• Applications

    High Temperature superconductor wire can carry the same amount of current that the copper wires adjacent to it.

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    Applications of Superconductors

    HTS have the potential to provide multiple commercial solutions to a broad spectrum of sectors of the US economy such as energy, defense, industrial applications, communications, and medicine. In the energy sector, for example, HTS devices have the potential to benefit both renewable and non-renewable energy industries, accelerate introduction of smart grid hardware applications and improve sustainability through enhanced energy efficiency, high power density, less CO2 emission, better power quality and improved resiliency and security of the power grid.

    Superconductor cables can be used to efficiently transmit power over long distances from remote sources of wind, solar and nuclear power plants, as well as deliver 5 to 10 times more power to congested metropolitan areas and vastly improve production of unconventional petroleum reserves along with substantial reduction in water consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The feasibility of offshore wind turbines, operating at 10 MW and higher, improves because of the reduction in size and weight by 50% when using HTS generators. Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES) devices have the very real opportunity to enable grid-scale energy storage for effective deployment of intermittent renewable energy sources since they provide the benefits of rapid charging and discharging large amounts of power at higher efficiency and with much longer lifetimes compared to conventional grid-located batteries.

    A unique feature of superconductors, namely, zero resistance below a critical current value and a rapid rise in resistance above this value can be deployed as fault current limiters, where they would interrupt power surges in millisecond response times while hardening the Nation’s electric power grid to natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

    Superconductors enable achievement of ultra-high magnetic fields, even at the levels of tens of Tesla. Such high magnetic fields can enable realization of compact fusion reactors that can provide a clean source of electricity without the need for energy storage. Ultra-high-field superconductors enable Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and are now being developed for Proton Beam Therapy. The high magnetic fields enabled by superconductors have led to Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) equipment used for identifying the chemical signatures of complex molecules and is widely employed in drug discoveries. Superconducting magnets are also widely used in High Energy Physics in Accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Geneva, Switzerland.