American Superconductor Sets Records in Performance and Production

April 24, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC) announced at Hannover Fair 2006 a new record for electrical performance of its proprietary second generation (2G) high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. AMSC's scientists achieved an additional 10% increase in electrical performance of its 2G HTS wire to 492 A per centimeter of wire width. This is an increase of 44 A over the previous record set by American Superconductor just a few months ago. This level of electrical performance is well above the threshold of 300 A per centimeter of width for commercial introduction and approaches the benchmark of 500 A per centimeter of width required for broad commercial adoption of high temperature superconductors.

AMSC also announced that it achieved its objective to ship 2,500 meters of its industry standard 2G wire known as "344 superconductors" by March 31, 2006. The company shipped a total of 2,738 meters of 344 superconductors to 19 customers in eight countries (China, Germany, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United States) as of March 31st. AMSC reiterated that it expects to deliver an additional 10,000 meters of 344 superconductors in its fiscal year ending March 31, 2007 as it accelerates the migration from first generation to second generation HTS wire.

"This new record performance for our proprietary second generation wire technology is a significant achievement and meets a key electrical performance benchmark ahead of schedule," said Greg Yurek, CEO of American Superconductor. "Our ongoing investment in 2G HTS materials technology, while we are also scaling up manufacturing, allows us to increase the electrical performance of the wire and at the same time, meet demand from customers who want to migrate as soon as possible to the 2G platform."

AMSC also announced at the Hannover Fair that it has added a new stainless steel-clad version of its 344 superconductors (344S) to its line of HTS wire products. The company's 344 superconductors comprise a tape-shaped 2G HTS wire clad on both sides with ultra-thin strips of copper. Stainless steel replaces the copper in the new 344S superconductors, a wire product that was developed to provide a high resistance electrical path needed for grid reliability products called "fault current limiters." Fault current limiters are basically surge protectors for power grids. AMSC has already sold small quantities of 344S superconductors to companies and organizations that are developing fault current limiters.

"Our ability to tailor 344 superconductors to meet varying customer specifications is achieved in the final manufacturing step in which we clad the base 2G material with the appropriate metal or alloy, a methodology we have perfected in the manufacturing of our first generation HTS wire," said Yurek.