Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL enters into new partnership with Southwire

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 6, 1998 — The Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has entered into a partnership with Southwire Company of Carrollton, Ga., and other companies to develop a 30-meter (100 feet) superconducting cable at Southwire's headquarters, carrying enough energy to power a small city.

The Superconductivity Partnership Initiative Power Cable Project is the largest collaboration for ORNL's Superconductivity Technology Center. ORNL and Southwire have worked together in several projects since 1995. Other participants in the partnership are Intermagnetics General Corp., Southern Company, Georgia Transmission Corp., Southern California Edison, Argonne National Laboratory and Plastronic-EURUS.

Joint tasks by ORNL and Southwire include: .

- Measure the performance of high temperature superconducting tapes for the amount of current they can carry, particularly when wound into a cable. This task will be performed by ORNL's Metals and Ceramics Division.

- Determine and test the performance of Southwire's Cryoflex dielectric tape at cryogenic (low) temperatures and high pressures. Aging experiments on the tape will also be tested. These tests will be conducted in ORNL's Life Sciences Division.

- Test and measure the performance of Southwire's short experimental cables under various conditions to verify design concept. These tests will be conducted by ORNL's Fusion Energy Division.

- Work to design and specify the cooling system for cable to be installed at Southwire's headquarters. Research will also be performed on new concepts for cooling high temperature superconducting cables.

- Research and develop bushings and thermal insulation for the termination (transition between room temperature and high voltage to the superconducting cable), which operates in liquid nitrogen (minus-321 degrees F) and high pressure. The termination provides insulation for the cable similar to a thermos bottle.

- Collaborate with Southwire to develop a splice to connect two pieces of superconducting cable. This splice does not currently exist.

- Address the issues of bending and reeling a cable, including a flexible vacuum insulated enclosure for the cable.

- Work with Southwire and its electric utility partners (Southern Company, Georgia Transmission and Southern California Edison) to determine the electrical characteristics of superconducting cables in their electrical grid network. It will be performed by ORNL's Energy Division.

ORNL's effort is funded by DOE. Participating in the partnership signing ceremony at Southwire headquarters were Dan Reicher, DOE's assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs; and Tony Schaffhauser, director of ORNL's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Programs.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.