American Superconductor Introduces 5,000HP HTS Motor

July 18, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

American Superconductor Corp. (Westborough, MA) announced that it has built and demonstrated the world's first 5,000HP, high-temperature superconductor (HTS) electric motor. The company's patented, ultra-compact HTS electric motors are designed to reduce the manufacturing costs of industrial and ship-propulsion motors by up to 40 percent compared with conventional motors. The electric losses of HTS motors, which utilize HTS wires instead of copper wires on the rotor, are also much lower.

American Superconductor reports that its prototype ac motor is about the size of a household refrigerator, as little as half the size of a conventional 5,000HP motor. It uses a synchronous air-core design. Its HTS wires carry over 140 times more electricity than copper wires of the same dimensions, and use a cryo-refrigerator to cool just the HTS windings. Its net electrical losses, including losses associated with cryogenic cooling of the HTS wires, are up to half the electrical losses of a conventional motor.

"HTS technology opens the door to radically new designs and market opportunities for electric motors and for the industrial and transportation systems in which they are utilized," said Greg Yurek, CEO of the company. "By delivering more power in a smaller package that operates with lower electrical losses at essentially the same price, we are creating entirely new value propositions for our customers." He added, "We plan to field additional prototype motors and generators over the next two years and we are on track for commercial sales in 2004."