Researchers at Spain’s Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, ICMAB-CSIC, and Spanish firms Labein Tecnalia and Nexans, and Endesa, have constructed a 30-meter superconducting electric cable that they say could reduce energy loss by 50% and even 70% in some parts of the distribution network.

“This is the most advanced cable in terms of distribution (24 kV), since its current value is higher than that obtained up to date, 3200 Amperes RMS, and therefore can transport the electrical strength of 110 MVA, that is, five times more than a conventional copper cable of the same dimensions,” the researchers said.

The superconducting electric cable and terminals needed to connect it to the network use the high-temperature superconducting material BSCCO.

 “Energy demands are expected to double by the second half of this century,” the researchers said. “Thus the construction of more efficient motors, generators, transformers and superconducting cables would help to satisfy this demand in energy and at the same time reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.”

The technology based on superconducting materials also increases the security and reliability of network installations, given that these transformers are non-flammable. Current restrictions would be easier to apply as well, which allows for a greater control of the network.

For more on high-temperature superconducting cables, see "HTS Cables Speed up the Electric Superhighway" in POWER‘s February 2009 issue.

Source: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, POWER