CARROLLTON, Ga., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwire Company and nkt cables,
both pioneers in the development of high-temperature superconducting (HTS)
power cables, have formed a joint company to continue development and eventual
commercialization of HTS cable systems.
Named ULTERA(TM), the new company will design and produce a 300-meter
cable that will be installed during late 2005 in an electricity distribution
system operated by American Electric Power (AEP) in Columbus, Ohio. Southwire
and nkt cables will split the cost of developing the cable with the U.S.
Department of Energy, which will fund half of the project.
"Having developed the only two working HTS power delivery systems in the
world, Southwire and nkt cables truly are operating at the cutting edge of
this new technology," said Stuart Thorn, Southwire's president and chief
executive officer. "Through this partnership, we multiply our technical
expertise and expand the resources available to us, ensuring the most-
efficient use of both."
With facilities in Carrollton, Ga. and Copenhagen, Denmark, ULTERA will
include 25 Southwire and nkt cables employees, each of whom has years of
experience with HTS systems. Southwire, which three years ago unveiled the
world's first HTS power delivery system to provide electricity for industrial
use, already has developed one-meter and five-meter cables under a new design
and tested them at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Part power line and part vacuum bottle, Southwire's superconducting cables
are nearly immune to resistance, losing only about a half-percent of power
during transmission. That compares with 5 to 8 percent lost by traditional
power cables. HTS cables also deliver more power, about three to five times
more power than cables in use today.
Taking efficiency a step further, the new design used by Southwire and nkt
cables combines a three-phase system, which before required three separate HTS
lines, into one cable.
"The new design provides several advantages," said David Lindsay, director
of ULTERA. "First, we're using about half of the superconducting materials
required by the earlier design. We've also cut the amount of space needed to
install an HTS system. Now a single cable does the job of three."
While the design has changed, the basic operation of the cable remains
much the same. A hollow pipe forms the core. A layer of superconducting
materials is wrapped around that tube, followed by a layer of electrical
insulation. A second layer of HTS tape is added, acting as the second phase
conductor. Another layer of insulation is added and the process is repeated.
The final cable is wrapped in a copper shield and fed into a doubled-
walled stainless steel tube. Liquid nitrogen is pumped through the tube's
inner chamber to cool the cable to an optimal superconducting temperature,
around --321 degrees F. A vacuum between the two layers of stainless steel
provides thermal insulation for the cable.
"We've proven the technology works," Lindsay said. "Now we're excited
about putting our new, more-efficient design into practice. This is another
step toward being able to bring our customers the benefit of this leading-edge
technology that will be capable of handling the power demands of the new
A technology leader for more than 50 years, Southwire Company is North
America's largest building wire producer and one of the world's leading wire
and cable manufacturers. The company's product line includes copper and
aluminum building wire, industrial power cable, flexible power cord, metal-
clad (MC) cable, utility products and copper and aluminum rod.
Based in Copenhagen, Denmark, nkt cables is the Danish member of a
European cable group owned by NKT Holding. Working with the Technical
University of Denmark and with support from Danish utility companies, it has
conducted research on cable-related superconducting technology for years.
Last year, nkt cables installed the world's first working superconducting
cable in a public utility grid, serving some 50,000 homes and businesses.
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SOURCE Southwire Company