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May 10, 2007



Just to clairify, the cable tested by Nexas carried 3150 amps of current. The fundamental limitation of superconductors is the current capacity due to the magnetic fields generated by currents. (If the magnetic field gets too high, the superconducting properties of the cable go away.) The voltage is limited by insulation and other factors that are not fundamental to superconductors. Power capacity is voltage times current.

The cable tested is made up of 33 of the ribbons shown in the photograph in the blog article. This means each ribbon carries about 95 amps.

The thickness of the ribbon is about 0.2 mm (about 0.008"). American Superconductor states that their ribbon can carry about 150 times the current of copper on a volume basis. However, additional volume is necessary to keep the ribbon immersed in liquid nitrogen to keep it superconducting.

Greg woulf

I don't know that much about this to even comment.

Is this the kind of thing that would help get energy from the desert to the city, or from ocean wave/air turbines to the city?

It sounds like a great breakthrough if it can be used to transmit energy at any distance.

Paul Dietz

The market for these kinds of cables is volume-limited underground transmission, particularly under cities. Heat dissipation is also often a limit in those situations. The superconducting system will actually slightly cool the tunnels in which the cables are placed, if the refrigeration system is elsewhere.


Greg Woulf stated:
"Is this the kind of thing that would help get energy from the desert to the city, or from ocean wave/air turbines to the city?

It sounds like a great breakthrough if it can be used to transmit energy at any distance."

The problem is that the cable needs to be cooled to liquid nitrogen temperature for its whole length. This calls for a heat-insulated enclosure plus refrigeration equipment. In addition, the wire requires high voltage insulation its whole length so it doesn't arc to the heat insulation enclosure. I suspect that this cost more than the cable.

With copper, air is the high voltage insulation and the cooling, with high voltage insulators only at the support towers. No refrigeration equipment required.


Last I checked, underwater is pretty cold.

Green Assassin Brigade

720,000 meters per year is not going to rewire the network anytime soon. That's only 720KM, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the size of the network.

I think the major uses at this scale will mostly be more efficient motors(industrial and for ships), magnets, transformers and various at the source components in the electrical system. These will make some important improvements but they are not going to string up this stuff in local hydro corridors any time soon so worries about how to plumb it are not so important right now.

I wish they would publish how much silver they use per KM of cable. This product if scaled up has the potential to really tighten up the market. Silver anylst predict this type of product has the potential to consume 50 million oz a year. Silver is already in deficit supply and we've been eating into above grounds stocks for nearly 2 decades reducing supply from 2 billion ounces to an estimate of 300m ounces.

Bullish for silver but it could cause cost or production problems for this product long term.


It is plenty of production to make a huge amount of superconducting energy storage capacity.

This technology is ready anytime renewable energy needs backup now. The 500 KVDC grid could use this kind of storage to backup the whole country.

Paul Dietz

Last I checked, underwater is pretty cold.

So, the ambient cooling (or, anyway, lack of heating) that superconducting cables would produce would be no advantage there.

Greg woulf

How would they store energy in the cables, can you just jam electrons in and let them circle or something?

Paul Dietz

How would they store energy in the cables, can you just jam electrons in and let them circle or something?

Big loop, energy is stored inductively in the magnetic field (1/2 L I^2).



The local utility here is the first to use SMES on a grid. To cushion the load when paper mills demand a lot of power very quickly. It saves a lot of fuel by cutting the need for spinning reserve.


Presently, the kind of "storage" superconducting loops are economical for is to maintain stability on timescales of seconds, when load changes suddenly (for example, when an industrial consumer turns a really big motor on). In this application, its strength over other forms of storage is that it can begin to discharge on immediate notice, which pumped storage cannot. For hours of storage, however, for example for day-night load balancing, the superconducting loop is not cost-effective against pumped storage.

AC Repair Clearwater

what? the world's first transmission cable? I will look forward for this one, its a quite advance in technology. wonderful post! keep it going.

AC Repair Augusta

this new invented super conductor cable is very interesting,its capacity to save energy could reduce our electric bills...I think several people will be interested in this kind of transmission cable.So impressive post!

Shirtless Hunks

Pleasant to read this blog and so much information that you have shared with us. This will be a great resource for us. We are lucky we find your site and read your articles. Once again, thank you so much.


Phycotech's VSA photobioreactor is a technological breakthrough of photobioreactor design. The patent pending Vertical Serpentine Airlift photobioreactor incorporates positive features from each of the traditional photobioreactor designs such as tubular, flat panel and bubble column while leaving behind the negative aspects.

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