American Superconductor Completes Construction of World's First HTS Power Cable for a Utility Grid

September 10, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

American Superconductor Corp. (Westborough, MA) announced that it has completed all of the high-temperature superconducting (HTS) wire needed to manufacture what it claims to be the world's first HTS power cable to be installed in a utility grid.

Over 18 miles of HTS wire was manufactured and shipped to Pirelli Cables and Systems (Milan, Italy) who expects to complete manufacture of the HTS cable by the end of 2000. The cable will then be shipped to Detroit Edison Co. (Detroit, MI) and installed in the Frisbie Station, located in downtown Detroit, where operation is scheduled to start during the second quarter of 2001.

This project is partially funded by the US Department of Energy's Superconductivity Partnership Initiative, with Pirelli, Detroit Edison, EPRI, the US Department of Energy and American Superconductor all participating in the Detroit HTS cable project.

The three HTS cables, each about 400ft long with a 4in diameter, are sized to fit into the existing ductwork under the Frisbie Station. Each of the high-power-density HTS wires is capable of carrying more than 100 times the power of copper wires with the same dimensions. Using this wire, the three HTS cables will carry 100MW of power, the same amount of power carried by the nine copper cables they will replace. This will leave six ducts open, which can be used for additional HTS cables to increase the power throughput of the existing right of way.