor to drive a propeller. American Superconductor claims that its ultra-compact HTS motors will be one-fifth the size and one-third the weight of conventional electric motors of the same power rating.

“Electric drive systems for commercial and Navy ships is the killer app for HTS motors," commented Greg Yurek, CEO of American Superconductor. “The dramatic reductions in size, weight and manufacturing costs created by HTS technology are leading to radically new ship designs, which provide tremendous tactical and operational advantages to the Navy and pathways to increased profitability for commercial ships."