Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

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


ORNL to partner with industry on three new proposals

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 16, 2001 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Superconductivity program has been selected to partner on three new superconductivity proposals that are being negotiated by U.S. industry.

Superconductors are materials that can transmit electricity with virtually no energy loss due to resistance. Superconducting wires can carry up to 100 times more electric current than conventional copper or aluminum wires.

Seven projects worth $40 million were selected by DOE for negotiations.

The three proposals, which include a number of partners within each, are development of a new high-temperature superconductor generator, a long-length high-temperature superconducting power cable, and the transformer component of a high-temperature superconducting substation.

ORNL will provide supporting research to each project team via a cooperative agreement.

ORNL will perform studies on conductor measurements on the generator project, which is headed by General Electric Corp. Other team members are the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; PG&E National Energy Group of Bethesda, Md.; American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio; Praxair of Danbury, Conn.; and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory of Tallahassee, Fla.

The proposed generator would have improved efficiency, higher power-producing capacity and improved reactive power capability at a competitive cost.

The power cable proposal is headed by Southwire Company of Carrollton, Ga., which has worked with ORNL on a number of superconducting cable projects. ORNL will provide research support on this project, which also involves American Electric Power, PHPK of Westerville, Ohio; Nordic Superconductor Technologies of Denmark; 3M Company of Maplewood, Minn.; and Integrations Concepts Enterprises of Smyrna, Ga.

A 1,000-foot long cable will be installed in Columbus, Ohio, to demonstrate a long-length power cable to replace an existing oil-filled underground power cable with limited current-carrying capacity. Southwire, with support from ORNL, will construct the cable while overseeing the project.

ORNL also will provide support to the substation transformer project headed by IGC-SuperPower of Schenectady, N.Y. This effort, which also involves Waukesha Electric Systems of Waukesha, Wis., and Southern California Edison of Rosemead, Calif., is a demonstration of a prototype high-temperature superconducting transformer that can convert electricity from 66 kilovolts to 12 kilovolts for distribution circuits.

ORNL is a multiprogram facility operated by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.