American Superconductor Corp. has been awarded three new government contracts for second-generation (2G) high-temperature superconductor (HTS) wire and applications development. These contracts, which have a total value of $1.35 million, were funded under the Department of Defense's Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR), and are expected to be completed during the next two years.
The contracts include a Phase II SBIR contract through the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Air Force Research Laboratory for basic development of coil technology using 2G HTS wire for military applications such as rotating machines and magnets. For this project, AMSC will be working with the Francis Bitter Magnet Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In a second Phase II contract under an STTR program through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, American Superconductor will work with Florida State University to develop and test 2G wire for AC losses and quenching in a simulated coil environment. A third contract is a Phase I STTR program, also through the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. This contract, in collaboration with the Applied Superconductivity Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, focuses on enhancing the current carrying capacity of 2G HTS wire.
HTS wire offers high power density and high efficiency compared to conventional copper wire, opening up a broad range of applications in the military and commercial sectors. Military applications include ship propulsion motors, airborne generators and magnets for microwave power sources, while commercial applications include power transmission cables, electric motors and generators, transformers, synchronous condensers and fault current limiters. Electrical systems that incorporate 2G HTS wire are expected to be dramatically smaller, lighter and more cost-effective than systems based on copper wire because HTS wire conducts more than 150 times the electrical current of copper wires of the same size.
"These three contracts are synergistic in accelerating the development of 2G HTS wire for applications and products," said Alex Malozemoff, chief technical officer at American Superconductor. "Development of wires with even higher current carrying capacity, improved electrical stability, reduced AC losses and a robust coil winding technology, are all essential for military and commercial applications of 2G wire."