American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC) has received the world’s largest order for its Amperium high temperature superconductor (HTS) wire. LS Cable Ltd. (LS Cable), the world’s third largest power cable manufacturer, has placed an order for 3 million meters (nearly 10 million feet) of Amperium wire – AMSC’s proprietary second generation (2G) HTS wire. LS Cable intends to utilize the wire to complete alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) superconductor cable projects globally. Under the terms of the contract, AMSC is to begin shipping Amperium wire to LS Cable starting in 2012.
“Our objective is to be the leading provider of superconductor power cables for electric utilities worldwide,” said LS Cable President Jong-ho Son. “This Amperium wire contract helps ensure we will have the wire we need to complete the superconductor cable projects we have underway with Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) and also take on commercial project opportunities globally such as Tres Amigas in the U.S.”
This contract builds on AMSC’s long-standing relationship with LS Cable. In March 2010, the companies expanded their strategic business alliance by agreeing to work collaboratively to deploy more than 50 circuit kilometers (km) (31 circuit miles) of superconductor power cables in commercial power grids by the end of 2015. This strategic alliance focuses on the full spectrum of superconductor cable projects, including distribution and transmission voltages as well as AC and DC systems.
“With this commercial wire order, American Superconductor has officially begun to tap into what we believe will be a multi-billion-dollar HTS market,” said AMSC President and Chief Operating Officer Dan McGahn. “Since the discovery of HTS materials more than two decades ago, our company has been the industry’s HTS wire leader and has played a pivotal role in developing and demonstrating various applications for this wire, including power cables. These steadfast efforts are now being rewarded. We are happy to support LS Cable’s growth plans for the global superconductor power cable market.”
LS Cable’s AC Transmission and Distribution Cable Systems
Alternating current (AC) superconductor power cables have many advantages over conventional underground power cables and overhead power lines. These include the ability to:
- Carry up to 10 times more power in an equivalent or smaller right of way;
- Draw power flow from overtaxed conventional cables or overhead lines to mitigate grid congestion experienced in urban centers;
- Negate the need for building expensive new electric utility substations by tying together existing substations to meet increasing power demands; and
- Automatically suppress dangerous power surges to create resilient, ‘self-healing’ Smart Grids that can survive attacks and natural disasters utilizing AMSC’s proprietary FaultBlocker cable system.
In April 2009, AMSC received its first commercial order from LS Cable for approximately 80,000 m (264,000 ft) of its Amperium wire to manufacture a 22.9-kV (distribution voltage) AC cable system that will be installed in Korea Electric Power Corp.’s (KEPCO) Icheon substation near the city of Seoul later in 2010. Capable of carrying 50 megawatts of power, the cable system will be 0.5 kilometers (nearly a half mile) in length, making it the world's longest distribution-voltage superconductor cable system. LS Cable also is actively developing a 154 kV (transmission voltage) AC superconductor cable system.
LS Cable’s High Voltage DC (HVDC) Cable Systems
High-voltage direct current superconductor power cables have many advantages over conventional underground power cables and overhead power lines for long-haul transmission projects. These include the ability to:
- Carry 5 GW or more of power (enough power for 5 million U.S. homes) in a 3-ft-diameter pipe;
- Reduce power losses and emissions by three times or more through efficiency gains; and
- Compete effectively head-to-head on a first cost basis with conventional transmission systems while delivering superior returns on investment due to efficiency gains.
LS Cable and KEPCO recently announced their plans to develop and demonstrate HVDC superconductor power cable systems. A first deployment has been planned for Korea’s Jeju Island Smart Grid demonstration site in 2013. This 1 km cable system will use AMSC’s Amperium wire. The resulting product is expected to be offered to the global power grid market and for the Tres Amigas SuperStation in New Mexico.